100 Days of Meditation Day 11 & 12: Getcha Head in the Game

The past two days have been rough, I have been really struggling to sit. Today I only made it through about 6 minutes of my session before I gave up in frustration. I really want to create a meditation habit, but I think I’m so frazzled with work that I can’t even seem to calm down enough to sit. Thankfully I have Sunday, Monday and Tuesday off of work to unpack and work on relaxing. That’s exactly what I intend to do. So I apologize I don’t have two days worth of thoughts to share, I’ve been barely able to keep still for five minutes.

100 Days of Meditation Day 10: head bobbing

I feel like I haven’t really had a break through day of yet. I feel like I’m just sitting in silence for 10-20 minutes at a time. Listening to the guided mediation. I haven’t really gotten to the point where I feel like I’ve made any sort of personal progress with anything.

That all being said. With all the chaos and turmoil I’ve been experiencing between work and the move and not having time to unpack and organize the apartment… Maybe some small daily silences aren’t such a bad thing. I have a nightly meditation to look forward to. At the close of my day I have time to sit down and just clear my head a little. Detach myself from the immediate crazy.

I guess you could say that while I don’t see any outward changes, there is a small inner peace that keeps me anchored in a sea of chaos. On top of that its a small bit of time that I’m completely unplugged and that’s definitely something I need to work on.

I don’t have a lot else on my mind tonight.

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