The internet is awesome but also saturated with greedy people fighting for your attention.
How can you protect your personal bubble?
The internet is awesome but also saturated with greedy people fighting for your attention.
How can you protect your personal bubble?
I woke up yesterday morning to a notification that I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award!
(Where does this even come from?! Haha!)
Needless to say, it lit up my morning like a pot of gold in the sunshine. I barely thought that this website reached anyone…but what I have to write about had made a difference in at least one person’s life.
Thank you MrHushHush for the recognition 🙂 I’ve only been following your blog a little bit…but in this short time, I’ve been blown away by your literary mindfood and personal engagement with readers. Thank you, cyber acquaintance! Keep on creating! 🙂
*Not all of these are WordPress users…but it doesn’t mean you still don’t deserve recognition.
Some of these people I check in with multiple times a week to see what they are posting, others I might go months without stopping by. Each one of them stands out to me as being led by someone who is REAL. Some of you I’ve never even talked to (but have an internet crush on) and some I may have lost contact for now (you always have a home in my heart <3). You all mean something to me. Keep doing what you are doing.
Thanks for reading this far.
I’ve been meditating twice a day since September. Ten months of disciplining myself to sit with consciousness for 40 minutes a day. Approximately 3% of my day is spent practicing Vedic meditation.
I have cultivated many benefits including patience, focus, compassion, and mindfulness.
…but those will be saved for another blog.
Today, I’m going to reflect on my experience with noticing superficial relationships in my life.
Since I’ve become a regular meditator, I’m noticed how shallow some of my friendships, erm… “friendships”…really are. I’ve become aware of this with a large group of friends and with my co-workers.
With this group of friends, common interests grew us together. It’s more like a friendship web than a circle. I’ve known from day one that some people I naturally resonate with on a deeper level. And others, well, we just say “Hello” to each other and make some small talk. I thought that I was being polite by acknowledging everyone, whether that be around town, in class, or at dinner.
Lately, I’m realizing that I was being superficial. I’ve noticed that I said “Hi” to them because I want them to be my friend. A part of me was a little jealous that they get more attention and more verbal recognition. (Soooo elementary school!)
Now I notice that less fucks are given. There is still an initial urge being drawn to this person, to try to stand out to them, and to be acknowledged by them. When I watch this, it fades quickly. Now, there is freedom in not having to be everyone’s “friend.”
I observe how superficial people can be here in the USA. I don’t think they are trying to be a superficial person…maybe they are just trying to seek recognition like I was.
Regular meditation (compared to sporadic meditation) has allowed me to cultivate an insane amount of depth in my daily life. I feel emotions and feelings more. I am capable of more intimate friendships. I am more self-aware. My senses are hella sharp. I frequently feel “high” even though I have pretty much eliminated cannabis from my life. I have gotten so sensitive to my reality that I can really hold a state of “presence” a lot longer than I ever could. My mind is more focused on the conservation on hand without drifting into daydreams and judgments.
Sometimes I’m feeling a little alone. Not because I don’t have people around, but because I am left feeling unfulfilled with an interaction, especially someone who I thought I was close with.
I used to think that laughing with someone or sharing smiles were signs of a true friendship or a real friendship, not necessarily someone who I am best friends with.
Now, I witness that people are willing to fake that laugh and force that smile to put on a facade. To make themselves more likable. People are fine with creating and cultivating shallow interactions with a friend or a coworker if it means that there is “harmony” between them. They may even talk bad about that person when they leave the room.
But guess what…
There is no depth to that “friendship.” No foundation. No sustenance.
I can’t text you for help if I’m considering ending my life. I can’t message you for advice on what I should do during a huge transition in my life.
Why do we fake being rainbows, sunshine, and unicorns with each other when there is SO much more we could explore together?
Life has so much to unfold for us when we have the dedication to show up and be real. And being real isn’t synonymous with being cool, popular, or liked.
Being real is being able to express from a place of purity. No expectations. No delusions. No drama.
Part of this purity comes from getting to the source of who you are. Who are you without the racing thoughts? The key to getting to the source of who you are is always in this moment.
Guess what! Being a daily meditator makes you metaphorically buff as hell when it comes to being present.
When you are able to experience this moment even more, a whole new world opens up. You will be able to pick up on more subtleties and hear more intuition. You will marvel are the closeness that you can feel with another person, Earth and yourself.
From this space, life literally begins to feel like a trip.
It all begins with you.
I have a couple close friends going through major transitions now. They don’t know what their lives look like in the next few months. New jobs? New cities? New relationships? I’ve hugged them as they cried on my shoulder and expressed all their worries and struggles.
Sometimes, “I’m here for you” or “Let me know how I can help” is the best I can share with a friend when I don’t know what else to say.
But what does that mean to reach out and ACCEPT that offered help when shit hits the fan?
(Side note: “shit hitting the fan” had a recent physical manifestation in my life when my cat got a massive dingleberry and created streaks all over my bedroom carpet trying to get it off. Ewwie)
I’m at a good place now. I am healthy, I have cool jobs with increasing opportunities in the near future, and I’m in a kick ass loving relationship.
So, right now at least, it’s easy for me to clearly see what has helped me in the past work through hard times. This blog is a reminder to my future struggling self, and to my cherished friends.
Here is my personal approach to flowing with life again.
Just for a few minutes, let thoughts and worries explode.
They will anyway, won’t they? Haha! Thoughts are like the lava that comes out of Earth, or the nasty, pus-y, whatever that comes out of a pimple.
And you know what? Wearing makeup or putting a slab of concrete over that inevitability will make it worse.
Whatever needs to come out, WILL come out. Almost always in a more messy way.
Approach meditation as more of a courageous, patient process and not some crazy metaphysical unachievable miracle.
Watch the thoughts. And the next one. And the next one…
Witness the emotions that surge up within you.
You will probably get swept up in whatever is there… But, again, come back to witness consciousness…the state of the mind where YOU are able to watch and hear and maybe even see that annoying purge happening.
This, my friends, is transcendence.
Observe where it takes you 😉
Now that you have a bit more clarity on how you are feeling, you can logically reflect on what’s going on in your life.
I often talk to a friend, sometimes I vent to my brother, other times I reach out to my meditation teacher or my Reiki teacher.
Someone else is being compassionate and offering space to you. Use it while it’s there!
While in a government office building today, there was a sign that said:
Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.
I had an Argumentation and Debate teacher who used to tell us that we could never “lose” a debate because we would just end up learning more about ourselves and our beliefs or communication styles in the process.
There is obviously a similar theme in these two quotes…
So, you’ve been frustrated or pissed or confused or upset.
And maybe you then got some really good insights about yourself or your situation, either from contemplating by yourself or by seeking help with someone else.
What good would any of this chaos have been up until now if you can’t learn some lessons out of it? Crappy!
Integrating what we learned from school, a conversation, a yoga class, a Ted Talk, or anything really is what begins to turn that generic knowledge into personal wisdom. We are more connected to the lesson.
Hopefully, by now you realize that we don’t have to keep on wallowing or stay stagnant in your life. There are definitely ebbs and flows, but each of these tendencies allows us to evolve over time.
Life always has shitstains and buttheads and other frustrating things…
…but there are also infinite opportunities for deep personal growth when we work with life.
…opening the windows in a stuffy room.
…hitting a “Reset” button during the day.
…talking to a close friend or a therapist and blowing off some steam.
…lighting a deliciously smelling candle in a dark room.
…cuddling in bed after a long day.
…finishing a sudoku puzzle.
Yet, it transcends all these things…
A lot of times, I only share the “positive” pieces of a trip or experience:
OMG my life is soooooooo wonderful.
But I rarely publicly share the challenging times to an adventure…
Just to name a few:
This is a simple reminder that when I (or anyone) talks about an epic life and awesome adventures, it goes in both directions.
There are stories that I share with my journal and there are stories that I share with other people.
Though some things I will always keep within myself, I don’t want to portray a completely false representation of my life.
Netflix. Food. Instagram. Book. Food. Netflix. Netflix. Tumblr…
Agh! The stimuli.
What ever happened to those hours I spent alone growing up, hanging out with myself?
Maybe I’d watch the neighbors drive past or planes migrate across the sky or find patterns in the wall texture.
My life was centered around imagination and wonder rather than mindless entertainment.
“The most important thing you own and can give away is your attention.”
—San Pedro / Aguacoya Shaman
You know, those ideas that you can’t quite put into words until you hear someone else says it? This was one of them. It resonated with me HARD…to the point of
goosebumps truthbumps, a jawdrop, and staring off into the ethers for a little bit.
Being alive used to be an entire meditation, now I have to “make time” for it.
“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes each day
—unless you are too busy.
Then you should sit for an hour”
Even sillier, is thinking that it’s something that I have to “make time” to do.
Why am I thinking that meditation is a doable activity and not the seamless state of consciousness that it is?
Yes, inhalation provides vital oxygen, but the style of breathing determines how that essential nutrient is utilized in our body. Furthermore, patterns of breath are closely intertwined with states of the mind. This happens whether or not people are mindful of each breath. Please take four seconds out of reading right now and give undivided attention to how your breath is…
How was it? Did it feel effortless, deep in the abdomen, and relaxed? What about feeling forced, weak, shallow, and predominantly in the upper chest?
Humans breathe in two different ways: automatically or voluntarily. Automatic breathing is the physiological response of the body to high levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. The body naturally increases the breathing rate to get rid of excess carbon dioxide and take in more oxygen (Novotny & Kravitz). We can also voluntarily choose to breathe with different lengths of inhalation or exhalation. This is actual a remarkable ability of the human body for a couple reasons. First, how many other bodily processes can work automatically or voluntarily? I can think of blinking and peeing (if you laugh too hard. Hehe.) Second, we now have a tangible link between body and mind.
The relationship between our breathing pattern and mental state is interchangeable. Meaning, each of them affect the other. This is a benefit to us because we can have more control and intention over our overall psycho-emotional experience. Yay!
Back to the quality of your breath… So just how does this all work? Short and shallow breaths stimulate our sympathetic nervous system response of “flight or fight.” This type of breathing is dominant during anxiety. Long, slow, and deep breaths activate the parasympathetic nervous which helps us to “rest and digest” (Wilson, 2014). Breathing in this manner correlates with peace, relaxation, and calm states of consciousness.
Breathe is the physiological connection between body and mind. It can be used negatively (usually without people noticing) or as a helpful tool when you kindly focus on it.
It may have taken years to develop bad breathing habits, but fret not! The wonderful breath is an infinite mechanism and you can come back to at ANY moment. (Including now.) It’s okay to forget about this natural instrument. It happens. What actually matters is that you remembered again…and again…and again! Be patient with yourself 🙂
Interested in more?
Sources in article:
Novotny, S., & Kravitz, L. (n.d.). The Science of Breathing. Retrieved July 11, 2015.
Wilson, A. (2014, January 2). Breath, Body, and Mind: The Physiology of Pranayama – Thrive: The Kripalu Blog. Retrieved July 11, 2015.