Meditation

Dealing with My Monkey Brain

White Monkey

DAY 11-14 of Tea and Meditation:

Another four days have flown by and here it is exactly two weeks from the start date of my tea and meditation journey.

Only fourteen short days ago, I had declared that I wanted to experience more alert peacefulness in my life by meditating over tea for at least five minutes each day.

Well, I’ve certainly made progress towards this end, but I still find myself struggling to stay in the moment; that moment when complete relaxation and focus merge to create an ideal state of being.

Finding it Difficult to Quiet My Mind:

When attempting to meditate, even for just five minutes, I’ve found it difficult to quiet my mind. Just when I find myself slip into that wonderful state of alert peacefulness my head starts thinking about stupid stuff I’ve got to do like organizing my Spirituality & Health magazines, looking to see what new movies are coming out, washing the cat bed, or dusting the bookshelf.

Next thing I know, I’m trying to silence my uncooperative mind again. I admonish my monkey brain with, “Shut up you! Can’t you see I’m trying to meditate here? Duh!”

After a minute or so of playing tug-of-war with my left and right brain, I am able to once again reach that beautiful place of alert peacefulness.

However, my visit is usually cut short by my inner voice screaming, “You’ve got stuff to do!”

This tends to jolt me right out of my blissful serenity and into action. I find myself repeating, as if it were a mantra, “I’ve got stuff to do, I’ve got stuff to do, I’ve got stuff to do.” Boom-boom-boom, it’s as if pots and pans being banged together.

Talking myself into this lie, of having important stuff to do right now, urges me to surrender  my meditative state and go searching for the feather duster.

Now or Never:

Despite the challenges of trying to quiet my one-track mind, I’m still committed to taking time each day to mediate. For years, I’ve wanted to experience meditation. I just never made the time; there was always something more important to do. Are you noticing a pattern here?

When it comes right down to it, if I don’t choose to make it a habit to meditate now, I’m not sure that I ever will.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be on my deathbed feeling distraught because I never made time for those things that I really wanted to do. Instead, I want to be lying there thinking about the wonderful life I had led.

What’s Next?

If you’ve been reading along for the past two weeks, you’ll perhaps recall that my original intention was to write about my tea and meditation experience every day. And, you’ve likely noticed that after Day 2, every day became every three to four days.

I guess, I was a bit gung-ho when writing that first post about living a tea lifestyle.  I’m still quite enthusiastic about the whole endeavor, but I‘ve been wondering where do I go from here. Do I keep doing what I’ve been doing, writing a post every now and again, or do I scrap the whole idea and call it a done deal?

Or perhaps, there is an option number three, which would be to recommit to my original goal of writing a little something every day about my tea and meditation experience.

I’m leaning towards option three, for three reasons:

1. I just don’t feel as if I’ve truly given my heart and soul to the effort yet. Who knows what might happen if I really do this thing and commit to it with fierce determination—take on a “just do it” attitude.

2. I am new to blogging, and therefore, spend way too much time over-thinking each sentence. Maybe if I attempt to write a little something every day it will force me to be a bit less perfectionist. Hopefully, my writing ability will improve as well.

3. I have to wonder if there might be someone out there who is in a similar position; someone who has never meditated before, who wants to live a tea lifestyle, and who is struggling with getting started. Perhaps my experience could, in a small way, be encouraging.

I think I’ll go with option three and re-commit to posting everyday. Who knows what might happen!

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: kevin j – via Flickr CC Attribution License

[box] Have you ever had a goal you really wanted to achieve, but something kept getting in your way? [/box]

Day 1: Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day at a Time

Day 2: When Life Throws You a Curve Ball Make Tea

Day 3-7: Stay Aware of What You Are Doing Right

Day 8-10: Starting the Day with Meditation

Starting the Day with Meditation

Piedra y Flor

DAY 8-10 of Tea and Meditation:

Over the last few days I’ve been taking about five minutes in the morning for a little tea and meditation. I’ve found that by taking this time right away, before the day starts, I feel a bit more relaxed and focused.

This has been a huge plus, for my modus operandi has usually been to feel anxious and overwhelmed, especially when it is work related.

It’s been quite amazing to see first-hand how taking a few minutes in the morning, to just be in the moment, can have a positive impact on my emotional responses throughout the day.

Not, that I didn’t have my moments, where I reacted based on habit. I am sure those self-trained reactions will always be there. But, hopefully, in the not too distant future I’ll be able to override those semi-conscious responses with more deliberate actions. Actions, that come from a place of “alert peacefulness” rather than worry and fear.

I am very pleased with the results thus far. So, I guess I’ll keep going and see what happens next.

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: © Alex Bramwell – Fotolia.com

[box] Have you ever tried meditating in the morning? What was your experience? [/box]

Day 1: Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day at a Time

Day 2: When Life Throws You a Curve Ball Make Tea

Day 3-7: Stay Aware of What You Are Doing Right

Stay Aware of What You Are Doing Right

Cherry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

DAY 3 – 7 of Tea and Meditation:

I’ve been a very bad girl.

Here I was going to take five minutes each day to meditate over a cup of tea, then blog about my experience; but as you can see I haven’t posted anything since my mini-meltdown on Day 2.  Now it is Day 7.  So what happened?

Well, on Day 3 I actually did take five minutes to focus on the moment, but then Day 4 rolled round and I got caught-up in doing, rather than being. By the time I came up for air on Day 4, at 3:00AM in the morning, I was simply too exhausted to do anything except hit the hay. At least I fell asleep thinking about tea and meditation.

Days 5 and 6 were pretty much the same. I spent the day focusing on completing my never-ending “to-do” list. I kept telling myself that I would take time later to meditate with a cup of tea.

Predictably, the day ended without me taking five lousy minutes to be in the moment.

By Day 7 I had completely abandoned my goal in favor of stress and chaos. Same old, same old. Ugh!

A Realization:

While reflecting on the past week and utter lack of success in accomplishing my daily five-minute tea and meditation goal, I realized something.

I was so focused on not being able to achieve my tea and meditation objective, that I had lost sight of what I was going well: I had stopped buying Edy’s Cherry Chocolate Chip ice cream. This was a pretty big deal, but let me explain.

All summer long I’ve had a carton of this delightful concoction in my freezer. Each day without fail, I would take a scoop (or more) and treat myself. It was becoming quite a bad habit and it wasn’t helping me to lose those extra pounds.

For some reason, I decided last week of all weeks, to break my habitI know better than to try and make two lifestyle changes at the same time, but I did it anyway.

Looking back, now I know why I kept craving dessert teas all last week and felt on edge each day! It must have been ice cream withdrawal!

The good news is that I did break my nasty ice cream habit. Consequently, I’ve felt a bit calmer this week.

Next Steps:

Once I recognized what had gotten me off track with my five-minute tea and meditation goal, I was able to think more clearly and focus on moving forward.

I truly thought it was a lack of commitment that was my undoing. When in reality, my dedication was strong but the timing was wrong.

So, what next?

I think I’ll try again.

Now, that my ice cream habit has been taken care of, I think it is time to move on to tea and meditation. I am quite hopeful that this week holds incredible promise. Hopefully, I will find a little alert peacefulness.

I’ll keep you updated.

Oh, and if you run across any cherry and chocolate flavored tea you’ll let me know, right? 😉

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: adria.richards – via Flickr CC Attribution License

[box] Have you ever failed at something you really wanted to achieve? What do you think may have been the cause? Could it have been something you hadn’t even yet considered? What are you doing that’s right?[/box]

Day 1: Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day at a Time

Day 2: When Life Throws You a Curve Ball Make Tea

When Life Throws You a Curve Ball: Make Tea

Computer Problems

DAY 2 of Tea and Meditation:

You know how you start out with the best intentions, and then life throws you a curve ball? Yep, you know what I’m talking about!

Today was to be my first day of taking five minutes and meditating over a cup of tea, which sounds easy enough to do, right? I mean, who doesn’t have time to take five minutes out of their day?

Well, apparently I don’t. Because here it is after 2:00 AM in the morning and I still haven’t taken the time to relax and just be in the moment.

I had good intentions though; I planned to come home from work, have a little something to eat, check my email, and then unwind with a cup of tea.

However, that was not to be.

When I came home and turned on my laptop to get on the web, I discovered that the internet connection was down. For some twisted reason this drives me bonkers every single time.

I like to fix things, so I spent the next hour trying to figure out what was wrong, only to conclude that there was nothing I could do but wait.

By the time I was done with my mini-meltdown, I had built-up enough anxious energy to light up the Libby’s corn cob water tower.

To rid myself of this pent-up energy, I did what I normally do; I worked.

I started writing a tea review, took some pictures with my new camera, and did a little reading for a post I wanted to write. Essentially, I was trying to do anything that would keep my mind off the internet not cooperating.

In all this busy work, I totally lost sight of the promise I had made to myself to take five minutes to enjoy the moment.

Okay, so this was not the vision I had yesterday for my life. In fact, it’s a great example of how I don’t want to live my life, reacting to stupid things out of my control.

Lesson Learned: When internet goes down. Make a pot of tea and just relax.

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: mandyxclear – via Flickr CC Attribution License

[box] What to you do when life throws you a curve ball?[/box]

Day 1: Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day at a Time

Exploring Alert Peacefulness One Day At A Time

Tea Being Poured

DAY 1 of Tea and Meditation:

I’ve often thought that someday I’d like to live a more natural and holistic lifestyle.

Someday when I had enough money in the bank…

Someday when I didn’t feel so stressed…

Someday when I had more time and energy…

Someday when I could maintain a regular schedule…

Someday when I felt deeply motivated from within…

I have to admit that I’ve been quite fortunate, for there have been several times in my life when all the above came into alignment and I was able to focus on living the lifestyle that I desperately craved.

However, these blissful times where short-lived because something would inevitably happen to throw my perfect little world into a tailspin, such as an unexpected bill, lay-off, sick cat, fender-bender or computer crash.

Once the worry, panic and fear subsided and the world seemed right again, I’d find myself back to square one, right were I had started, with little or no motivation to start all over again.

If I had cut out sugar, I began eating it again. If I started doing yoga each day, I stopped. If I had lost five pounds, I gained it back. And so on and so forth.

This pattern is pretty much my life in a nutshell, always trying to improve, yet never mastering the art of maintaining a joyful state of serenity and focus. A way of being that has kept me from living a more purposeful life.

This is where tea comes in to play; it is the one healthy habit I’ve never quit.

Expanding Upon Micro-Moments:

I’ve been drinking tea, both hot and iced, for years now and in those micro-moments of taking a sip and being completely present I’ve experienced what can be best described as alert peacefulness.

It’s a state-of-being I wish to expand into all areas of my life, even when…

I need to pay an unexpected medical bill.

I’m told that my services are no longer required.

The cat pukes on my bed.

Someone rear-ends my car.

My computer crashes and I lose a day’s worth of work.

Even when a mini-crisis shakes up my life, I want to be able to go to that place of alert peacefulness, without my monkey brain taking over and running the show.

I want to deal with problems straight on and let my emotions serve a better purpose than plundering my tranquility.

By choosing to live in a state of alert peacefulness, I believe that I can be in the world more intentionally and live a holistic lifestyle, unfettered by daily distractions.

This brings me back to those micro-moments, when I am sipping my tea and being totally in the moment.

If I can take that moment and expand it into minutes, hours and eventually days, I will be living the life I want to live.

It is simply a matter of deciding that someday is today.

Taking the First Step:

Of course, living in a state of alert peacefulness is easier said than done. That is why I want to start small.

This week, my plan is to take five minutes each day and simply enjoy my tea without distraction—no computer work, no reading, no TV and no thinking—just me, my tea and the moment.

My hope is that by taking this time each day, I will start to develop my alert peacefulness “muscle.” As I become more acquainted with this state of being, I hope to be able to recapture the feeling at other times of the day until it becomes second nature to live with more ease.

This is “a girl with tea” signing off once again.

Remember to live, laugh, love and drink plenty of tea.

Amy

Photo Credit: Like The Grand Canyon – via Flickr CC Attribution License

[box] Have you struggled with making changes in your life? What is one thing you’d love to stick with long-term?[/box]