e/u: meditation. mindfulness. equanimity.

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Learning to Swim

Between getting the cervical cancer diagnosis and my first surgery, I went a little crazy. Maybe no one is surprised by that given the circumstances, but I kind of have been in retrospect.

We take all of this time to train in meditation, to get to know our ups and downs, to bring more awareness to the ebb and flow of life as well as our feelings and reactivity. We think maybe… just maybe… we have some sort of handle on something. Then a big thing hits and BAM. We find ourselves spinning anyway. What was all that time even for?

Well… imagine if I hadn’t done all of that training already. I may have slipped straight off the side and into the deep end without knowing any swim techniques. As it was, I still had things to keep me afloat, even if the water was just about at head height and I was on my tippy toes. I may be mixing some water metaphors here, but hopefully you get what I’m saying.

All of that said, I really did surprise myself in the ways I did not go crazy. Facing a surgery of any kind, I tend to be a bit nervous and scared (as can be understood). Anesthesia is no joke and having anyone take a knife anywhere (especially into the most sensitive parts of your body) is not something you wake up hoping happens on just any random day.

But the surgery was not random. I waited six weeks between my first procedure/diagnosis and that first surgery. My body had to heal in between. As those six weeks came to a close, I started to feel a rather strange calm. I was working with my breath in some way every day. The day of the surgery, I didn’t cry or find myself worrying too much. I took a few quiet moments to myself as I changed from my clothes to the hospital gown. Any time my heartbeat started to go up on the monitor, I tuned into my breath and brought myself back to a more regular speed. I hadn’t lost it completely after all.

As I’ve gotten back around to my Regularly Scheduled Meditation Practice (and not just taking the bits and pieces the day gives me), it has also been good to feel the roots extending again. This week, I’ll find out more about the next surgery I’ll have (“the big one” as I like to call it) and I’m hoping I can do things a little differently this time. As in, maybe not lose my mind quite so much to begin with. There are still hard things to come, but what an experience to see how it all goes and find out in new ways how the tools and practices and little bits of magic fit in.

Hibernation

This past winter hit me hard. It was as if the disappearance of the sun had not only taken away any light after 5pm, but also any light in how I looked at life. Everything was heavy and nothing felt right. My motivation for most things barely existed. My practice was slowly disintegrating. I wasn’t focused on anything. I found myself taking things out on people close to me, all the while not telling anyone how I was feeling.

I know 2017 was a hard year for many of us. Personally, a lot of things happened for me. I left the yoga studio I had been a part of for many years. I lost a teacher when Michael Stone passed. I had new relationship hurdles to maneuver. I started into the second year of my acupuncture education. I was doing a lot of deep therapy work. I was still processing 2016. All of this as well as all the socio-political things happening outside of my little sphere.

So what did I do? I went inward and not in a good way. To start with, I let myself get so far deep into my own head that I was running on a loop. I didn’t want to do anything. I felt isolated and lonely. That constant loop of thoughts (something I talk about a lot) was a very deep rabbit hole that I fell down myself.

Sometimes when we think we know better is just the time when things come to remind us… Anything can happen to any of us. Even those who practice most can suffer from the pitfalls that beginners also face. There always seems to be a great equalizer at play somewhere.

Eventually, that awareness we cultivate in mindfulness practice finally started to break through. It became easier to catch myself when I was behaving against my own wellbeing. I was able to recognize the patterns, which I truly think is a first step. If you don’t know what’s happening, how can you break a cycle?

I’ve spent the better part of 2018 trying to break the cycles that 2017 left me staring at. Despite being aware of them, I’m still working through. It isn’t a one time and you’re done sort of thing. Just like in practice when we focus and then get distracted with a thought and have to come back, so is the work to break cycles in our outer lives. It’s the work of attention, fading off, and then coming back.  

The trick is to remember we can always come back, to not be hard on ourselves if we’ve gotten lost in hibernation and thought loops and cycles. It’s just a time to settle into our awareness and allow ourselves the time to do a little work.

 

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Upcoming Classes and Programs

So many good things are on the horizon, including some new stuff! 

 

In May, I'm going to be taking on a handful of clients who may need a little extra help getting grounded in their practice.  If you've had a meditation practice prior and have fallen away from it or perhaps have tried again and again to start one, but have struggled, May is your chance to get one-on-one time and support. There will be weekly one-on-one sessions either in-person (if you're local to Columbus) or over the phone/FaceTime. You'll also get unlimited virtual support and regular check-ins. As always, this is by donation, so don't hesitate to get in touch.  Just contact me for more info and get grounded this May!

 

In June, I'm excited to share the 30 Day Sit program once more. As we normally do, we'll focus on how to start a new practice, establishing the practice habit, and exploring different meditation forms. This time, however, we'll have some added "homework" that gets you outside and takes your practice into the world. This program is really ideal for new meditators, but can also be good for those who have an on-again-off-again practice. Unlike May, this program is a bit less individualized, but I know you'll still find it supportive. More details here: The 30 Day Sit.

 

Other things coming up: 

Walking meditation classes have begun! Check the Events/Classes page for details.   

I'm also excited to start some other seated classes and perhaps a little experiment in loving-kindness out in the world. Check back for more details! 

 

As always, if you have a space or a group who you think would benefit from a meditation class, never hesitate to reach out

 

I hope to spend some time with you in the next couple of months, whether at a class, individually, or as part of the 30 Day Sit. <3

On Seasons and Sessions

I keep joking about this season being the "winter of our discontent." I know I have felt that for myself personally. To some extent, I have been hibernating, waiting for a season of new growth to come out of the dormancy. After the 30 Day Sit ran in January, I have mostly been quiet in the e/u realm. I haven't been seeing clients and have been working primarily to develop my own practice further. 

The good news is that winter is slowly coming to a close, despite the blizzard conditions some are facing this week and the cold that has come back to us here in Ohio. Spring is coming up fast. I am excited about the shift and what it will bring. To support this transition and to bring some of what I've been learning in my own practice into the world a little more, I'm excited to start teaching again. We're going to start monthly walking meditations beginning April 1st (check it out here). I'm also taking on clients again.

Taking on clients? What does that even mean? 

Well... I have opened up my calendar through the end of April (at least) for scheduling individual sessions. My intention is to do these virtually, but if you are local to the Columbus area, an in-person session is possible. My favorite part of the work that I do with e/u is talking to people about where they are and to help them start or expand their meditation practice. I like when we can get into where this practice becomes part of life and helps you where you're at.  But what does that really look like in an individual session? 

I think some people avoid these sorts of sessions because they aren't sure what they look like. Truth be told, they can look like a lot of things. It's really based on what you feel you need. It can be as simple as a chat about what your practice looks like (or doesn't) or it can be time spent in guided meditation together. We can discuss how meditation and mindfulness can benefit you personally or we can discuss the struggles you have with practice. These sessions are pretty open to what you want out of them. I've talked with people about anger issues and how to face them mindfully. There have been discussions of other methods of practice and how to incorporate them. Sometimes people take me up on the option of a guided practice and I love these times very much.

If what I'm talking about sounds intriguing, you can shoot me a message or go ahead and schedule. These sessions are all on a sliding scale and no one gets turned away for lack of funds. This is an important aspect to consider, as I know a lot of people think that these things are out of their price range. Not so, my friends, not so. 

As we start to move toward a new season, I hope you also feel for yourself something shifting in a positive way. And I hope to talk to you soon.