All posts tagged: meditation

There are simply no words for me in these times

Greetings from the Australian rainforest, where birds sing soggy songs after so much rain. The sun is elbowing clouds aside as best it can, and I am grateful to see the small holes of blue coming and going. Today is my dear dead Dad’s birthday, and I’m staying quietly at home. Normally, as my honouring ritual, I oil his antique French furniture; this year, there’s too much mould trying to get a grip, so I’m refusing to feed the spores with expensive linseed and orange blossom. Today is also the monthly Women’s Dharma Day meditation meeting, and I needed it so much. More than I knew. As I wrote last time, I’ve been volunteering daily with Resilient Lismore, a Facebook group formed to help my nearby beloved Lismore (and surrounds) deal with flood recovery. It started in 2017, as a response to the Cyclone Debbie flood, with 3000 members. Now we’ve had 2 catastrophic floods a month apart, including landslides and massive devastation, so subsequently have almost 30,000 members. I’m one of the team of …

Meditation? Seven days on, seven days off

One of my last posts invited Readers to join me using the Insight Timer app to meditate daily. Or to share your own personal meditation/quiet-solo-time practices. *sigh I was so inspired by myself and my post, I checked in to the app every day, and religiously sat to meditate. Until I didn’t. Then a week went by, and I still didn’t. Now it’s been two weeks, and I’m continuing to not sit. *sigh One of my three New Year’s eve intentions was to not be self-critical; I do absolutely love myself, and all my flaws (not that there’s many haha), BUT I will still be quick to criticise myself sometimes- like most of us, I’m guessing. So I’m trying to resist feeling disappointed with my lack of meditation discipline, and admit that I’ve been on holidays/had visitors/been housesitting etc. *sigh Still, it’s not THAT hard to find five or ten minutes to sit quietly is it G? Is it sabotage? Am I truly just a lazy person? Do I have no self-discipline? *sigh How easy …

So grateful to be locking down here in the rainforest for COVID-19

Who wants to join me in a meditative new resolution?

Like all of us, I’m glad to have made it unscathed to the end of this year. Surrounding me have been lockdowns, high tensions about vaccination rates (we called it the ‘strollout’ at first here in Australia), and now the surging stress of Omicron. *sigh I am utterly blessed and grateful to live where I do, with my trees, birds, and nearby creek. My latest New Year’s Eve plans have all been shelved, with Covid cases soaring both locally and nationally, and a party in my pyjamas and living room is more appealing by the day. (Or an early night. I could handle an early night.) But today, I came across a blogging recommendation for the Insight Timer app. Have you heard of it? At least three of my friends swear by it, and I’ve been meaning to check it out… So I downloaded it, and listened to my first 20-min talk sitting on the [pictured] verandah in the early sunshine, after several days of rain. It felt great. Then I started thinking about all …

It’s official: Buddhism teaches that your buddies are your blessing

Hello Everyone, from the lush rainforest in Australia, where once a month I sit in a circle of women studying meditation and Buddhism. This month was the last meeting for the year, and our wise crone leader Yoda Carol chose to reflect on friendship for her talk, or ‘Admirable Camaraderie’ as Buddha called it. She’s lived in the same intentional community hidden in the hills for nearly 50 years, having been one of the founding members. She’s travelled the world, facilitating conflict resolution for all kinds of humans, from big corporations down to divorcing families… so her wisdoms come from plenty of lived experience as well as her decades of Buddhist meditation and study. She asked us a simple question, which I’m going to ask you: “Do you always call, or are you always being called?” Buddha talked of cultivating friendships, to offer and receive full kinship, as one of the most effective paths to Loving Kindness. So when did you last reach out to someone, in these strange times of lockdowns, travel restrictions, and …

How a silent walk made me delete the Candy Crush app (Part One)

Admit it: do you have a game on your phone you love unwinding with? Scrabble with friends? Chess? Candy Crush? A few years ago- I can’t remember why- my son and I both downloaded Candy Crush, and became a little competitive. Of course, he streaked ahead in levels, then quickly bored of it and never played again. I stoically continued, and got myself slowly but surely up to Level 691. Then 2 months ago, I had to get a new phone… and somehow, all my apps froze as I transferred the old info, so I found myself back at the beginning of the Candy Crush map again. What’s all this got to do with a silent walk you wonder? Well, last month I had the privilege of going on a 9-day Yatra, which is a Buddhist-based bushwalking adventure, filled with daily meditations, talks on Buddhist philosophies and practices, plus walks and meals in ‘noble silence’. 30 of us (mainly aged over 50) travelled to the South Coast of Sydney, which had been ravaged by bushfires …

Bustin’ through a break-up with some badass Buddhism, Part One

Three weeks in, and how am I going you wonder? I’m doing OK actually. Definitely avoiding going out, and ringing old friends for long chats and debriefs, trying not to say the same things over and over. I’ve had two therapy sessions, done a bunch of journalling, and surprised myself two weekends ago by ‘getting onto the cushion’ at my monthly meditation day. “The cushion”, G? What do you mean? Well, once a month (via Zoom at the moment), a group of 25-35 women go spend some time with Yoda Carol Perry, listening to her teachings on the Buddhist Dharma, and meditating several times during the day. It’s literally the highlight of my month; I’ve written about it before HERE. Even via Zoom- and sitting in my car last time because I had no wifi reception at home- the collective meditation experience is so much stronger than my solo sits. The structure online is 3 hours shorter, and we miss our gloriously chatty shared gourmet lunch, but in essence it’s the same: Welcome circle/check in, …

Want a ‘deep transformation of character’? Sit down & breathe

During the one hour ‘Blog Mentoring’ session I paid $250 for 3 years ago, I was told I had to find my ‘niche’, and write to it [with all the appropriate hashtags/images/Facebook groups aligned etc etc.] The ‘niche’ hunt continues. Last week I wrote about bushfires; 6 weeks ago it was a shortlisted Short Story, and next month it will be about a wilderness walk in Tasmania, similar to my Kakadu one (but hopefully without the drama). Would I be doing better with a timetable of topics, and a calendar? Maybe. Define ‘better’ though? I’m happy, I’m having fun, I feel connected and supported, I enjoy my blogging; there’s my┬ámotivation. And big credit has to go to my increased Meditation practice. It’s not daily [yet], but definitely at least three times a week. Plus one glorious Sunday a month, when I get to sit in a circle with amazing women from all walks of life, and meditate pretty much all day 9.30-3, except for a gloriously chatty lunch hour. Even the 30 minute morning tea …

Grappling with the spaciousness of uncertainty, by Yoda herself (Part 3)

Having finished our first 30 minute meditation from Part 2, and admitted any latecomers we’d locked out in a boundary-setting exercise in Part 1, the lesson began. ‘Uncertainty is one of the 3 main characteristics of human existence,’ Yoda Carol said, sitting her 70+ self on a floor cushion like the rest of us. ‘It’s difficult to endure, so we all cling to certainty. Yet clinging creates further suffering, doesn’t it?’ Well I know I’m clinging to my meditation aspirations as a way to calm anxiety, channel greater creativity, and nurture more peaceful personal relationships, that’s for sure. Is it not going to work? ‘We always want to make the “right decision”, weighing pros and cons, grasping for certainty. But we are just creating more attachment, and more eventual suffering.’ Damn. I thought my pros/cons list-making was a fabulous strategy. ‘There is more ease and wellbeing in letting go, so that we can focus on our actual needs in the situation as it unfolds in real time…’ Would that work for astronauts? Or brain surgeons? …

Can meditation help you set clearer boundaries? Perhaps (Part 2)

“Yes, this is good, let’s begin. Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat,” I say to myself. [Where am I? In a yurt on a Sunday with 20 other women, practicing setting boundaries and the discomfort of that in Part 1] I sit cross-legged on my cushion at my Women’s Dharma Meditation circle, while Yoda Carol guards the door and taps the bowl to begin the session. “I love meditating so much, I’m damn lucky to be here. I wonder how I’ll go today? Hopefully I’ll go deep… breathe in, breathe out. Repeat. Ooh, it feels so good already, how great to do it with so many other women… did any of them bring dessert for lunch, or just lots of salad? I’m glad I made my brownies, such a cool recipe, remember that week I made them 3 times for those birthday parties that was fun perhaps I’ll go to that party next weekend… WAIT! Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat. Welcome back Brain. Shit, it’s easy to stray isn’t it? I wonder how everyone else is …

Does setting boundaries make you uncomfortable? Good: you’re doing it right (Part 1)

Sunday was my Women’s Buddhist Meditation Day, and the group’s facilitator Yoda Carol began by shutting the door on any latecomers. ‘If you arrive late next time ladies, you will have to wait outside for 45 minutes while we finish our introductions and first Meditation circle,’ she cautioned. The group of 20 women shifted on their cushions, and glanced round the room, calculating who may be missing. ‘Oh, have I made you uncomfortable? It’s simply too disruptive to admit latecomers; we must each just plan to arrive on time.’ More rustling and looking. ‘We all have families, partners, children, pets, or jobs that may make us run late to Meditation, but that’s not the point. We close the door at 9.30am sharp, and that’s the boundary. I’m setting it, and happy to. If you’re uncomfortable with that, sit with it. Boundaries are not always easy, to set or receive, and especially for women. We are so trained to be ‘nice’, to be ‘good’, to not make a fuss or upset anyone… But boundaries are healthy, …