Mindfulness

Lucky to Be Alive

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I am lucky to be alive!  I was given a gift these last 6 weeks of recovering from being hit by an SUV that ran a stop sign.  When the accident happened, I was stopped at a 4 way stop and proceeded through on my rare ‘71 GTR Vespa with no one in sight and then felt the strong momentum of him barreling through the intersection knocking me off tumbling into the middle of the road. I was conscious but in shock and pain. Bystanders came dashing in to help including a black lab and a minister who prayed over me at the scene. Before I knew it an ambulance was there and my clothes were being cut from my body. I remembered the words I used to meditate with on a retreat: “this is how it is. It is like this right now.” I said these over and over in my mind to try to find some calming equanimous stream to have access to. It worked as I settled in to my new reality of pain.



It could have been a lot worse. Most of the bruising, sprains and strains have healed up well. My shoulder had 3 ligaments torn to create a Grade 5 AC separation. I was harnessed up during the healing process for several weeks.  I just took my brace off all day yesterday for the first time.  I’m mobile, but the recovery process now feels like its merely entering the next chapter. Fortunately, I will have a lot of experience to share with patients firsthand for treatments to come.



I am so grateful to be alive, to be able to walk and turn my head, to have had my sister, my partner, and friends come to my aid, and so much more. There are many things you need two arms for like dressing yourself, flossing your teeth, tying your shoelaces, you name it!



I hope this is a reminder for you to cherish some of the simple things. We never know when it may be our time to leave this planet, to experience tragedy or loss. I hope as well this is a reminder to be more present with whatever you are doing. . . especially driving!! Please leave driving for driving ONLY. Life is too precious to multi-task when you are on the road. I’ve been riding my now deceased Vespa “on defensive” for the last 12 years, but that wasn’t enough.



I will ultimately be ok. I improve more and more as time goes on. When the day comes I can do some version of yoga and dance again I will feel like the luckiest girl in the world!!



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Through the course of my healing time I saw just how much my meditation practice served me in a time of need.   You don’t realize how much mind and heart training goes into a simple practice of sitting still.  It truly reprograms your reactions, your responses, and your outlook.  Having tasted states of equanimity so clearly from practice, it became the backbone of my state of being during the accident and right after, so I could make it through shock and pain.  Radical acceptance was necessary to acclimate to the situation.



I also took the time during my healing at home to practice energy medicine such as medical qi gong and Theta Healing.  This has become such a foundation for my own self-healing, that I do see being able to offer such things to patients in the near future. I am very excited about this and will definitely keep you all posted when this comes about. 

A Blaze of Light to Come on the Solstice:

It’s been a long and trepidatious 2016, but as we enter the Winter Solstice on December 21st, the longest night of the year, light is at the end of the tunnel . . . literally.  The sun will begin to shine brighter and closer to us in the Northern Hemisphere, calling in more yang energy, that which builds strength and qi after great stillness.  Solstice translated from Latin means “sun set still.”  

Traditionally people would gather around a fire or light a candle to mark the great sunlight that is to come, while also setting intentions of letting go of everything that came before in order to pave way for the new year.   Use this last sacred night of deep yin to reflect on what happened over the year and what you might do differently.

This makes a beautiful holiday to celebrate because it is where the darkness, melancholy, and stresses of life can be met with the hope of a brighter day.  Where true yin meets true yang.  A reminder that all of life works in a balance and nothing can be felt or understood without awareness of its opposite.  To feel the light, you must understand the dark.  Even if 2016 was a hard year for you, always remember that what is challenging becomes the fuel for cultivation. 

The deeper the challenge both personally and collectively the greater the potential for our awakening.

So. . . .

-Light a candle or a fire

-Reflect on the previous year

-Let go of what you need to (even burn these reflections written down on paper)

-Honor what you learned

-Move forward with a new intention

 

The Merriment of Metta

People often ask me after I tell them I’m going on silent retreat, “how can you do that?” My feeling on the matter is, “how could I not?!

For me being in silence and meditating for a few days is profoundly life changing, but it isn’ta walk in the park by any means.  When you strip away the distractions of daily life and you live with just the basics, of eating, sleeping, walking, and sitting amongst a community, it is in this state you so easily meet yourself and in some cases meet versions of yourself you didn’t know were there.

I recently went on a metta and qi gong retreat, where not only did I experience the inner workings of the mind, but I met the power of the heart.  Qi gong (movement meditation) was a brilliant method of prepping the body for what was to come throughout the whole week.

We meditated with the heart opening practices of metta (loving kindness), karuna (compassion), and mudita (empathetic joy).  We evoked a deep wish for all beings to be happy and safe, no matter what, because ultimately we all have goodness at our core that we can wake up to. We experienced feelings of compassion for the self and others, wishing that we may all hold our suffering with ease and tenderness.  When we celebrated other people’s joys in life and resonated in that feeling, we tapped into supreme joy without our own hearts.

After a heart work out like that, you can hold the sufferings and the joys of others and have equanimity in the face of whatever comes your way.  It can soften anger into courage, fear into beauty, and sadness into compassion.  I feel that inner strength can only come from wisdom, the type of wisdom that one feels deep in their bones, that to this day I have found most profoundly comes from meditation.

Understanding and observing what compassion feels like in your body on an energetic level, felt like training for a fierce heart.  Before the retreat my heart ached for the conditions of the world today, feeling soft and vulnerable.  After the retreat, there’s a strength in there now and a capacity to hold what’s to come my way.

What exactly I will do with this open heart, I am not certain.  But one thing is for sure, it starts with the people that cross my path and my hope is by touching them, it will ripple out further and further to reach more communities.