Distant and Dealing

I have not posted for six weeks. The sense of making each day count has been the driving motivation for me lately. After reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, I made a chart for my refrigerator. On the chart are those things which are most supportive of my well being, in other words the care of my body.

At the top of the list is drinking water. From all that I have read, getting enough water can offer immense support for the “plant.” Inflammation is a response which must be avoided. Inflammation damages the body, creates stress and can lead to a cancer response. Drinking enough water also keeps the body from signaling “hungry, hungry,” when in fact it is dehydrated. Toxins are also carried through with water. Honoponopono practice which is traditional Hawaiian spiritual practice has as its core drinking water. A blue bottle is placed in the sun (try that in the Okanagan winter). As the sun goes through the water, it is believed it activates it to heal. The thought that the practitioner is supposed to hold is that all past “scripts” are washing through the body. What happened to me when I was two or twenty or sixty is now flushed out. Now. That brings to you now. Without a story, a bag of past grievances slung over the shoulder. Just you, the ground, the breath and the flow of water washing through the body.
Sleep is the next item on my chart. Getting eight hours sleep can pull down the inflammation response very efficiently. When the body is rested, it feels strong and calm. The daily attacks: bills, broken appliances, family disasters, angry people are inevitable. But if the body feels strong and rested, a person is in a more capable state. Solutions are easier to discover. I also find that it is easier for me to not attach to the difficulty with an emotional state that strangely enough usually outlasts the problem. So often in the past I start to out run the tiger long after it has retreated to the dark forest again. The sound of my own hyperventilation and pounding anxiety would accompany me long after the threat had passed.
And friends are extremely important. In scientific experiments of people under stress, it was discovered that their telemeres shorted. These are the “shoelace” like tips of DNA strands. The longer they are, the longer your life span. Stress will shorter the telemeres whose job it is to repair cellular damage. So women under stress raising handi-capped children who formed into a support group had a slowing down of the telemere damage and in some cases actual repair to the repair kit.
My goal is to make contact with old friends or to meet new friends every day. As with all activities, it becomes easier the longer I do it. At first, going through the door after my long retreat was like breaking through one of those aluminum foil barriers on a jar… only it was over the door. One evening I went out just because I didn’t feel like going on.
These simple items top my list on my happiness project chart. Another part of the process, is to realize that it is a process. When I misstep or don’t have an X to put in the box, I realize that I am changing myself for the better. I celebrate that and treat myself with compassion because I am my friend as well. Right?

Learning the Interior Map

It was fascinating for me to observe myself this past week. With all of the progress I have made in self-discovery, with meditative practice and setting intention, I fell off of the wagon.
For two days I felt sad, depressed and while I was working full- out on those things that needed to be completed, I was crying. What is it that is said, “Crying for all my lost days.” The sense of heaviness in my heart was so great that I actually saw a vision of my heart as a large, black boulder. The list was being dissolved. I was moving through doing that which I intended to do. However, I was dragging my spirit along behind me forcefully.

Om Mani Padme Hum

On the third day, the pain in my wrists, head and back manifested. Was this because I was depressed and ,therefore, more open to viruses? I don’t know. However, I immediately went into coping mode. I headed out to buy sugary drinks and a giant cookie. I rented videos to distract me. I holed up in the dark living room.
Leaving behind meditation practice, working out and connecting to friends, left me deep into the coping mechanisms that had worked out…. not at all… in the past. After a day of couch- floating, the pain grew more and more intense. I suddenly got the message. My son had visited me five days previously and he was getting sick. I was sick. Fever for two nights, racking back pain and sick to my stomach.
So now what most interests me is the question:Did I get sick because my defenses were down due to a negative mind-set or did I take the on- slaught of virus and interpret it as depression?

Was the pattern of old mind, of disaster mind so ingrained in me that because I was sluggish, unwell and fighting off a virus, I immediately attributed that to emotional pain.
Well that is fascinating!!! If my meditation practice were to do something for me, I understand that I should have not avoided sitting. It was a time to sit and experience all that was going on in my body and to release the emotional turmoil around it. “You feel like shit. Oh yes you do.”However, just let that be and experience it.

eye of the storm

Also, running toward sugar and movies. That will fix everything. Just a hit of this and a hit of that. What about going for a walk or calling my daughter? No can’t do that!
So the ego waits to find situations whereby it can act out. Things are so bad you “need” this. The world sucks so you “deserve” that.
In addition, I am wondering if watching all of the videos of the Tsunami and world upheaval has not affected a change in my energy. I like to be informed. But, I am a sensitive. After enough years on this planet, I know this to be true.
I am not just sympathetic, I am empathetic. Once when my brother fell out of the car and broke his collar bone, we took him to the hospital. While he was in being examined, I cried and cried. My parents asked what was wrong. I told them I hurt. My shoulder hurt where he was injured and it was intense. It was not sympathy. I was experiencing his pain.
So what are the lessons… oh for Pete sake… again. Take care of the body. Sit meditation to connect to the body. Seek ways to be joyous that are healthy. Stay close to loving friends. And, lastly, allow yourself to make mistakes without judging or condemning yourself. Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again. Buddha tells us that we have many life times for this work. And that is a good thing.
May your day be full of love