Monthly Archives: January 2012

Intensity + Practice Brings Movement

January has been an intense month. I started the year with family in Indiana, having also just traveled to Colorado to visit friends. I came back and stepped into greater leadership at work. I also started working at home full time, which has its own set of challenges. All this intensity has been coupled with a lot of emotional and energetic movement. All kinds of old stuff is being released (yay!), but it’s been intense.

My intentions this month have been critical in supporting me! How did I do?

1. 30 minutes of meditation. every day.

Since I started January 4, I have meditated 30 minutes or more for 24 of 26 days. One of those days I had an intense somatics session in which I was deeply in touch with what was going on in my body. The other day, I meditated 15 minutes, before I ended up in bed trying not to get sick. Both of those “failures” actually seem like great examples of bringing mindfulness of the body off the cushion and more fully into my life. So I will count them as successes.

This is an amazing transformation in my life. Just three years ago, I was working on a daily meditation practice in which I would meditate 2 minutes per day. Working my way up to 10 minutes was a major achievement. For major periods, I have had no daily practice and have just tried to attend as many meditation classes as possible to make sure that I get regular mindfulness classes in. To have sat for 30 minutes nearly every day, mostly at my own house on my own cushion, and to have that flow with ease – this is a testament to the intention I kept even when my practice seemed so minimal. I kept doing intentional practice anyway, and it’s finally bearing fruit.

2. When in doubt, “What’s the next right thing to take care of myself?”

As I noted, this worked in the most sneaky way possible. I get completely lost about the next right thing sometimes. Especially if I’m torn between taking care of myself and taking care of something on my to do list.

This month, I took the decision making power out of my hands, and just randomly decided. I don’t care if it’s sneaky, because it’s totally working.

3. Be laser focused at work

I have had to be even more focused than anticipated, as a co-worker has been out sick for 10 days. That leaves just me to do everything.

A lot of my “I’m all alone!!!” buttons have been pushed this week, exacerbated when some of my requests for help have been turned down. As has been true of a lot of my buttons that have been pushed recently, it’s really just the last remnants of an old button that has been healed. The one last step is to notice that the structure of the button is still there and needs dismantled. It’s been a review of all my old issues, and a confirmation of all the healing that has happened.

4. Be nourished in friendship

I have both taken in a lot of connection this month, and felt really isolated this month. Some of the isolation is very specific – I have few people to process work-related things with, without feeling like my friends should start invoicing my workplace.

I also am just reaching that one year mark after moving, and I know the typical feeling at this point is that I have many local acquaintances, but few local people with whom I can be fully, authentically me.

Given those challenges, I feel like I’ve done a good job at taking in the nourishment that is available to me, and seeking out additional support and connection even when it feels awkward. I made several new connections with people that have the potential to deepen into the kinds of relationships I want. And that feels good.

What’s Working?

A mid-month revue of January not-resolutions:

1. 30 minutes of meditation. every day.

Twelve days. Thirty minutes every day. I’m kind of afraid to look at this, as it might set off the part of me that’s totally freaked out by meditation.

What’s worked? I vary the actual practice, sometimes doing 15 minutes of sitting followed by 15 minutes of walking. Days where it feels especially hard to sit down, I listen to a guided meditation to provide a stronger container. Also, I’m not trying to do it the same time everyday. There’s some flexibility built into that which is helpful to me.

What might I try in the future? The day I almost skipped was an emotionally intense day, and I’d had a somatics appointment that had elements of being with my present experience. Couldn’t I just count this as meditation?

I still had it on my randomized to do list, and it popped up as the first thing to do. So I did it. I’m glad I did as it helped me shake off more of the old emotions that had been stirred up during the day. And it helped me feel extra committed to my practice.

Note to me: When I practice on days I’d rather not, those are the days I look back on to decide whether I’m “really” committed to practice.

2. When in doubt, “What’s the next right thing to take care of myself?”

I feel like this is working in a sneaky way. I’m not sure I’m regularly asking this question. But with self care being mixed into my to do list, when it randomly comes up it feels easy to do as the next right thing. And if something pops into my head, I feel like I can go ahead and just do it.

My room is clean. I cooked lots of food last week and still have good things to eat for lunch today. I’ve journaled a lot, meditated, danced, connected with good people. And it all feels rather easy.

What I might try: I’m going to keep just letting this work. Use the randomized to do list, and also just do things as they occur to me. I can brainstorm more if/when this no longer works.

3. Be laser focused at work

Yes. I sat down to work Friday morning, and felt spaciousness. After a busy full week of big decisions, I was not contracted. This after a day unexpectedly sitting with a volunteer for a few hours stuffing envelopes and chatting about the big picture.

What worked: I function with more ease within the container of the big picture, of agreeing to what will be worked on and what will be ignored.

What I might try in the future: The organization I work for is not yet used to setting a big picture of priorities and then sticking to it. I anticipate a need to continue to return to the big picture and make adjustments. Maybe weekly until we get it reset in our bones that this is how we will do things.

4. Be nourished in friendship

I have enjoyed a mix of in person connections and phone conversations so far this month. I have taken in the loveliness each of these people offer in my life. Nourishment in connection is so important to me. I took in a lot this week.

What might I try differently? I also had a week filled with frustration and anger, some current, most old. Because that was my theme of the week, I found it easy to get frustrated with my people. As often happens, that came out most often in my closest relationships, while I had more ease with people I am getting to know. This says more about my comfort level with expressing frustration and anger in the world, than it does about the quality of my close relationships.

How can I expand my ability to express frustration and anger, into realms beyond my close and safe relationships? How can I safely hold my frustration while not spewing it around on everyone around me? I should make a sign to wear: “Approach with caution! I’m spewing fire this week.”

Yes It’s January. No These Aren’t Resolutions.

I don’t like New Year’s Resolutions. They are full of body hate and self flagellation. I don’t need more of that.

But I am sticking with my monthly goals and intentions. Here’s what I’m paying attention to in January.

1. 30 minutes of meditation. every day.

I am starting a year-long Practice in Action program with East Bay Meditation Center this month. One of the components of the program is a daily practice – at least 30 minutes of sitting or movement meditation.

Sitting meditation has been notoriously hard for me. Noticing the breath is hard – I start to panic when it gets quiet, because it reminds me too much of a traumatic freeze response. Stillness in the body is hard – I have so much old trauma and emotion stored up in my body, there’s a lot of need for release through shaking and trembling.

Yet I’m also wanting to deepen my practice, and I know that grounding myself in regular practice is a key way to do this. I’m three days in, and finding it supportive to give myself some flexibility with a mix of sitting and walking meditation. If I can focus on solidifying this practice this month, it will hopefully stick!

2. When in doubt, “What’s the next right thing to take care of myself?”

I often feel like self-care is one more thing to “achieve,” but it’s really about resting into the care that is around me and the care I know how to give myself.

I’m hoping when I find myself a bit lost about what to do next, this becomes my go to question.

3. Be laser focused at work

I am taking on yet additional responsibilities at work. I am both scared and excited about this. And especially worried about burn out.

I know how to manage a lot on my plate. And I know how to set priorities with groups of people, so we all agree on what’s most important and what we will let slide. Focus on the important but not urgent is going to be essential. And saying “No” over and over and over again will be a hard lesson to learn yet again.

4. Be nourished in friendship

I’m at my best when I’m nourished by the people around me. That includes being there for my friends, as I get nourishment also out of being of service to others.

I also get nourishment out of knowing my limits and not pushing past them. So it will be important to know how much to indulge in late night parties and to know when the nourishment of supporting others hits a limit.

Truth to remember (from Havi):

Intentionally setting strong, healthy boundaries is the most compassionate and important thing that you can do. And not just for you, but for everyone in your world.

It’s possible that everything I’m working on this month relates back to strong, healthy boundaries – both what I will do for myself and others. I may have more to say about this as the month unfolds.

Just Say No to Frozen Mullet

The last two weeks of December (and this first week of January) have been busy, full, chaotic, intense. And full of so many perfect moments and endless reminders that I’m right exactly where I need to be.

I wanted these things …

1. Rest deeply when I get the chance.

There was a lot of work. And then there was a whole lot of not work. Yay vacation! And even when I talked about work while on vacation, it felt like it was in productive, thoughtful ways. Rather than the spinning and pre-stress that can happen all too quickly.

2. Notice the things worth smiling and laughing about.

It might be hard to recognize Mr. Right, but you don’t need to be hit by a ton of lesbians to spot Mr. Wrong! If he does any of the following, fuck in the other direction:

  • He wears your bustiers
  • He repeated asks you to feel how muscular his boobs are
  • He offers to treat you to a luscious homemade dinner – then proceeds to thaw a frozen mullet
  • He gives you a stuffed leather for a gift – then tells you how much his ex-finger loved hers.
  • He asks you to foot the bill (again) because he left his wallet in his other pantyhose
  • He admits that, before he met you, he would hire paid queers to go out with him
  • He has a personalized license dyke tyke that reads IM2SXY

Mad Libs make everything better. Especially when they accidentally involve a crossdressing serial killer.

3. Loving on my loved ones.

Lots of love! Surprised my dad – Happy 60th Birthday! And spent lots of good time with my fantastic community of friends and my amazing meditation community.

So good to fill up on love for a couple of weeks.

4. Home office set up & functional.

This week has been the big test – can I actually work from home? The first day back was rough, but it would have been rough even if I would have had an office to go to. The first day back always sucks, plus I had a cold and was trying to sort out major staffing changes.

I finally separated out my work email from my personal email inbox. (Hides in shame that it’s taken 5 months to do this). This felt like a major step in creating some essential work/home boundaries.

Feeling hopeful. Scared but ready. Bring on 2012!