PURPOSEFUL MIND

“Our true nature is stillness, the source from which we come, the deep listening of pure contemplation is the path to stillness. All words disappear into it, and all creation awakens to the delight of just being”.

Fr. Thomas Keating

Stillness, it seems like such a simple word. Stillness, to sit still and just be, how hard can that be? As a Reiki Master and mindfulness and meditation teacher, I can assure you it is no simple feat. You can ask a person to talk about themselves and most will divulge their passions, their family history and their stories. Ask them to be silent and still with you for five minutes and watch the fidgeting, the facial expressions and the body language that tells you they would rather be anywhere but sitting still for five minutes. Why is that, I often wonder, why are we so uncomfortable to just be? Is it because we have to face our fears, our worries or our shadow self? The side of our personality that contains all the aspects of ourselves that we don’t want to admit to having.

Meditation is the one place that you can sit with your being and sort through so many of your issues. You don’t need anyone to tell you how to be with yourself or how to use your mind for your own purpose. You can use meditation to climb deep into your mind and face your shadow self and do so on your own terms. To understand your shadow is to give you a more purposeful mind and peaceful soul. Combined with counselling or therapy, meditation is a powerful source to reach a peace of mind and well being which can transform your daily life and help you lead a life with more purpose. To list just a few of the proven benefits of meditation: lower blood pressure, reduced anxiety, decrease pain, ease symptoms of depression and improved sleep.

When I first started meditating, I often felt worse after my meditation session because I would beat myself up about the fact that I couldn’t meditate without a cloud of thoughts and worry coming in and out of my mediation session. I came away frustrated and feeling like a failure at sitting doing nothing. Monkey mind gets to all of us. It is said that the average person has six thousand thoughts every day. Honestly, I think I have double that amount of thoughts in one day and those thoughts often take over my peace of mind while I am trying to sleep. Fear, worry and insecurities love to invade our conscious as we try to rest and recover from the day’s events.

My mother was a worrier and I use to say to her, “mom, all the worrying will not change the outcome.” I often think of that advice I gave her as I lie awake worrying about things that I can’t do anything about at that moment or even worse, about things that haven’t even happened. Frustrating as it’s a total waste of time and it seems when we are at the peak of those worries, meditation can be very difficult. However, through meditation you can change the language you use with yourself even during those sleepless nights where it seems like every fearful and insecure thought has robbed you of your sanity. By simply going to your breath and focusing on your breath you can feel your breathing getting softer and the tension leaving every fibre of your body until before you know it, somewhere in that darkness you are given a bit of light and you find your peace to go to sleep.

There are many types of medications you can take to numb the mind and the body to help you sleep, but using your own mind through meditation gives you a greater sense of freedom and strengthens your resolve to master your mind for a more purposeful sense of being. Meditation is like sleeping as we often take sleep for granted, yet the more we sleep the better we feel and meditation is the same. I often feel I don’t have time to meditate but I’ve learned that I can stop and meditate anywhere just by slowing down my breath and focusing on my being. I try to meditate for at least twenty minutes each morning and night. The first time I tried to meditate for twenty minutes, I felt like it took forever, now I find before I know it the twenty minutes are up and often go back to meditating for at least another ten minutes.

I practice spiritual, focus, progressive relaxation, mantra and visualization meditation. My favourite time is to meditate is in the morning, especially if my mind is well rested. First thing in the morning everything is anew and you don’t have an entire day of thoughts sitting on your brain. It’s during this time that my senses and mind are clear, more focused and images, visions and thoughts just seem to come to me out of the blue.

The other morning as I was using my mind to scan and relax every part of my body by imagining a source of white light shining through every part of my body and being when suddenly I envisioned the back of an indigenous man on a horse. He was riding bareback and the man’s long dark hair was flowing in the wind in tune with the horse’s mane as they rode as one. I wasn’t riding on the back of the horse with him but I was part of the scene as if I had jumped through the screen of a tv and was experiencing the moment, but I wasn’t really there. It was a surreal experience as I was aware of every muscle in the man’s back as he and his horse were riding furiously through a meadow of wildflowers and I was in awe of the colours and as I looked ahead, the sky seemed to be a sea of never ending blue and white as the wisp of clouds went sailing by.

At the moment I was not asleep, nor was I dreaming, I was given a vision and within that vision I was aware of just being. The man on the horse was completely one with the horse, the meadow, the sky, the clouds and the valley and it was then that I realized the importance of that vision. We are one with the universe and with each other, yet we look to distractions to take us away from our purpose; gossip, judgment, politics, unhappiness, sadness, dissatisfaction. Yet, that moment spent with the indigenous man riding bareback on the horse through the brilliant meadow into the unending sky where man, beast and earth was one, was the most astonishing moment I’ve ever known.

You may be saying to yourself “but the moment wasn’t real” and this is true but until you experience meditation in it’s full form, you will understand when I tell you that the moment was as real as if I was riding on the back of that horse. That day I made it a point to notice my breath, to notice my movement as I walked, to notice the trees and the sky as I drove to work. Usually, the trees are all but a blur as I drive by to get to my destination. That day not only did I notice the trees but I noticed the birds that inhabited those trees. So many birds filled those trees and I noticed one tree was full of crows and the next tree was full of smaller birds and few blocks down I noticed a barn where there was a crowd of seagulls sitting on the barn’s roof gazing toward the sky as the day was opening allowing the light to flow; our source of energy, our source of being, showing us how to just be and let the day unfold.

If it hadn’t been for my few seconds with the man riding the horse through the beautiful meadow into the unending sky, the trees would have all blended into the background. I would have rushed to work to spend the day in a mist as I pushed through the work like a robot on a methodical rhythm as if numb to my inner thoughts and sense of space. Riding as one through this life can give us purpose in our everyday lives and meditation can take us there, we just have to give it time and space. “Purpose is that sense that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, that we are needed, that we have something better ahead to work for. Purpose is what creates true happiness”. Mark Zuckerberg

Johanne Fraser

THE BEAST

as the beast moves through the streets,

people stare in astonishment,

the beast moves in and out,

as his energy takes him everywhere,

some stop, some stare, but most move to

the other side,

as fear grips them from their chest to their head,

and their legs quickly move them in another

direction,

the beast keeps his head down,

 scanning with his black eyes from one side

to the other,

not missing a moment nor a movement,

the beast knows and feels their fear,

makes him move with caution,

in a calm and quiet manner,

as he continues down the street,

a little girl sees the beast,

and squeals in joyful delight,

as she opens her arms and

runs to embrace him,

panic erupts as her parents scream and try

to stop her,

but the little girl sees through the beast,

and with quick movement,

she opens her arms,

and gives him a loving hug,

the beast snuggles warmly into her being,

and turns his head to lick her neck,

which sends her into an eruption of

giggles,

bringing tranquility and a sense of

calm to the one they call

the beast.

Johanne Fraser

 

THE ENLIGHTENED ONES

rocks and shells

an exterior like armour

hard as a rock

protecting the delicate shell

that lies within

closed to the ones

who

can’t see beyond the shadows

of doubt

and the lies of the masses

leaving the armour

to

stop the shell from cracking

only to surface

to

the enlightened ones.

johanne fraser

 

 

SEA OF LAVENDER – FRIDAY’S PHLOG FOR OCTOBER 16, 2015

field of lavender

driving through the mountains,

I spotted this sea of lavender,

rolling through miles and miles of

dry grass and barren hills,

this sea of lavender,

filled me with inspiration,

breathing in his mighty works,

a gift from our creator,

filling me with his loving presence,

giving me strength,

to fulfill my destiny.

momwhearingloss

QUENCHING THE THIRST- FRIDAY’S PHLOG FOR AUGUST 28TH, 2015

rushing water

This past summer I spent several weeks camping and hiking through the woods with a dog named Kaos.  I desperately crave the time and space of walking in silence with nature as I quench my thirst for peace and tranquility.  Trees and water satisfy my thirst and this particular morning as we trekked through the woods we came across this mini waterfall.  As I crouched down to get this picture the spray of the water felt cool on my skin.  It was a tough picture to take because I had to hold Kaos back with one hand while taking the picture.  No sooner had I taken the picture, Kaos leaped through the air and ran through the water like an innocent child quenching his thirst for purity and playfulness.

UNCOMPLICATED – FRIDAY’S PHLOG FOR JANUARY 23, 2015

 

boat dream

“Sitting in a rowboat,

paddling around the lake,

looking for a good fishing spot,

life suddenly becomes uncomplicated,

makes me wonder why I don’t sit in a boat more often.”

momwhearingloss

 

 

 

 

 

SIMPLE GARDEN – FRIDAY’S PHLOG FOR JULY 4, 2014

simple garden

A couple of weeks ago while camping, I got up early to go for a walk and spend a little time by myself.   I grabbed the camera and headed out of the trailer and started walking in any direction my heart desired.  Found myself going across a mini bridge and before my eyes was this single wild rose resting on the banister.  As I was taking the picture I thought about my garden,  how I don’t really have the time for it and I try to simplify by planting perennial plants as much as possible.  There is some planning involved in  painting a garden but as I walked across the bridge I realized that I try too hard, you can’t beat the beautiful canvas created by nature’s very own brush.

FINDING YOUR SOUL – FRIDAY’S PHLOG FOR MARCH 1, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Today is the day I walk through the woods

to find a wooden walkway,

as I cross the path

I imagine my life behind me,

forward I move and

focus on my steps and breath,

 slowly my soul emerges

as I breathe in the pure air

look up to see the beautiful sky and

the magnificent and wonderous trees,

I begin to let go of the strains of life

and feel God’s love within me,

this is who he wants me to be

at peace and at one with the world

around me,

At this moment I ask God

to give me the strength to carry

this peace and tranquility

into my everyday life,

to remind me that no matter

what storm my life is churning

it is he who sees me.

momwhearingloss

TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Christmas.   Christmas to me is a celebration, a celebration of life and new beginnings.  Celebration of Jesus’ birth, sharing his  love for us to one another and let’s not forget peace on earth.  I love giving gifts, especially to see a child’s face light up upon receiving a gift they’ve been waiting for.  I love hanging around the house with my family watching Christmas movies, new ones and oldies.  This is why it’s hard for me to admit that at times I can hardly wait until Christmas is over.  I hate consumerism, hate shopping malls, hate waiting in lineups to see fake Santa (thankfully I don’t do this anymore), hate when people run me over with buggies while I’m shopping and don’t even bother to apologize.  I have this peaceful, lovely Christmas in my head and then I get out of my house into reality and everything annoys me.   I try not to spend too much time in the shopping malls, I write everything I need and fast speed through the stores and get everything in one day.

Christmas can be stressful on relationships as well, especially relationships amongst family members where things are strained to begin with, then add Christmas and the expectations of Christmas – one big headache.  We have experienced this situation in our family.  Family members that we don’t really see all year and when we do see them the situation is definitely strained.   I’m not sure what went wrong but it’s one of those situations where it’s pretty obvious that things have taken a downer;  nothing has really happened, no fight, no exchange of words but the whole relationship is one of forcefulness when we get together.  I have many theories and if  I could say it in one word it would be –  alienation!   Now let’s throw Christmas at this relationship and we’re getting together to exchange gifts and being, I’ll say it, very phony.  Pretty much Christmas day was the only day we saw these family members and every year the visit got shorter and shorter.  I drew the line to the big happy party the year that the guests’ coats didn’t even come off during our annual visit and someone kept looking at their watch and declaring “we have to go,” took their gifts and went.  The visit lasted all of twenty minutes.   After they left my husband and I got into a fight because quite frankly we were both upset, I was upset about the insulting behavior and he didn’t know what to say.  I had plenty to say and wanted to hear him say the same thing,  which led to a fight  -tis the season to be jolly, fa la, la,la,la,la,la,la…   The next year I told my husband that I simply could not do the whole  happy family scene anymore and that we had to put a stop to the madness.  He was  a little stressed and said “how am I supposed to handle this one?”  Neither one of us want the door closed to these family members and I suggested that he  tell them that they are more than welcome to come by for the annual Christmas visit, but it seemed silly to exchange gifts as we don’t see each other all year.   This is what he did and last year our annual Christmas visit didn’t happen.  Even though this is a frustrating situation we are thankful and blessed  to have  friends  and family that we spend time with throughout the year and when we visit at Christmas, it’s more than a 20 minute visit.  I really think everyone has to work at getting rid of tensions from their lives, not only at Christmas, but throughout the year.   I know I’m not the only one who has a crazy Christmas family story – I think most people have similar stories.  The fact is life is too short and if someone doesn’t appreciate you or doesn’t like you for whatever reason, you’ve tried to rectify the relationship and it’s not working, get out of the situation, move on, even if it’s Christmas, don’t settle for less just because it’s Christmas.  You never have to accept rudeness in any relationship.   Christmas is a time for happiness, celebration, peace and tranquility.  Keep it that way and spend the time with people who truly enrich your life and while you’re at it – keep away from those crazy malls.

I’ll leave you with a few pics around the house decorated for Christmas.  I like very simple decorations at Christmas, my husband likes lots of decorations so we compromise – he decorates at Halloween and I take Christmas – it works – he can go overboard at Halloween with all his ghosts and goblins and I can go subtle at Christmas with my angels, nativity and Santa.  Enjoy the coming days, may there be peace and tranquility in your house and hearts this Christmas.

2012 Planner – The First 30 Day Challenge : Crystal Wilkerson

For anyone who wants to add more balance in their lives and needs reminders to do so – this is the planner for you – plus part of your money goes to a worthy cause. Can’t beat that!

2012 Planner – The First 30 Day Challenge : Crystal Wilkerson.

COULD I BE A HERMIT?

At 8:30 pm the kids were in bed, my husband was napping before his midnight shift and I found myself alone  – the kitchen was clean – time for me  – I fixed myself a snack:

I turned on the tv and this is what I watched:

No sound except the crackling of the fire.  A cup of sleepy time tea, a piece of pomegranate fruit –   a little piece of heaven.  All is quiet, no bosses to deal with, no co-workers, children are quietly asleep, husband is most likely snoring and it’s just me – my fire, my tea and my pomegranate.  I swear I feel the heat from the fire and I think I have an understanding why some people choose to be hermits!  Unfortunately, the couch I am sitting on is along the wall that is adjoined to the laundry room and I can feel the vibrations of my washing machine completing it’s last spin, just waiting for me to move the clothing to the dryer – damn machines!

QUIET AHHHH!

Last week I finally got my new hearing aids.  My old ones broke and since they were 9 years old I figured it was time to replace them.  I have sensorineural hearing loss which is nerve damage in the inner ear – both ears.  I started to wear hearing aids at the age of 19 but I should of worn hearing aids through high school.  It’s a wonder I made it through school with the amount of hearing loss that I had at that time.  In the last 10 years my hearing has deteriorated and I’ve been told that one day I could wake up and not hear a thing!  I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about that day, as I enjoy life as is right now.  I bought my last pair of hearing aids right at the time that digital hearing aids were all the new rage.  I had an extremely difficult time adjusting.   Everything sounded so much more precise and crisp to me.  It drove me a little batty so I had the hearing aid specialist program the aids so sounds were a little softer, so I didn’t hear quite as much but hopefully heard all the important things.  Hearing aids typically last 5 – 10 years.  As you can imagine in 5 – 10 years the difference in hearing aid technology is astronomical.  When I got to work with my new hearing aids I could hear every hum and rattle of the place.  After a day of listening to things that you don’t really need to hear, I found relief when I got home by removing my hearing aids –   put my head back and ahhh quiet.  Closed my eyes and just relished in the quiet – couldn’t hear any humming, couldn’t hear the kids, couldn’t hear the tv – just me and quiet!  It’s nice to slip out of reality every now and then and just go to my own world of quiet, where I can pick and choose when I want to hear.  I’m sure most people at time want to have the same experience and they can with ear plugs – just try it and you will find yourself going ahhhh quiet!