100 Days of Meditation Day 9: hitting the ground sitting?

So evidently I need to double check that when I post from my phone that it actually posts. This is the second time I had to go find it in limbo… Anyway, this is what I tried to post last night.

Tonight’s meditation was about trying too hard. When I start thinking about trying to hard I start thinking about everything and breaking things down technically. I feel like that defeats the purpose of not trying too hard. I think I’ll have to add thinking too much in to things that I need to set my intentions on.

You know I’ve always heard that meditating makes it easier to handle every day things. I really hope that starts kicking in soon. I feel like I have so much in my plate that I’m juggling extra things in my other hand.

I’ve got a lot on my mind and so I don’t have a lot for tonight.

Namaste

100 Days of Meditation Day 8: Setting Intention

So, I’m on Day 4 of the OMG I can meditate app and while I’m not the biggest fan of the lady that does the meditations I love the method and practice. Today, it was about setting intentions, and my mind just kind of exploded in to a tangent of a million different intentions that I could/would like to set. I seriously have a list about 10+ long of intentions right now, and I need to figure out what to focus on first. Some of these could even be split up even further, in to mini-intentions of sorts.

  • Financial Stability/Debt Snowball
  • Getting back in to working out 5x a week
  • Eating Healthier
  • Better communication skills
  • Be kinder/Do a daily random act of kindness
  • Increase sales at work
  • Move in to a corporate position
  • Finish at least my associates degree
  • Future
  • Family
  • Friends

I swear, I could go on longer and longer. Financial stability, debt snowball, getting out of debt seem to be what hits me hardest. I’ve never liked debt and being in a ton of debt from when I had my health issues and college is something that consumes a large part of my capacity currently. It makes me focus on things that aren’t always what’s most important, like myself and my debt and money, when I should be focusing on kindness.

Is it okay to be selfish with your meditation intentions? Is it kind of like ‘magic’ where you have to focus on good things and not intend it for your benefit… Now that definitely doesn’t sound right. I know you’re supposed to meditate to better yourself, but is setting a personal goal as an intention selfish? Should I alternate between self and non-self meditation intentions? Am I terrible for having so many intentions pop in to my head at once? How do I even know I’m doing this whole thing right?

Sometimes, I still question whether or not I am meditating correctly or if I’m meditating in such a way that it will benefit me. Yet, I find myself sleeping better, and am less anxious to have absolutely everything done on my to-do list like yesterday. Maybe it is working, but in small ways to start. Maybe I’m subconsciously setting my intentions in the order in which they need to be set.

I guess I’ll just have to see where my mind takes me. So far, I seem to be noticing that I’m much less uptight and am sleeping better than normal. I guess I’ll have to be patient and wait for the rest of the benefits to start surfacing.

This upcoming week at work I’m scheduled for the same amount of days but for fewer hours, so I’m looking forward to getting the rest of the apartment unpacked. Maybe that will be my meditation intention for the week, getting my home life organized. I like that idea.

Good night, namaste.

100 Days of Meditation Day 6 & 7: Pain in the …

I’ve been experiencing some pretty intense back pain, and I’m not sure if it’s from the move or working so much, or both. Either way, I decided to do my session laying down last night and probably only got about two minutes in to it before I fell asleep. It was mostly my fault that happened, I stayed up a lot later than usual, which was still only 10:30, god I feel old.. Anyway, so it didn’t last long, but I did it, so I’m proud of myself, especially since I really wasn’t feeling it at all yesterday.

Anyway, today my back still hurt, but I decided to try a sitting session again. I had a lot of trouble focusing, my mind kept wandering between work and my back and how much I still need to do to get my apartment unpacked. My to do list is a mile long and I really, really need to get back to the gym. As much as i desperately need the money and am incredibly thankful for all the hours I’ve been getting at work, I feel like I can’t find any semblance of normalcy because I’m at work 6 days a week and I can’t get everything organized at my apartment to a point where I can relax. Plus, I have a million projects to do at work, and not enough time to do them.

Obviously I just need to go to bed because that seems to be the only peaceful time I have right now. So, until tomorrow…

Namaste

Clean eating Pumpkin Pie ice cream

So yesterday my boss and I were bored at work and decided we wanted something sweet and different than the usual. We ended up whipping up an amazing vegan, gluten free pumpkin pie ice cream. It turned out to be more slushie like but it tasted absolutely amazing.

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I modified it a little for my tastes and with what we had on hand. Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. 4 bananas
  2. 1 1/2 cups pumpkin purée
  3. 1/3 cup brown sugar syrup
  4. 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  5. 2 tsp cinnamon

To make the syrup I mixed 1/3 cup packed brown sugar and 1/3 cup boiling water. You’ll have some extra leftover but it’s great in coffee, on pancakes and anything else you might cook up. I put all of the ingredients in a blender and mixed it all up. I put it in the freezer over night and viola! It was amazing and completely guilt free.

100 Days of Meditation Day 5: Dozing away

I may have spoke too soon about the sleeping thing.. I woke up twice in the middle of the night last night, but didn’t have too much trouble getting back to sleep, so it wasn’t too bad. Overall, my sleep did feel restful, and I guess that’s really all that matters. I have definitely noticed that I’ve been a lot less groggy in the mornings, and that’s something I can totally be on board with.

Anyway, before I start babbling about all things random I’m going to get on with tonight’s session and sign off. I already talked an arm and a leg off about coffee, so I won’t keep you unnecessarily long. Today’s session I just felt like I was drifting off the whole time. I didn’t really find my mind wandering to concrete things, but I just kinda zoned out completely. There really was no focus to the meditation and I’m not sure if it’s due to the fact that I did it an hour later than usual or because I’m exceptionally tired. Either way, I don’t feel like I got a whole lot out of tonight, except that it was a lot easier to sit through.

Until tomorrow, namaste

Another Little Piece of My Heart… and a cold brew coffee recipe

Facebook’s “on this day” feature is an interesting little creature. Sometimes I look at my old posts and wonder what I was thinking. Other times, I look at it and am like, “Damn straight that’s true.” Finally, occasionally, it gives me something that I end up thinking about all day. Today was one of those days I had a thought provoking post.

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Honestly, this post makes the statement a little bit ironic because a piece of my mind is going in to this post, but it stuck with me all day and I felt the need to say something. I was raised to put a piece of my heart in to everything I do, to be authentic with people, and just give a damn in general. I’m not saying I was raised to be a pushover, I’m a strong and independent spirit. However, I was taught that while my current job isn’t my career or dream job that I need to put my heart in to it and care while I’m there. I also learned that being genuine is worth a heck of a lot, even if people think it’s crazy. Additionally, I learned that you should treat every opportunity as if it may be a game changer.

I moved to the east coast a little over a year ago, and what I’ve observed is so far from any of that it makes me want to go back to Iowa some days. Granted, at the same time, I’m aware most people don’t go after what makes them happy, they’re just in it for the money. Anyway, I’m getting side tracked… I’ve been working for an up and coming coffee shop for the past year, and have literally poured my heart and soul in to every cup of coffee I’ve served our guests. There are many reasons why I’ve done this. For one thing, the company I work for has an amazing mission and core values, they’re focused on being open and authentic. I can literally say they’re my kind of people, and I couldn’t be happier working for them, even though it’s been the hardest/most stressful job I’ve ever had. I love getting to educate our guests on different aspects of coffee culture, explain why cold brew iced coffee is ten times better than pouring hot coffee over ice or letting hot coffee cool, and I could probably go on about this for ten years. I’m like a cheese monger, but for coffee. I love the idea of trying something new and falling in love with coffee in a whole new way. This is all coming from someone who used to think that gas station cappuccinos were the best thing ever… They’re not even a real capp.

Again, I find myself side tracked, *sigh* you can expect this a lot when I start talking about coffee. I don’t know why some of my passions lie in coffee, but they do, and I’m gonna roll with it because I love it.. Anywho, working for this coffee shop for the past year I’ve seen a lot of people come through, in front of and behind the counter. There are people with a true love of coffee, people who just want to get a paycheck (hate to break it to you, you’re in the wrong business for this…), some just want something to do, and some just light up like a Christmas Tree when they get going. Working in coffee is a lot of hard work, but it can be so worth it sometimes. I’ve had people ask a simple question about coffee and I’ve explained a long drawn out process only to have them tell me how much they appreciate that I’ve taken the time to give them a better understanding. I’ve given guests recipes to make things at home, and concocted some of my own creations.

I’ve also worked in a bagelry and a big restaurant whilst living here, and the general consensus I’ve come to is that people don’t give a rats ass about what they’re doing. It makes absolutely no sense to me how people can’t put in any sort of effort. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that you are just working here for now, I’ve had in-between jobs, and temporary positions. I just don’t get how people can go through life and just skate through without putting in a little heart in it. A little piece of your heart can go a heck of a lot farther than a piece of mind. Just think about it for a little bit.

Now to the recipe:

Orange Hazelnut Cold Brew Coffee

1 Orange
2 cups packed coarse-ground Hazelnut Flavored coffee
2 Quarts filtered water

Zest half of the orange, and add to the hazelnut coffee inside of a coffee filter. Tie the filter shut with a piece of string. Add the water and let it sit at room temperature for 14 hours. Remove the filter with zest and coffee and filter cold brew if necessary. If the coffee is too strong, you can dilute it with more filtered water, but it’ll vary pending your tastes. You can store it in the fridge for up to a week.

I never would have thought to add orange to coffee, but a small little hipster coffee shop added espresso to orange juice once and I was in love. I’m obsessed with cold brew coffee and the next obvious step was infusion. You can add more or less zest to fit your tastes.

100 Days of Meditation Day 4: Weight of the World

I don’t know what happened to Day 3’s post, but I didn’t realize until this afternoon that it wasn’t showing up on the site, so I apologize. It’s up and posted now, and trust me, I did my meditation yesterday. I felt a sort of excitement when it got close to time for me to meditate (I’ve found around 7:30-9 is the best time for me to meditate. J is house sitting for his aunt and uncle for two weeks, so this will be a great kickstart to my practice, it’ll give me two weeks to establish it before I have to really, solidly, address it with him. It’s not that I don’t think he’d be okay with it, I just know he’ll think it’s stupid. I need to find a way to approach it so he understands how much it means to me. I figure if I have 2 weeks under my belt already I may have an enlightening thought or two to help back me up. Speaking of enlightenment…..

I’m not sure if it has anything to do with the meditation or the fact that J is out of the apartment, but I feel like I’m sleeping ten times better than usual. I’ve been going to sleep before 9 and don’t wake up before my alarm. Usually, I wake up at least once a night, or am up at like 3am and try to force myself to get more sleep before I need to be up at 4:30-4:45. Honestly, it’s probably a bit of both. On the one hand I really miss J when he’s not here, and I don’t have anyone next to me in bed, and on the other, I love not having to share a bed. Either way, I’m going to give at least some credit to the meditation, because the meditation deserves it.

Anyway, on to today’s session… I was searching the app store and found this app called OMG I can Meditate! and while I really do enjoy the wild mind guided meditation, I also want to try multiple different meditation guides through this challenge. This will help keep my interest up, and it’ll help me find the things I like and don’t like. The app has some stuff you have to pay for, but they also have a good number of free guided meditations, so I decided to just give it ago. Today I listened to Week 1; Day 1 and chose the 16 minute meditation. The thing that I really liked, and stuck out to me was there were 4 different length options so that I could choose between 12 and 18 minutes for my session. Since the wildmind meditation I’ve been using the past two days is 12 minutes I wanted to challenge myself to go a little bit longer.

There were a few things I noticed during this practice. First of all, my back wasn’t as tense and sore as it has been the past week or two. This is another combined effect between the meditation and J, I believe. He gave me a pretty great back rub yesterday when I told him it was bothering me, but I also know that meditation is great for all sorts of pain and health issues. Secondly, as I got in to the meditation I felt as if there was this pressure weighing me down. I mostly felt it in my arms and shoulders, and am not sure if it was supposed to insinuate the pressure I put on myself, or the weight of everything I carry and try to take responsibility of. In retrospect, it wasn’t really an uncomfortable weight, but it was definitely pressing and kept me slightly distracted.

Finally, I felt more alert today than I have since the beginning of this challenge. It seems as if each day I’m a little more alert than the last, so we will see where this trend leads. For the first time I kept finding myself wandering to different aspects and thoughts. Putting away dinner leftovers, things I needed to accomplish at work, the schedule I need to help write the next two weeks, etc. I definitely found myself trying to guide myself back to my breathing more than usual. I think this is why I enjoy guided meditations so much. When I’m listening to a voice in the background guiding me, it’s harder to find my mind wandering off because I’m focusing on my breath and the speaker. I’m sure I’ll be able to move away from the guided meditations as I get further in to the practice, but for now they’re exactly what I need.

You would think that 4 minutes wouldn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not that long of a period of time. I definitely noticed that towards the end of the meditation, I was starting to get antsy, and wondering when it would be over. I pushed myself through to the end, but it was definitely harder than the past three days. I’m going to try and aim to stay at the 16 minute mark for a few days and then push myself to go a little bit longer. If I can get up to maybe 30 minutes in the next couple of weeks I’d be really happy with that.

Another weird thought that kept coming up in my head as I meditated was, “If I’m focusing on my breathing how am I supposed to observe it? Isn’t becoming aware of my breath making me choose my breathing pattern?” It just kept swirling around and around in my head. It’s like if you start to think about blinking, you start to manually blink. Doesn’t the same apply to breathing? How do I observe my breath without disrupting my breathing pattern?

Honestly, sometimes I wonder where all my crazy random thoughts come from. Oh well… Until tomorrow.

Namaste