Listening to Jazz (Today’s Simple Pleasure)

I am working so much more than I normally would right now and needed background noise that wasn’t distracting or too relaxing. I found a jazz station that fit the bill perfectly. Listening to it helped keep my focus and energy at a level where I was calm as well as engaged. I was very productive! It also made me think of happier times at coffee shops and jazz festivals. What’s help you stay motivated today?

Finding Calm in the Whirlwind (Today’s Moment of Gratitude)

Well, my life turned upside down in the last 24 hours. My job is moving online for two months, a situation which requires a tremendous amount of planning and action all at once. I have over a hundred students depending on me to get it right, so no pressure!

I feel empowered rather than defeated, as I can finally channel my excessive energy into something productive. At the same time, the human element is what scares me in terms of having to navigate competing interests and balance my time. The potential implications for a total lockdown of my area is creeping into my consciousness as well.

As I was thinking of all of this, I ran into a neighbor (from a safe distance!) that I haven’t seen in a while. She offered to help me if I get sick. Having someone who lives so close offer this meant the world to me; I really needed to know that I’m not alone. Again and again, I keep coming to the truth that, as long as I feel connected to a community, my personality and inner world is created for a time like this. I feel galvanized to a degree I thought I’d lost. What’s been your moment of peace today?

Energy Balancing Body Scan (Today’s Daily Presence)

Today I am feeling highly energized with nowhere to direct my anxieties. It is raining out so my daily run isn’t going to happen, but I needed a way to better balance what I’m feeling as well as to reconnect with my sense of my body. I brought myself into present moment awareness with a visual and breathing-centered meditation.

The meditation practice in which I engaged has a relationship with a Tibetan Buddhist practice I learned several years ago, but I have unfortunately lost my knowledge of its name and origins in the time since. If you know what I’m referencing, please let me know in the comments!

I started by imagining my body’s stale, negative energy gathering in the form of grey smoke in my fingers, toes and edges of my head. As I took deep breaths, I saw it moving towards the center of my body, and, in breathing out a deep breath through my mouth, saw it release and float away. I repeated this process, noticing and concentrating on areas of my body which felt compressed, tight or stuck. I imagined a negative pressure developing, drawing out the trapped energy to itself where it could be exhaled. I saw my body lengthening and loosening as this occurred.

I then moved into a state of reception, where I breathed in clear, healing energy and transmitted it from the core of my body down my torso, into my fingers and toes. It also coursed from my neck into the reaches of my head and ears. As I inhaled, the energy woke up areas that felt tired, warming those that needed to be warmed, and cooling those that felt inflamed.

I then engaged in stretching exercises to further open and release as well as soothe and calm my body. There was more of a sense of a need to balance than I have had in the past. With being on T, I finally feel that I have enough energy, which is a totally new experience to me. Determining how to keep it flowing without spilling over is still a series of trial and error.

If you try the meditation, what was your experience with it? Is it easier to send out spent energy or to draw in renewed energy? How does your body balance?

Taking a Nap (Today’s Simple Pleasure)

I’m not a napper, but I might become one! I generally sleep or at least lay in my bed for at least eight hours a night, so naps aren’t necessarily something I need in order to make it through the day. However, as of late, since starting T, I’ve been battling bouts of insomnia wherein I am unable to fall asleep for several hours. In addition, as I age, I think mid-day rests might renew my energy and stamina.

For today’s simple pleasure, I lit several candles and cuddled with my dog in bed for about fifteen minutes. Initially, I found my mind wandering quite a bit but was eventually able to enjoy the warmth and softness of the ambiance I’d created as I drifted in and out of light sleep. Short naps have been shown to increase a person’s ability to focus and feel re-energized, so I plan to integrate them into my self-care “toolkit.” What are your thoughts and experiences with napping as a simple pleasure?