Skimming Deep

Searching, traveling, talking, reflecting, and exploring. Read along with me as I continue on my journey through life.

Tag: breathe

Q is for “Quiet”

I love how every time I go to yoga class, a word sticks out that connects with my ABC-blog assignment for the day!  🙂  Thanks, yoga teachers!  Thanks, universe!

Today’s word that stuck with me was “quiet.”

Sunday mornings always bring a special kind of quiet that I love.  Everyone’s sleeping in so no lawn mowing, no cars and buses, no kids running around.  And it’s especially nice on a cool morning like it was today.  I can open all the windows and just revel in the quiet.  It helps to quiet my mind, too.  Something that rarely happens.  And these days, my Sunday mornings have been busy, too, so my Sunday morning quiet hasn’t always been available to me.

(This photo is not taken by me, unlike most blog images.  This is from online.)

During these times of quiet, I focus on my breath.  I realize then how shallow my breathing is usually, and with a focus on deeper breath, I feel calmer and replenished of healthy, fresh life force (or as it’s called in yoga, prana).

My mind also slows down, and I realize then how much I am thinking about a million things at once.  At work, especially.  When things are quiet, I can let my mind wander and not be so scattered.  That takes some practice and focus, too.

Since I’ve been living on my own, I’ve been watching way less TV.  I usually just have music on as background murmur.  But with music, it’s just my ears that get stimulus.  When I’m watching TV, my eyes, my ears, my mind are all being stimulated, and I find that I can’t concentrate on anything but what’s on the TV.  Since I’ve been watching less TV, I’ve found it easier to be quiet and I’ve enjoyed it.  I’m not the type that would ever give up my TV, but I could deal with not having supreme cable.  I like having the TV for specials and also to watch movies.  But crazy sensory overload of regular TV with its commercials, loud sounds, and bright colors is not something I miss.

I’ve been a little stressed with some things related to my upcoming trip– namely my lack of a plan.  I’m trying to have some kind of plan but also let myself be OK with not having a rigid plan, and it’s been hard to allay my fears and nerves about the ambiguity of it all.  But during these times of quiet, I can more easily let the stress go and live in the quiet.  I’m learning to let go.  To let things happen, and so far things have been happening.  I know I have a safety net of money, family, and my own intellect.  So what more do you need?

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Reconnecting and Finding Meaning

Since I ended my streak, I haven’t been blogging regularly. Having photos everyday to share made it more interesting to blog and actually gave me a reason to blog. Now I’ve lost some reason to blog. I know that once I start traveling, I’ll definitely be blogging. But now, I’ve lost some direction.

I also haven’t been taking photos as much since the streak ended.

So I’m trying to start a new streak: deep breathing at the end of each day right before I go to bed. I often get home and realize that I haven’t really breathed all day. I mean, I’ve done the involuntary breathing, of course, since I’m still alive. But I haven’t done any real breathing where I feel the expulsion of bad air and energy and intake of fresh, rejuvenating energy. So I’d like to do at least 10 deep breaths before I turn off the light and go to bed.

I started this last night and it felt good. But then I went through today with its craziness and lost the effects. I’ll see what happens by the end of this streak. I’m aiming for a deadline of August 31st– my last day of work.

Reconnection is about plugging back into something that you became unplugged, separated from. How do I reconnect to the blog? How do I reconnect to meaning in my life? I’m hoping that my travels will allow me to do that. But what if it doesn’t? I guess the worst that could happen is that at least I get some time off of working and get to have a change of scenery. At least there’s a benefit to that.

Some of the bloggers that I follow have been raving about a recent event called the World Domination Summit which is organized by Chris Guillebeau, writer, blogger, traveler, etc. I’ve been jealous to hear about the amazing event and wish I could have gone there! I’m looking for more people to commiserate with who are in a similar mindset of wanting to do and be more. And wanting to use creativity, mission, passion, and innovation to get there.

It’s interesting how I’m looking outside of my networks, relationships, connections, friends to find something. Why can’t I find what I’m looking for among what I have? What’s missing? Will I end up coming back from my travels and want to come back to the comfort and known of those who are here?

The main point here, though, is I want to determine the goals of my blog. I read this post from a
“Freshly Pressed” WordPress blog. The blogger talked about needing a purpose for his blog and how he needed to write about something he was really passionate about. It was a good reminder that I don’t want to be aimlessly blogging just to fill cyberspace with more useless drivel.

So here are some thoughts about what I’m passionate about that I could blog about:

  • amazing people in my life– youth I’ve mentored, people who have mentored me, friends, family
  • recipes, restaurants, food reviews– I love to eat!
  • meaningful quotes I’ve come across
  • a line from anything I’m reading– a book, blog, newspaper article

I need to set a writing schedule, too. Once a week? More than that?
Hmmm. Where to go next…

#20: Bird Cloud

I saw this cloud formation as I got off the train tonight.

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It looks like a bird or phoenix to me. Or even a pterodactyl.

I had one of those days where I barely breathed all day.  Minute to minute was occupied with some kind of task, and I really truly felt like I wanted to cram as much as I could in the minutes that I had.  It was a crazy feeling of being under the gun (my own gun, no one else’s), speeding against time (my own time), and seeing how much I could get done in the given time.  What a strange, breathless race… against myself.  I didn’t feel healthy and didn’t feel accomplished, but I felt like I couldn’t control myself.

What makes me race against myself like this?  The perfectionist (Virgo) in me has high standards for myself.  Wanting to make the most of anything.  Do the best at anything within my power.  Leave behind a legacy.

I’m running away from/ after something.  I don’t even know what it is.

I tell myself to take a breather.  [After everything’s done, I reply.]

I tell myself to let go. [Not yet, I reply.]

I tell myself to do what I can and not kill myself trying.  [But I don’t know what I CAN do until I do it all and find out later what I CAN’T, I reply.]

It’s a constant battle of me versus me.  And why doesn’t my more rational, level-headed self have more control over the emotionally driven, feeling self?

#12: Sun and Shadow

I’m solar-powered.  I recharge from the sun’s rays.  My energy is restored by the sun.  I love days when I can take long walks, soaking in the sun, with a gentle breeze keeping me cool.  It’s even better when I can catch the shade from trees, buildings, and other tall obstructions and then come back into the sunlight.

Today was one of those days I sorely need more often than I get.  No scheduled meetings.  No homework to do.  Just walking around the neighborhoods, enjoying the weather, and feeling my inner gas fill up to the max-line.

And after my long walks (yes, that’s “walkS,” plural, because I was able to take two walks– one in the city, and one in my neighborhood.  What a wonderful day!), I was able to come back home to this– a peaceful home, the sounds of birds outside my window, a cool breeze wafting through the curtains.  It’s a good day to be alive.

I have often thought that one of the reasons I so love days like this is because they are rare.  With the unpredictability of New England weather, one truly appreciates the beautiful days because they come when you don’t expect them.  Like you can’t really appreciate the sun without the shadows.  Or you can’t really appreciate the good without the bad.  One cannot exist without the other.

To be honest, though, I wouldn’t mind if we had a lot more days like this with only the occasional dreary day.  The dreary days are nice for cozying up at home with a good movie or book or loved one.

But I love being outside in my neighborhood.  I love walking by the beach, hearing the waves against the shore.  I love hearing the birds chirp, not being drowned out by city sounds of sirens, cars, and people yelling.  I love smelling the fresh air, untainted by pollution and dirty streets.

I need to live somewhere that I can have all this. Close to the city but far enough away where nature prevails, not choked by man-made waste but allowed to flourish and breathe.

#9: Serenity

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It’s been hard to feel at peace and serene for a long time now.  Things just get busier and busier.  How does one find peace and serenity in a fast-paced world?  Technology has really sped things up for all of us.  Email, social networking sites, texting– all of these technologies make it an expectation that you get an instantaneous reply when you contact someone.  There is no more lag time of calling, leaving a voicemail, and waiting for a response.  Now, if even a few hours go by after an email or text, there are worries about something being wrong.  And all this happened in the last 5-10 years, really.  The speeding up of the world.

So how do we find peace and serenity in this fast-paced world?  Some things I try to do (or at least WANT to try to do):

  • set a response message on my email that says, “I am taking a break from email because it’s making my life crazy.  I will be able to get back to you in the next two days.  Thank you for understanding.”
  • take deep breaths with eyes closed and think about a serene scene, like the beach pic above.
  • step away from the computer, stretch, take a short walk, and then reset.
  • keep technological-connection on weekends to a minimum.
  • practice yoga regularly.
  • take a long walk at the beach.
  • listen to music that soothes the soul, like jazz classics.

I need to find better ways to find the peace and serenity in everyday life, so I don’t get to a point like I am at now where I’m leaving it all behind and going thousands of miles away!  Any tips?

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