Friday, January 7, 2013
"The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development
of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others,
the greater is our own sense of well-being."
~~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama ~~
Posted by Anna at 1:42 PM
Friday, March 26, 2012
Jada's gift of time...
Jada gave me a gift this morning. Being a puppy, she rarely will come to me to sit still or to sleep; especially when I am at the computer. But today, she came and put her feet up on my lap, demanding attention. I picked her up. Usually she would wiggle and struggle, give me a few licks and jump down. Today, she snuggled in and closed her eyes. She was sleepy. So, relishing the moment, I caressed her soft fur and watched as her eyelids grew heavy and her breathing slowed. I thought about the things I needed to get done and briefly contemplated putting her down. But, then I thought of just taking this time, this quiet time, to cuddle my puppy and to sit quietly.
It is strange to find that it is hard to sit quietly. To just take the time to sit and pet the dog without doing anything. I make myself feel guilty all the time for not getting things done, for spending too much time on the computer, for sleeping in, for reading too much, for not getting all the things on my to-do list done. But, this was her gift to me, I thought as I held her. My eyes misted with tears of love and gratitude. I reached over and turned on the media player to listen to Alison Krauss and her hauntingly sweet voice.
As I listened to the words, and felt the soft fur and warmth of Jada, I felt an overwhelming feeling of sadness and loss; of broken dreams, of goals not reached, sadness for regrets, for the loss of a love that I had hoped would happen, for the lack of the ability to return the love that was given me, for the lost years of my life that I had drifted through.
Though Jada didn’t plan it, she has given me a gift of time; a space in-between all the chores and to-do lists; a space of time to sit and feel, to mourn the loss of much, and to grieve. Sometimes we need to take time to feel the loss, to move through it, in order to move on. Decisions can be difficult to make if you are not fully awake. The problems that I have had in my past with decision making have been because I was not awake. I am finding that the more awake I am, the more aware I am of the choices that I need to make and the right way to do it. This present-moment awareness is difficult stuff. Much easier it is, to walk through life on autopilot. To actually take the time to feel the present moment, in all its pain and sadness and loss, is hard to do.
Though the times have been few, these “spaces in-between” are like small windows into the reality of life. Of my life. I have often had moments of clarity where I have epiphanies, and I see what I need to do. But, then life is difficult and it is much easier to sleep walk, so I drift back into autopilot and months to years pass before I once again have a “moment”. I call these my “spaces in-between.”
So, I thank my puppy Jada. For giving me a moment; a moment to savor the soft warmth of her sleepiness; a moment to sit quietly and think; a moment to become aware of the need to grieve the loss of a dream of love ever after; the loss of a wish for a happy marriage; the loss of a need to feel love and to return love. It was not meant to be….. this time. Maybe someday it will be. To ignore the sadness of the loss is to not heal and I just need to get through it and learn from it.
Thank you, Jada.
Posted by Anna at 2:16 PM
Monday, March 15, 2011
Spring is Coming!! Spring is Coming!!
As I walk outside under a gray afternoon sky, I am astounded at the cacophony of different bird calls, squawks and whistles punctuated by the throaty quack of our pet ducks. The air holds the scent of promise and I breathe it in.
Our swamp is full now and the musical melody of frogs and other creatures comforts me as I walk around the yard. The damp piles of wet decaying leaves are now bereft of their blanket of white. The musty odor of sodden soil leaches out from the footprints I leave behind as I walk toward the backyard and the row of lilac bushes.
While still naked of their lush summer greenery, the lilacs are beginning to wake from their winter slumber. Tiny bumps of life are emerging from their limbs, crying out to me: Spring is Coming!! Spring is Coming!!
Posted by Anna at 4:37 PM
Monday, Jan 12, 2011
Energy and Awareness
I have been studying awareness lately. Learning how to connect with my self and listen to my inner dialog with my heart AND my head.. which can be difficult. In this world where life can seem to be something that just happens to you, and not something you have much control over, it is hard to imagine that you can "direct" and "steer" where you want your life to go. To take control of the energy that you have inside, and use higher awareness in your everyday encounters... seems like the stuff of fairy tales or "hippies". But there is science behind it, decades of research and hundreds upon hundreds of great intelligent minds, that have brought about the new age movement of finding inner peace and awareness.
We seem to loose touch with ourselves on a pretty regular basis. We loose that connection with our own "possibilities". Instead, we fall into a robot-like way of seeing and thinking and doing. In those moments, we break contact with what is deepest in ourselves and affords us perhaps our greatest opportunities for creativity, learning and growing. If we are not careful, those clouded moments can stretch out and become most of our lives.
We need to stop and "feel" the present moment, to hold it in awareness and thereby come to know it and understand it better. Instead, we often seem preoccupied with the past, with what has already happened, or with a future that hasn't happened yet. We look for someplace else to stand, where we hope things will be better, happier, more the way we want them to be, or the way they used to be. Most of the time, we are only partially aware of this inner tension, if we are aware of it at all. What is more frightening, is we are also only partially aware at best of what we are doing in and with our lives, and the effects that our actions and, more subtly, our thoughts have on our lives. Like in a dream state, we go though life just letting it happen to us and not directing it at all, unaware of the potential that lies within each and every one of us.
Not knowing that you are even is such a dream-state is what the Buddhists call "ignorance", or mindlessness. Being in touch with this "not-knowing" is called "mindfulness". The work of waking up from this dream-state is the work of meditation, the systematic cultivation of wakefulness, of present-moment awareness.
So... while I study Awareness and Energy and learn from great minds (such as Albert Einstein, Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, Thomas Merton, Joseph Campbell, Jon Gottman, and the list goes on) I will comment and reflect here, at A Place for a Woman. Feel free to add your own comments and reflections.
Posted by Anna at 1:36 PM
Thursday, January 15, 2010
I have a lifetime gym membership to a local gym... I decided to start going there on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning and my first visit was yesterday, a Wednesday. I can say... I was disappointed.
I had hoped to sign up for some individualized training sessions, seeing as I've been a member since 1989, but the service is not free. In fact, it is quite costly, at 49 dollars per session!! So, I decided to warm up on the treadmilll, then maybe do some light weight lifting and call it a day. Even though there were about 25 treadmills, none were vacant so I sat down on a bike to warm up while I waited for a vacancy. The seat was ripped and jagged, and set too low. I reached down to adjust it and found the knob was missing. So, I rode it the way it was. The lady beside me was chatty, though I tried not to respond without seeming rude. I joined a gym to exercise, not socialize, after all.
Finally, after about 10 minutes, a treadmill opens up, so I jump on. I walk for about 20 minutes... while I am walking I realize how very crowded it is on every machine. And it smells of old carpet and sweat. There are women standing around waiting for a turn on many of the weight machines. The isleways are crowded and even though music is playing, it is barely audible over the noise of machines, voices and the large tanning booths located right behind the treadmills. With not enough staff to service all the women here, it would be awhile before I would get any individual attention.
I decide that all this bother isn't really worth it and it will make it an undesirable trip to make three times a week, early in the morning. So I return to the dressing room, change, pack up, and leave. We have workout machines at home, with free weights and a treadmill. I also have some resistance bands that I purchased to get me started on weight training, so I won't hurt my joint ligaments.
So, I will just design my own workout, keep track of how many reps, etc, and how long I work out, and just do this at home. I can turn on my choice of music, there are no chatty neighbors to interupt my workout, and no stale carpet or sweat odors to put up with.
I begin my journey to physical fitness tomorrow! Wish me luck!
Posted by Anna at 12:10 PM