Sunday, February 28, 2016

Week #6 - Getting grounded and dirty.

I'm reminded of an old lesson I thought I learned a few years ago about the joys of being unplugged.  This "no phone" thing has been the best experience!!  I set a goal while on vacation one time.. no phone at all. No texts or Facebook or anything... and it was so peaceful... and somewhat strange because I suddenly had so much time on my hands. Last week, I focused on being off the phone after 9 pm and I'm starting to really like it - I don't miss it at all.

Last week check in:
  • All morning routines consistent.  Often meditating 15 or 18 minutes if I have the extra time in the morning.
  • Breakfast a definite.
  • 9 pm no phone.  I didn't always make it exactly at 9 pm, but as soon as I realized it was after 9, phone goes on the charger.  This keeps it out of my face so I'm not tempted to compulsively check it.  I can't believe how unconscious it has gotten for me.. I'm always checking it, it's compulsive and I want to change - it needs to be a tool for business, not a time waster when I'm at home.
In the last week, by being off the phone, I've noticed I am easily able to get quality time with Ben every day.  As my world spins up with Falacos, it will be more important to be intentional about my time with my husband and make sure we connect every day on an intimate level, shutting out the world and making sure we are giving each other attention.  We are talking every night and having some wonderful conversations.

One night, the topic came up: What did we used to do at night before smart phones and Facebook?  Well, we used to drink and were a lot more social, going to bars and hanging out with friends.  We noticed that since we quit drinking in 2013, we've become home bodies and gotten more absorbed in our phones and less connected with each other when we're in the same room together.  It's been nice to snap to reality and realize there are better ways we could be spending our time.

I noticed in the last week I was getting to bed much closer to midnight because we were staying up talking and lost track of time. This created a new focus for this week!

New focus this week:
  • Set alarm at night for 11:15 so this will prompt me to go to bed. (Already seeing I need to readjust this because my phone is on charger beside bed and I haven't been hearing the alarm. Asking Ben to support me and set an alarm on his phone for 11:15 - his phone is usually beside him. I've got to get this habit of an earlier bedtime because when Falacos hits, I'll be needing to get up super early and I need to get enough sleep.)
  • Start focusing on rolling back my wind down time to 8 pm. If I'm still going strong at 8 pm, observe, how long have I been working today? I've likely done plenty and I should be in rest mode, winding down and ready for sleep. Starting to put phone on charger at 8 pm.
Anjali said something this week that really resonated with me... if I'm up and going by 8 am, it's totally ok to give myself permission to be done with my "work" for the day and winding down at 6 pm, focusing on dinner and my nightly self care routine. 

SHE IS SO RIGHT!! And that's the kicker - I have to give myself permission.

I'm addicted to doing stuff, feeling productive, there's so much to do in a day, surely if there is energy in me and stuff to be done, I can cram in one more thing... and that's not been working for me. It's time I took control of my self care schedule and start seeing my time at home as sacred, something to be cherished because it's important for my serenity.

This weekend, I focused on gardening. The weather was amazingly beautiful and Benny and I committed to working in the garden together.  We didn't have a garden at all last year and the backyard was overgrown with weeds.  Both days this weekend, we worked together, enjoyed some tunes and tackled a good chunk of our yard. It felt so good to be off the phone and have my hands in the dirt.  When we camped recently, I realized how much I missed the dirt... just feeling the earth on my skin... it does something magical to my spirit. It's peaceful and grounding and oh so relaxing for me.

Watched a documentary last night, Dirt! The Movie and I suddenly had a renewed respect for the ground that brings us life and the food we eat... I am so excited to be back in a garden again this year and I expect this will be part of my meditation each day - piddling in the garden each morning, pulling weeds and tending to our little spot on this pale blue dot.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Week #5 - Getting off my phone is a new thing.

I am loving this. Every week I'm seeing something new and it's so fascinating. Thank you Anjali, for encouraging me to do this and keep a record of it... this weekly exercise keeps me in constant reflection and staying open to the lessons happening all around me and within me. It's crazy wild, sometimes!

Check in from last week:
  • All the morning routines are consistent and going well. 10 minutes of meditation is starting to go by in a flash and one morning, I set my alarm for 8 more minutes because I had the time and wanted to keep going.
  • Breakfast everyday.
  • Bedtime before midnight also going well. Time to start rolling it back.
  • "No judgment" is a constant reflection. When I speak, am I adding to the conversation? Is it my ego wanting to interject an opinion? Does it matter or help the situation? When a conversation triggers any emotion inside of me, I notice the urge to want to say something. Why is that? No judgment, only observing. Interesting. Does what I want to say, do or change anything? What is my motive in wanting to say it? Hmm. 
And then I wonder about this here blog... lol... contradiction, much? Well, I guess it would depend on my motive. First, I'm writing this for me. I make it public because I hope it might inspire someone to go after their dreams and take action to shape their life into more of what they want... because anyone can do it. Anjali is helping me on my spiritual journey right now, becoming more in tune with myself and the world and I'm making the changes I want to see in my life. If any of you want to work with Anjali, I highly recommend you contact her for a consult. She is truly amazing.

Anjali Gadre
Inner Bliss Studio, Yoga and Wellness Studio

On our call this week, Anjali suggested we really focus on my night time routine and examine my whole "I seem to go to bed no earlier than 3 hours after I get home" thing.. if I'm home at 9, I'm in bed at midnight never before, sometimes later. 

Anjali explained to me the Ayurvedic clock, the idea of the three doshas - vata, kapha and pitta - and how they are the cycles of our day. Here's a great blog explaining how they work. This makes so much sense to me... and why I always have a second wind after 10 pm...and wanna eat. I'm back in pitta again. I want to get more in balance on this... cuz right now, I'm kinda outta whack.

The primary focus this week:
  • Off the phone completely from 9-10 pm. Don't touch it.
Friday was our call and admittedly, I totally spaced the new exercise Friday night. Almost forgot it again last night, but then something really kinda amazing happened that got my attention... I had a panic attack sitting on my couch.

Long story short, I caught a picture of the new sign going on my food truck - and I was ELATED!!! Extreme joy and excitement exploded inside of me and I was giddy as could be - the logo looked AMAZING! That sign is SO FINE!!!! I loved it so hard... and then I noticed something was off. A pepper was out of place. 

My intense joy, anticipation and excitement turned on me.  It suddenly slammed into a paralyzing fear and anxiousness - OH SHIT, I'VE GOT TO TELL HIM HIS BEAUTIFUL SIGN ISN'T QUITE RIGHT. Oh, nooooooooo. I couldn't breathe, my mind went fuzzy and I had this overwhelming fear and dread... so many thoughts all at once and it was all I could do to keep breathing. I knew I was going to have to say something and I was terrified... I didn't want to hurt his feelings. I didn't want it to cost anyone anymore money. OMG, how much would that cost to redo? Holy shit, I can't believe this, it's so amazing, and I have to tell him something is wrong with it. OH SHIT.  

Needless to say, I was in full panic mode. All the while, this voice in the back of my head kept saying "hey, this isn't the end of the world, just accept this right now and you'll feel better. yes you have to tell him. it will be ok"... and I focused on that voice. Accept this, Courtney, accept it. It is what it is. 

I picked up the phone to text him.. told him how much I loved the sign and eventually said "I hate to say this.. but..." and I explained what was up. Woooooooo let it goooooooooo, Courtney. Woooosaaaaaaaahhhhhhh. 

Zack said he will check it out on Monday and my worry instantly subsided... the voices started saying "hey, it could be an easy fix, think positive thoughts, let it go, let the professional handle it." Yes... I think I will.

I set that panic down and it switched off just as fast as it showed up. CRAZY. I think that was the most bizarre emotional roller coaster I've ever been on and the whole thing happened in about 10 minutes. I am fascinated by this... so much so, I busted out laughing when the fuzz went silent and it was all over... my mind is a powerful thing. Observing emotion is a new thing for me and it's pretty neato, I gotta say..

About this time, I realized it was 9:30 and I immediately told Ben about my new task. My hour of 'no phone' began. This exercise is in alignment with our new relationship vision, too (we are working to write out the whole thing - positive affirmations for our relationship and things we want to create) because one of the things on my list is "we spend quality time together, everyday." This hour of no phone would make the space for us to have that quality time. Benny supported me by staying off his phone, too.

We laughed at all the times during that hour we reached for our phones because we thought to text someone or wanted to check a message or look something up.

I also noticed in that hour how relaxed I became and thought "Anjali, you are so smart - you're getting me to wind down and get that electronic stimulation outta my face when I'm about to be entering pitta and it's time to go to sleep"... and it totally worked. That phone keeps my brain turned on, scrolling Facebook, watching videos, reading articles and blogs... wow. It keeps me up and into pitta and then I'm totally okay with being up until midnight. If I don't get off that phone, it's likely I'd never get to bed any earlier. Although last night, we stayed up and continued talking until midnight and was in bed by 12:30... on a Saturday night? That's a huge improvement. Usually, I'm in bed at 2 am on a Saturday night.

I will keep up the "no phone from 9-10 pm" and spend that hour with Benny.
Quality time.  It's what I want, so... I think I'll make that happen. :)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Week #4 - Breakfast is good, mmkay?

Winding down from a fantastic weekend of camping and friends and fellowship out at Sherwood Forest Faire in McDade, TX. It was our first time out there and we loved it!  Smaller than TRF and a lighter crowd, beautiful trees and slopes to the property... such a pretty spot. Highly recommend! PLUS, we got to see our son Jayce!! He is currently a squire with New Riders of the Golden Age and is training to be a jouster.  We are SO proud of him!!!

Update from last week:

  • Wake up times good, not oversleeping, wake up time varies depending on where I have to be in the morning
  • Warm water right when I wake up - check!
  • 10 minutes of meditation every day - yup, and lots more while camping
  • Bedtime... still getting into bed before midnight except on a couple nights I was up late packing.. but like Anjali pointed out on our weekly call - that's not a normal weekend, it was a new activity so I don't need to dwell on those late nights. The point is consistency when I have a routine schedule at home. 
  • Breakfast.  Well... I didn't have juice or oatmeal on any day. Didn't plan very well. LOL But I DID have breakfast every day! It was grabbing a GoMacro bar and a banana or having breakfast at a restaurant.. but that is a totally new behavior for me. I usually skip breakfast and have just coffee, which I know isn't good for my system.  What I noticed was my metabolism musta kicked in cuz I was starving by lunchtime. 

The meditation is really helping in the mornings. I'm starting my day calmly and not just jumping into the shower. I'm making sure I have enough time for my 10 minutes and still have plenty of time to get ready and out the door. This weekend I spent so much time looking into a fire and up at the clouds and watching leaves blow... it was a magical place and my mind has been so peaceful all weekend.  

This week I've started to notice the things I say that are a judgement or are an expression of my opinion... and a lot of times, if I'm agreeing with someone else on an opinion (which is just a nice way of saying "this is my judgment of this"), then I'm just judging right along with them... in a positive or negative way. SIMPLE things that most people probably wouldn't consider a judgment, but I do...

This traffic is ridiculous!
She should have known better.
Oh now, that's just WRONG.
It's really jacked up he did that to you.

Stuff like that. And when I think about it, what do phrases like that do?  How do they help or support another person? It's just my ego agreeing with you. My judgment about <insert blank> is in alignment with you. There, does your ego feel better?

The Buddha isn't someone who spoke with judgment. So often his answers were in code, some sort of riddle to be figured out.. and it makes sense - if he just gave out the answer, it would be his judgment of the situation and whatever he thinks. Rather than giving a straight answer, The Buddha would have folks complete a task until they realized the lesson/answer themselves. He didn't need to bring his ego into it - it was more helpful and a greater lesson to give someone the pathways to learn it... we learn best by doing, right? :)

If I stay aware and work to eliminate these types of statements, I'm seeing where I won't be saying much in some situations... I'll be listening. If I can't say something encouraging or loving, then I should work on silence and not engage and add to the drama... cuz that's basically what I'm doing every time I agree about how "wrong" something is. *sigh* It just IS. Some people might think I'm not making any sense - "What's wrong with agreeing with someone?" - and that's ok, I don't expect everyone to be able to follow me on some of these thoughts I'm having, but they make sense to me. 

I love comfortable silences. Had lots of em this weekend, too. One of my favorite things is to sit around a campfire and look at the stars and say nothing at all. 

Changing gears - In Falacos news, I just ordered compostable food packaging stuffs!! Keepin it GREEN, baby!

New activities for this coming week:
  • Continue with activities from last week, including breakfast of some kind every day.
  • New bedtime routine. I pointed out to Anjali that on nights I get home around 8:30-9, I'm in bed closer to midnight or a little after. The new practice this week is on nights I don't get home that late, I am heading TO bed at 11:30 and IN sheets before 12.  Working to make this new practice consistent. 
Hope your weekend was full of smiles and love. Happy Valentines, y'all!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Week #3 - I need more meditation time!

I'm really amazed by what all can happen in a week.  I'm glad I'm keeping track of these things in a weekly blog because it helps me see where I used to be and to celebrate my changes and successes, something I need more of in my life. :)

Check in from last week:
  • Bedtime at 11:30?  Not exactly... but what I DID realize is that before I started this work, I used to make my way towards bed anywhere from 11:50-12:20, finally getting IN bed around 12:20-1 am... while I may not be in bed at 11:30 exactly every night, I am getting IN bed before midnight, consistently.. and THAT is a new thing!!  That means I've actually rolled back my bedtime schedule about an hour, which is a big deal!  I am not beating myself up for not hitting 11:30 exactly but I am celebrating that I'm now consistently IN bed before midnight on week nights. That's awesome!
  • Sleep app continues! Using it to monitor my bedtime and wake up time to see how many hours of sleep I'm getting a night.
  • Wake up time of 6 or 7 also working well, will continue that!
  • 5 minute meditation... this went so well so quickly, after a couple days I decided 5 minutes wasn't nearly long enough.  It was over in a blip!  Set timer for another 5 minutes a couple of times. :)
Things were going well, and then something else interesting happened last week... I got angry.  Kinda a long story, details aren't important... but I told a friend I was angry. That's not something I do, usually.. But it was all I could think of to say.. Being honest about my emotions in that moment.  I could have avoided, not responded, hid my anger... But I didn't.

I am currently working Step 1 in Codependents Anonymous. One of the characteristics is "I have trouble identifying what I am feeling." I never thought I had a problem identifying what I felt, until that day.

I was spun up with thoughts and anxious.. Realized I was triggered (which led me down another path of reflection) and I felt the urge to say "I'm angry", so I did. I have always been so IN an emotion, I never step out to say "I am feeling this right now". When I did, it suddenly made it finite.

The interesting part is, later on, I was able to see where I kinda stepped out of the anger when I questioned what was triggered inside of me.. I became inquisitive to the source and observed my emotion like an ant farm... When I walked into my breakfast appointment right after this, I was able to set the anger emotion down like a glass of water.  For the first time ever, I felt anger, IDENTIFIED IT, then stepped beyond it all within about 10 minutes. 

I've had a whole lot of reflection after this happened and I found out why I was triggered. The circumstance reminded me of some past pain on a very subconscious level and I was judging the entire situation - and as a result, I was left feeling yucky on the inside. The way I felt was 100% in my control and it was all because of something that happened to me long ago. I didn't have to associate the 2 things - one was today and outside of me, the other was 10+ years ago and way in the past... but they connected somehow in my brain and flared up that deep feeling I used to have, as if it were yesterday.  That's CRAZY!! How do our brains do that? Truly fascinating, when I really observe it.

The other thing I took from this lesson was how emotion can REALLY influence my choices.  When I'm IN an emotion, the thoughts I think and the things I say are greatly impacted by the haze of that emotion, almost like I'm in an inebriated state, a cloud, a haze... When triggered and in pain, thoughts are dark and I want to shoot that pain out, sometimes not realizing who is on the receiving end of it. When I'm super happy and joyful, I let that emotion out too, not realizing who around me may be in the wake of my super happy fun time.  Either way, the people around me may not really want or appreciate my emotional cloud in their airspace. I know I have allowed other peoples' emotions to be imprinted on me and I pick up those energies and have matched those moods.  

I think I'm in a phase of life where I am aware of and choosing to not pick up other peoples' energies anymore. I'm also being very mindful of where and how I export my emotional energy. I'm seeing where emotional energies can have a positive or negative vibration and they cause internal drama.  The "bad" emotions make us feel bad and the "good" emotions make us feel really good... until they fade away or something "bad" happens to take them away and it's this constant cycle of feeling bad then good again... 

I'm ready to get off the merry go round. I'm ready to just BE. I'm ready to accept and be grateful for all that happens. The sun came up today, my eyes opened today, I have another opportunity to do something with this day.  What will I do?  I'm not really sure.. I have limitless options in front of me... one thing is for sure, though - I will practice gratitude all day to stay in the moment. And no judgment. :)

New actions for this week:
  • Maintain all activities from last week!
  • Increase morning meditation from 5 minutes to 10 minutes
  • On mornings I don't have to get up super early, have one form of breakfast all week - trying juicing or oatmeal for a week each, see if there is any difference in how I feel. Raw breakfast vs warm breakfast in winter months - which does my body like more? 
It's a beautiful day outside today... time for some sunshine! 

How will you make your day great today?