Archive for August 2013

Simple. Mindful.

9 August, 2013

For the past several months I have been practicing mindful meditation throughout my day. At first I would pick one or two activities or blocks of time to be directly in that very moment, whatever it was that I was doing. I could be eating alone or doing dishes or running errands or being with my son – it was all done while keeping the mind focused on what was happening that very moment.

Soon this was something that I did throughout my day, not just blocking time or activities but the whole day. At first, I was a bit hesitant in some moments, such as paying bills, for fear that the thoughts of the future or guilt over something past (did I save enough, why did I spend that much on that stupid thing?) would come to mind. I actually was late in paying bills because I wasn’t quite sure how to approach it…Once I decided that those thoughts were like any others within a meditation practice – they just pop in and then you regain your focus in the now and let them float away with no attachment.

After three plus months of practicing this and slowly integrating it into my every-day activities, I had a true test of being mindful during a week that Lido wasn’t in school and I was also not in school. I hadn’t planned anything for us for that week and I didn’t want to. I just wanted to wake up each morning and see where life took us. I wanted to just focus on the two of us and I really wanted to put mindfulness into practice every moment of our day.

What an amazing week and it couldn’t have come at a better time. It truly changed so much for the both of us. So much so that a little less than two weeks later, our cable box was dropped back off to the cable company and we have had limited TV and movies for the past two weeks. This has also started me on finishing projects that I have started as well as organizing the house in order to finish some of those projects. The house is beginning to really come together and I can pretty much walk into every room without tripping on something that needs to be put away.

With mindfulness has come simplification.

Mindfulness allows us to sift through things and take the time to put the cell phone down, turn the tv off and really open our eyes to what is happening right around us. We see so much more. To truly practice mindfulness is to recognize what is important in our life and to understand and let go of the unimportant things in life.

The most wonderful things I have seen is how my son is just full of love and warmth and happiness. He is such a kind and gentle soul. He is so much like his Dad when it comes to knowing what is on my mind before I know it…

I have seen him build cities and railroad tracks running over bridges. I have heard him playing make-believe and cuddling with his animals. I have seen him take our little cat in his arms and just gently hug her and talk to her and kiss her. Just last night, even though it was past his bedtime, we sat and played ‘vet’ for over an hour with his stuffed animals. He didn’t go to bed until 9pm…and if I hadn’t been mindful during our bedtime routine (not that we have much of a routine), I wouldn’t have taken part in this wonderful moment because I would not have seen how important it was to him. I would have been worrying about the future – I have to study, I have to do dishes, I have to, I have to, I have to.

Instead, this moment was all I needed to be within. The present.

I just had an instructor give me some feedback on one of my client sessions and within her comments she said “the ‘now’ is where creativity takes place. It is where we find our answers. It is where things start. We can not change the past, we can not know how the future will play out exactly. This is why we must remind ourselves to be in the ‘now'”.

Being mindful – I do not worry as much as I used to. I am simplifying our life in little ways and in big ways. The ‘chatter’ that comes with any type of meditation has slowly softened and as I am mindful, I am able to make decisions with a clearer head and also look at what I truly want in my life, what I want to do with my life and where I want to go with my life.

It is a truly wonderful moment when you understand how to live in the moment while moving forward.

I urge you to add this to your day and see the difference in your life. Take one activity – don’t start with being mindful with your kids or spouse – take an activity where you are mindful in something you are doing. As you are eating, washing the dishes, reading a book – be mindful. What are the sensations. What does the food taste like, what does the water feel like, what do the pages of the book sound like when you turn a page? Once you have done this, see how you feel…calmer? Relaxed? Ready to face the rest of the day? Then, start to slowly work on being mindful in conversations you are having – be present in that moment – really truly present. When was the last time you sat across from someone and really listened to them? Looked them in the eyes and got lost in the conversation? Try it. Try it with a friend. Try it with your spouse. Try it with your child.

It really is amazing.

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A week to, too, two…

8 August, 2013

Wow, yes I know. Another opening line in how it has been a really long time since I have posted on here! Its been a really long time since I’ve posted here.

Okay, now that that is out of the way…

Three and a half months ago, I happened to come across a website called OneFitWidow (www.onefitwidow.com). I believe I saw a link and info from a website of a life coach that I was checking out as I’m getting ready to launch my new business doing the same thing. 

Wow. Didn’t know it would be such a life changing thing! I’m sure you have heard the saying, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. This is exactly what happened.

Michelle, the founder and owner of One Fit Widow, lost her husband in an airplane crash two weeks after I lost Doug. At first, reading her path and her story – I felt like shite! I saw her all healthy and glowing and finding her Chapter 2…and we had been on this path essentially at the same time…and where was I? 

Then, I realized of how much I have done. I started a non-profit trying to assist helicopter pilots fulfill their dreams and help them financially (this has been a real tough one and it is morphing into additional things but they are taking time to establish). I have been through a major remodel to my home. I have been in the midst of a ‘potential’ lawsuit for the past three years. I have been raising a wonderful child. I have found my dream and passion, then decided it wasn’t much my dream and passion, then found it again and then enrolled in school and have been walking down a wonderful path since April. There have been some major shite moments over the past 3.5 years. Things that have sent me into a tailspin. I’ve found who my true friends are and have rekindled old friendships and have some amazing new ones. I have realized that my expectations, no matter if I still think I should be expecting a certain behavior, are probably not going to be realized by the majority of the people I am expecting them from. I can say I’m okay with that now. I have begun to realize what it is that is important in my life and I won’t let those things go. I have realized that I can move forward. 

The turning point. Well, I think putting this lawsuit to rest was the first step. I never realized until after it was thrown out, how much I felt that I couldn’t say, do, think or feel. Even though they tell you “move forward with your life”, that is just so hard to do when you are afraid that anything you do could be used against your case. It was also certainly hard to do because I was the lone man on the island. Reliving the crash, more questions raised, wondering what the hell happened. It has not been fun to say the very least.

So, after reminding myself of the things I had been through, I decided that it was high time to get back to “me”. I have been part of the One Fit Widow group for three months and am surrounded by amazing people (widowed and non-widowed) that inspire me, hold me up, remind me of the good and love me for exactly where I am today. 

Now, to this week.

It is week two of being home with Lido. It is week two of trying to fit class stuff in while also focused on simplifying life. It is week two of trying to fit it all in…and I was about ready to lose it. 

This week, after getting to the gym on Monday and promptly turning right back around because I just couldn’t focus on what I was doing with a child there asking questions every second…I decided I was going to forgo working out this week. I needed to get my bearings.

Working on simplifying our life as well as my practice of mindfulness meditation (and being mindful throughout the day), has taught me that sometimes, we need to take a step back in order to see what still “sticks”. What is truly important. From there, our priorities shift and we can manage our time better and be organized (I like being organized). This week has allowed me to see what is sticking. I’ve also been able to take the dry-cleaning in, that has been sitting in an ever-increasing pile on my floor for the past six months (it’s the little things). 

I’ve stayed 100% true to eating healthy and eating whole foods this week. I’ve also had to take a look at some of the food I was eating that wasn’t making me feel really great. I’ve liked having the time to do this and think things through without feeling rushed to get to the next thing. I’ve been able to be entirely focused on the things that are “sticking”….except getting to the gym. 

And believe me – that is one thing that is going to be sticking for the rest of my life.

For the past 3 nights, I have been averaging about five hours of sleep a night. I wake up and my legs feel like they need to take me on a 20 mile run or do thousands of squats. I have all of this anxiety in the muscle!! My head isn’t as clear and my meditations are not as focused. My mind is thinking of all of the bad things that could happen at any given moment… 

It is simply amazing what three months has done to me spiritually, mentally and physically, not only being a part of this group but with the work I am doing in school as well as the work I am doing personally. The last piece of the puzzle has truly been finding this group at One Fit Widow. 

As for this week of not hitting the gym – I’m okay with that. I know my “stickies” now and I also have had the time to get centered in other ways. I know how I can manage my time better because I have a better handle on things. Focusing on one thing will not mean another suffers. Balance.

I guess my entire point to this rambling is that it is certainly okay to take a moment to find our “stickies” because we end up being able to balance ourselves. My other point is that I am truly thankful for all of the beautiful people (widows and non-widows) that have come into my life and I am thankful for the three beautiful people that are the essence of One Fit Widow. 

So, take some time to find your “stickies”. 

I’m off to see how the vet office is shaping up in the laundry room…after all, I only have another week with him home and then off to school he goes…and I know I will be truly thankful for these weeks we have had, just the two of us.