I have a few things to share that made me proud and grateful in the last few days. I’m going to start with the most recent and go back in time.
I was poking around on Elephant Journal today looking through articles on yoga, meditation, and healing, and found a great article by R. R. Shakti called “Joy is a Choice.” I found so much good in the article that I posted it to my Facebook profile with a snippet from the article as the headline. Almost immediately, an old friend from childhood responded to it asking when he can begin his training, to which I replied that he can begin immediately.
We ended up talking via instant messenger about meditation, control over the mind and perceptions, and various mindfulness practices, such as Zen meditation and yoga. I shared with him my experience of taking this practice one step at a time, going deeper and fuller into control over mind and body. After a few minutes talking about my daily practice (10 minute sun salutation and meditation in the morning, little meditation breaks throughout the day, running/weights in the evening, and another 10 minute meditation at bedtime), he asked me what influence the small amounts of time spent in meditation had on my day. He wanted to know how effective 10 minutes twice a day was. My answer was that the small amounts of daily meditation taught me control over my body and mind, and that control stays with me through the day.
I also shared with him that at one point, before I began this daily practice, I loathed myself and felt miserable all the time. I have a long history of various types of abuse and not only do I have clinical depression and PTSD to deal with, but I had deeply set patterns of thinking. The mindfulness didn’t make everything “all better” or erase the past experiences, but it’s given me the ability to not let the past control the present. Some days I have more success than others; It’s a journey, one step and one day at a time.
He was open to what I was sharing with him and decided to begin his own daily mindfulness practices so he can begin changing his world. Ross, I look forward to hearing about your own journey!
It’s amazing how much the mind influences everything. The daily mindfulness practices help me learn to control how I perceive the world and what happens each day. I get to choose my reaction and mindset. Not to say I’m successful every day, but everyday gets better and every day I get to start over.
This mindfulness conversation, and the influence of the mind over everything, brought me back to Thursday night and the book event I attended at Brookline Booksmith for Thea Singer‘s book Stress Less. One of the things she emphasized in talking about stress’s impact on the body is that it isn’t so much what is happening in our world, but how we perceive and react to it. She discusses in her book a study of mothers caring for children with extreme illness and mental disorders. The study was done over a year, tracking how stressed the mothers perceived themselves to be. At the end of the year, the mothers who perceived themselves to be more stressed had more impact on the cellular level (their cells tested to be up to 10 years older than their age!). The mothers who perceived themselves to be less stressed showed normal or younger cell ages. Perception is reality.
One of the great joys in my life is knitting. It allows me to do something productive while meditating and working through issues and setting my perception. I had a wonderful breakthrough with my knitting lately: I have successfully knit lace four times so far! I’m so pleased! I’ve been knitting since childhood and this is my newest skill breakthrough.
I only have a few pictures of my reversible cable and lace scarf from my phone so far, but here’s what it looks like:
This scarf is made out of Frog Tree alpaca yarn (3 @50 g). The pattern is from Unique One in Camden, Maine. I first started this scarf in 2008 but just couldn’t get it right. Later I found out it’s because I was, one, not purling correctly, and two, not yarn over’ing correctly. Now that I do both of those properly, I am succeeding!
So there is my week in a nutshell. It’s been a good week.