Sunday, January 8, 2012

Classy or Sassy?

Angel - played by Pam
Devil - played by Carol
Special Thank You to Louie, Sass Consultant

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Watching Alex Breathe

by carol

I no longer make new year resolutions because I refuse to be pulled into the failure/shame/remorse cycle that follows resolutions not met.

However, I have been persuaded to try the power of “intention.” 

Rather than imposing a rule on yourself, you align your energies to a wish, a goal, or a dream; or something you want to achieve or understand.  I will be open to outcome — and that’s one of the biggest differences between an intention and a resolution. Do your best and do it with joy — not with an eye to the reward. Pray for the mountain to be moved and push — and accept if it does not move. 

The inspiration for my “intention” comes from Alex O’Loughlin who has renewed my interest in meditation:
“After a hard day, I stop and meditate which shakes the day off and then I shower and read.“
"I do my meditation, play my music, and keep my head".
Alex is not the only celebrity who makes use of this ancient practice. There’s a reason that Hugh Jackman, Clint Eastwood, Jeff Bridges, Russell Brand, Will Smith, Danny Glover, Jessica Alba, Kate Bosworth, Keanu Reeves, J.Lo, Uma Thurman, Orlando Bloom, Richard Gere, and Halle Berry take the time. Every actor knows that the most important tool they have is their state of mind. And meditation helps them access and train that tool.

I've paid brief visits to my mind to try and calm it down in the past, often unsuccesfully. Alex has motivated me to try this technique that works so well for him.

But why meditate, especially if you're not planning to drop everything you're doing and Google for the closest mountain retreat?  Because in an age of multitasking, hyper-scheduling, and instant internet distraction, achieving a relaxed state of mind seems to end up at the bottom of the priority list. And maybe that is what should be at the top of the list.

So … how to begin … yoga pants, new age music, mat, incense, meditation cushion, candles and a bumper sticker that says “namaste y'all.”  (Hey, I live in the South!)

As it turns out, all you need to begin is your breath.

In The Miracle of Mindfulness, a classic text that introduces the thinking and practice behind meditation, Thich Nhat Hanh carefully explains how the breath is connected to the mind, which controls the body. By actively watching your breath, and evening it out, you can bring your entire being to what some call the still point. You'll be focusing on just one very important thing, and teaching your mind how to engage one thing fully.

First breathe normally, gradually letting your breathing slow down until it is quiet, even, and the lengths of the breaths are fairly long. From the moment you sit down to the moment your breathing has become deep and silent, be conscious of everything that is happening in yourself.

Sounds almost too simple, right? 
But maybe simple is what makes it work.