Friday, February 24, 2012

Rod Stryker's Visit to Chicago

I am so excited! I will be attending a conference in Chicago featuring Rod Stryker. His book The Four Desires... really changed my life. Being able to quiet my mind through meditation has made all the difference in the world to me.

He makes meditation available to anyone. Whether or not you've meditated before, makes no difference; all can benefit from his tutelage.

I'm not sure what to expect, but whatever happens, I know I'll be changed for the better because of it. I'll be sure to share my experience. Namaste.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Chocolate Meditation from the book: Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World

I just started a new book called Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World  by Mark Williams, PhD and Danny Penman, PhD. I heard Mark Williams being interviewed on NPR a few weeks back and decided I had to read it.

What the authors accomplished (quite easily, I'd say) is to write about how mindfulness affects our brain activity and how it can change our lives. I've heard so much about mindfulness through my study of yoga, but these gentlemen take it further. It seems they found proof of what meditators for centuries have known all along: Meditation on a regular basis can improve our lives in measureable ways from attitude to disease fighting.

I'm only in the first quarter of the book, but I found an activity that I thought was really intriguing. It's called "The Chocolate Meditation". The idea of this activity is to get some chocolate that you normally don't eat to use for the meditation. For example, if you are a milk chocolate lover, try dark chocolate for this activity and vice versa.

The rules are simple:
  • Open packet, inhale aroma, let it consume you.
  • Break off piece and really look at it, examine every aspect of it.
  • Pop in mouth, resisting the urge to chew it or suck on it...just let it melt on your tongue. Observe the flavors.
  • If your mind wanders, gentle bring your attention back to the chocolate.
  • Once the chocolate has completely melted, swallow slowly, observing how it glides down your throat.
  • Continue until desired amount of chocolate is finished.
  • Observe how you feel eating chocolate this way vs. wolfing it down.
Write about it if you'd like...even better, share here if you wish. I plan on doing this after I go shopping for the perfect chocolate bar. I will post the results. Have fun with this!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running #2

I finished reading the book, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami on the plane to Georgia on Thursday. I went to visit my sister and her family, and I thought I had enough of the book left to read down there and back. Unfortunately, I finished it too soon!

I did have a chance to reflect on one quote over the weekend that I really liked: "No matter how much you might command your body to perform, don't count on it to immediately obey." No kidding! I have done yoga for more than four years, and there are ways that I wish my body would obey, but doesn't. I could, and easily do, look at all my body can't do, rather than look at what it can do. I am definitely way more flexible than I ever thought possible. My arms, back and legs are really firm--my stomach, even after two kids, is firmer than I'd ever expected. So what I need to focus on is how well my body has adapted to yoga.

I did notice that the author was a self depricating person. I'm reading this thinking, "Wow! I can't believe he ran a 60 mile marathon!" And he is looking at what he can't do or how difficult things are for him. But then I thought, I am just as self depricating as he is! So this book made me realize that even the most disciplined of people see themselves as imperfect human beings. It's just a base human trait that I believe keeps us all humble. This book was definitely a worthwhile read.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Last night I started reading the book "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" by Haruki Murakami, and I am completely immersed. I am not a runner, have no wish to be a runner, about fall over if I run around the block, but this book is so thoughtful and humble that I felt I needed to share this with you all.

Here are a couple of quotes from the book that I've been contemplating since last night:

"It's not much fun to be misunderstood or criticized, but rather a painful experience that hurts people deeply." (p. 19)  I know that when I deeply reflect on the criticisms I receive, I can begin to see the hurt I've put on others by criticizing them.   It's much easier to feel pity for myself than to put my ego aside and reflect on my behaviors. The initial reaction I get when I realize I've hurt someone is to feel shame. When I admit to the other person my part in a miscommunication, I find that I'm able to forgive myself (not an easy task). And if I am lucky, others will forgive my transgression in return.

"Emotional hurt is the price a person has to pay in order to be independent."
(p. 19) I sure can relate to this. During my life I have made decisions that were not accepted by many. The emotional abandonment I felt was deep, but in the long run, I stuck to my own principles and have emerged stronger. This quote really put down the feelings I've had in one succinct sentence.

At the moment I'm only on chapter 3 and I'm totally engrossed. If you get a chance to read it, please leave a comment and let me know your impressions. Namaste.