Category Archives: Meditation

Mindfulness

Nancy

I’m looking out at horses standing in the pasture.  No, they are not at the farm in Rocky Mount.  They are at my farm in Hillsborough.  I am going through a divorce, and they are the first group that has come to live with me.  Life is pretty crappy and hard right now, not just mentally but especially physically, but as I stand here, I am in awe of the beauty of it all.   The pasture slopes downhill and is surrounded by woods through which I can see more of my hay fields.  Despite the trials of daily life, I feel happy, blessed.

The next day, I catch the end of a Diane Rehm show about mindfulness and the power of thought.  The day after that I listen to the show in its entirety: an interview with Ellen Langer, a Harvard professor who writes about mindfulness in a new book.   She did a study years ago where she took a group of old men and isolated them for five days and turned back time.  They only watched movies from a certain era and basically lived as they had in the past.  When they emerged from the study, they were reinvigorated and stronger, with eyesight and hearing improved, and they looked younger.  It was the power of their minds that gave them that strength.  (I was also delighted to hear her describe this group as such old men that she actually wondered if they would make it through the five days, and here was the kicker: she said they were not like now, when 60 is the new 40.  Does that make me 45?)

horses in field

She also talked about how anger and despair can be so physically debilitating and how most of the things we struggle against aren’t true tragedies but merely inconveniences.  If we can bring ourselves to a neutral place, we will feel so much better and be able to see more clearly ways to handle our demons.   I have always been one to be thankful for dodging those bullets I didn’t even realize were there.   Maybe I dodged a bullet by leaving my husband.  No, make that a full speeding train, but that conversation is for another time.

I encourage everyone to hear Ellen Langer tell it herself.  Here is the link:

http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2014-12-01/ellen_langer_mindfulness_and_the_power_of_thought

 

Sharon Is Definitely Not Done Yet –Read All About It!

Sharon Willen
Sharon Willen

I must confess, when this book Not Done Yet:  A Tale of Transformation Through Transplant Surgery was first brought to my attention, I felt a bit of trepidation, the trepidation that comes from social responsibility.  After all, the writer was a neighbor, and reviewing it would be a neighborly thing to do.  I thought, “Well, what’s the harm in a short read, a quick compliment, then back to the bedroom for a short nap?”  Well, it didn’t turn out quite that way.

As sordid as the subject matter may appear on the surface (a tale of  transformation through transplant surgery), the author, Sharon Lamhut Willen, handles it in amazing fashion.  The book made me cry, but it also made me laugh:  a hard thing to do when writing about our health care system in this country on a social level and about the incredible personal angst one must feel when dealing with the imminent failure of one’s vital organ.

So many rules and regulations, so many forms to file…a forest so thick there seemed no path through it.  Yet the grace, strength, and most importantly, the spiritual faith Sharon brought to the battle won her the victory.  The ease and eloquence of her writing turned this hard distasteful journey of hers (and her husband’s) into a triumphant mission from which we can all take solace and wonder.

Not Done Yet

Sharon’s story made me revisit my own story.  It made me reflect on how I was handling my own distress, my own disease and dis-ease.  Whether it be my Parkinson’s or just my own reflections on aging itself, I thought about how best to embrace it.  What there is in this book, is validation.  With dedication and diligence, my friend and author found equanimity, and with that tranquility, reaching a near Satori experience in some of her meditations.

And in the end, she proves once again that the love you take is equal to the love you make.  And that love is the balm that eases the pain.  She documents the process in a striking way in some very dramatic circumstances.  She’s made it hard for me to give up, that’s for sure.

Sharon Willen
Sharon Willen

The book reveals a tear-filled wonder into what a truly loving couple can do even under the most dire of circumstances.  In the end, the book is a story of journey, of discovery.  It is not a journey of youthful exuberance about the world, but rather one of an older, wiser, more seasoned toughness.  We travel with the author as she leads us along the way to her entrance of grace, in spite of its ineffable way. This is a book well worth your time.  I will end by saying, I hope to go through the rest of my life with half as much dignity and grace as Sharon has.  

Here is the link to Sharon’s book:

http://www.amazon.com/Not-Done-Yet-Transformation-Transplant/dp/0991298209/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397683931&sr=1-1

And here is the link to Sharon’s website:  http://sharonwillen.com/

This is Nancy Puetz’s first contribution to our blog, and we are happy to have her!  Welcome, Nancy, and thank you for this review!

Nanci S. Puetz and her family
Nanci S. Puetz
and her family

Sadhvi Sez: OK, I get it.

.

On top of feeling like a crone (which I am), a lot of stuff seems to be happening to those I love and the planet.  How is one to cope with it all?  I mean, the town that some dear friend’s of mine (Tosh and Garima) live in was destroyed by a 1000-year-flood (Lyons, Colorado), another friend who is just one year older than me found out he has a couple of weeks to live after going in to the doctor’s to see about a bump on his head, if I think of the economy I get really nervous, and and and.

I try to not be negative, I really do.  And even when I think I am helping the planet by sending FB friends a petition to sign that I feel might make a difference, it can backfire:

“Please STOP sending me all of these causes…. Thank you I have my own causes….. I have unfriended you and still I am getting them….. because I am a friend of a friend of mine…. I am so sick of being bombarded with every bad piece of news out there ….people are just going numb ….to it all…. Everyone knows that everything is f—-d,,,, I think its time to start spreading a little joy instead of all of this fear……”

Ajita, I truly am sorry, and I get the cosmic message because I won’t be sending out any more petitions to be signed to stop Monsanto, have GMO’s labeled, or to try to get the world governments to join in to help the Fukishima disaster, I promise!

Instead, I am going to start to write posts with things that I am liking, and not just my favorite lipstick (which used to be Chanel because of the way it glided on my lips, plus the smell was a wonderful, subtle rose frangrance but is now some weird smell that makes me feel like I’ve put some sort of cheap air freshener on – yuck!).

It’s funny, but when I started writing for this blog many years ago, I was only going to share what makes me happy.  I guess I started to get a little too personal; call it the “FB” sydrome of thinking I should “share” everything.  It’s a sickness and I know the cure.

So what am I liking right now?  It’s the 21-Day Mantra Meditation Journey with Deva Premal and Miten.  I have loved singing since way back when we went to Catholic mass every week.  I can’t think of anything that I would rather be doing.  Chanting to the divine is just, well, divine, and I had forgotten about it and the places it takes me.

Take a look at the clip below, and if you’re interested, click here to jump in.

Thank You Deva and Miten!

OM