The Meditation Cushion

Meditation:  What are we doing

What is It we are doing, while we sit with our eyes closed, our rhythmic breathing coming and going quietly?

Our mind is running amuck, all of the thoughts are coming forward, begging for attention.  Look at me, I am significant, I can make you look smart, beautiful.  I am lonely, you are failing, not worthy, hide beneath the dark blanket of shame and all will be well.  Your shopping list for today includes………. Don’t forget to drop the kids off.  What a jerk, who does he think he is, treating me like a minion, I am not worthy.  I just want to disappear, let’s go shopping…. Never ending conversations with yourself, running your mind ragged with their interference.  Too much to focus on not enough mind.

sitting meditation

Our backs straight, shoulders relaxed, hands gently resting on our laps, right over left.  We are ignore the aches, pains and itches our bodies are giving us in retaliation to the unfamiliar stillness.  It wants to run, jump and play.  Move as it pleases.  We are keeping these impulses in check, they are there, we do not pay them any attention.  We remain still, they will disappear we will become oblivious to the wants of the body.

Take a slow deep breath, hold it for just a moment, let it go slowly, pay attention to the quiet it brings, breathe in, – slowly, hold for just a moment, breath out slowly.  Drop your shoulders, they are starting to tense, hold you back straight, breathe in —-hold —- out.   Relax, maintain the position.    Where did I leave my keys, did I finish that memo?  Your mind breaks in on the silence, driving your concentration away.

Your thoughts create your reality, but what of your emotions.  They bring you joy, pain, and fear.  Sadness overwhelms your happiness, Joy launches you to the sky and beyond.  Up and down, High and low, how the drama of your life comes and goes.

To retain your equilibrium repeat a single word over and over until it disappears and your emotions are filtered through it.   Buddho, Jesus, Allah, a word of prayer, or any word you wish.  A word which does not carry an emotion.  Table would work well, unless you stubbed your toe earlier in the day, then, the word table would be fraught with pain and anger.  Emotional words will only make it impossible for your mind to calm and relax. Unable to slip into the stillness that is a natural part of your makeup.

Your mind, the naughty two year old has gotten loose trying to run your thoughts again.  Like a toddler your mind needs a focus to keep it occupied, to overcome its’ wanton desire to be in charge, looking, touching everything and anything all the time forever.

As any good parent would, gently take your mind, focus all of its’ energy on one thing. The spot on your forehead between your eyebrows, the tip of your nose, your throat, your heart or your navel.  Select one, touch it with your finger if you need to feel the sensation of where this is.  Keep your attention focused on this point.  It is called the focal point. This is where the work begins.

Any irrepressible child will resist training, any discipline, wanting only to do as it wishes, when it wishes and how it wishes. When you catch your mind wandering back to the thoughts looping through each other, refocus its’ attention, gently, back onto this point, in the middle of your forehead, between your eyebrows.   Every time it wanders, bring your mind back, lovingly, gently, to this point without recrimination that you are failing.  You are not, you are learning, slowly, improving your willpower over the itinerant wanderings of the wild child, your mind.

You are learning to be in charge of your thoughts, increase the strength of your willpower.

By Cheryle L. Baker                              February 3  2015

1st Assignment Blogging U201 – Set Three Goals

The first assignment for blogging U 201 is to set 3 goals for my blog.   This assignment has me re-evaluating why I started to blog and what I  expect.

In the first assignment for Blogging U 101, I wrote I wanted accountability, a supportive environment and to develop a discipline to the “act of writing”.  To further explore and develop my meditation practice and to connect with people, who like me, wish to feel comfortable with themselves in order to live a happier life.

I realized re-reading my post, three goals were already created and spoken.  I just have to pull them out, set down their criteria and determine the measurement of success for each.

Discipline to Writing:  Many writers advise newbies to write every day.  Practice, practice and more practice.  Rewrite and Edit.   This would translate into:   regular posts, my readers anticipate and enjoy;  an accountable, consistent writing schedule.

I have registered to Blogging U 201 – Branding and Growth, Blogging 201 – Writing Poetry and the Photo Bloggers Challenge.  I also have a Feature “The Meditation Cushion” to which I want create a regular posting schedule.  The Blogging U assignments require daily posts.  Photo bloggers challenge is on a monthly posting schedule and The Meditation Cushion is on a post when I feel like it schedule.   I am not sure I can keep up the pace of daily posts beyond Blogging U and feel that a once a month post for each activity will keep me busy and happy.

I will re-evaluate this timeline three months after Blogging U has been completed.  If I determine I want to post more or less often at that time I will set a new schedule.

Further Explore and Develop my Meditation Practice.  Explore my abilities, increase my knowledge and experience, strengthen my instructors’ tool kit, and improve my voice as a virtual instructor.

To achieve this I would maintain a daily practice, read, experience and write about a variety of meditation techniques and philosophies. Post a monthly feature “The Meditation Cushion”

To Connect with People   The difficulty here is I have no idea how to get people to like me.  I did increase my twitter followers once by retweeting a news story about a woman who lifts weights with her vagina.  That is not the way I want to increase my blog statistics.

I believe being kind and honest with the people who like or follow me and who I follow,  is a good place to start.

I will continue my habit of looking at new blogs, commenting on posts I enjoy, engaging with my Blogging U colleagues and responding to those who stop by and like my posts.   I am now posting to the Facebook page “Lightwalkers Blog” and tweeting on Twitter. I will continue to update and retweet the tweets I find interesting or in case of the weightlifter lady controversial.

I will honour my goals by maintaining the posting schedule set out.

 Increase my Readership   Math is not something I understand or even pretend to be able to do, so suggesting I will increase my readership by 20 0r 30 % by the end of the month or year doesn’t make any concrete sense to me.

Currently, I have 71 followers gathered from Blogging U 101 alone.  I am embarking on 3 new endeavors’.  One which may have many of the same people I already follow and two in which I may encounter many new people.  My calculation works like this:  71 / 2 / 2 = approx. 17.

My goal is to increase my followers by 17 people over the next 30 days.

There, my goals are set down clearly and concisely, a new practice for me.  Over the next 4 months, I will see how I well I achieve them.

Blogging U 101 – Assignments 16, 17, 18 & 19 Combined

Blogging U 101 – Assignments 16, 17, 18 & 19 Combined

This week I have been a busy girl, I am so far behind in my assignments. On Monday I did my first delivery of bread from Cobbs Bakery to a local charity then enjoyed the first of two days of Lightwalking for the Calgary Operas’ presentation of The Marriage of Figaro.  Did you know they don’t actual sing Figaro, Figaro, Figaro as shown in the Bugs Bunny Cartoons?    Wednesday flew by with household chores, shopping, teaching, and catching up on emails, Twitter, and Facebook.  Thursday was a day of preparation for dinner & the Opera, one of the perks of Lightwalking.  Friday was set aside to complete the final preparations for drum making. The drums were made and hung to dry on Saturday while watching Space Cowboys.

I am combining all the missed assignments into one big post.  I hope it isn’t too huge or boring.

I completed the 16th Assignment “Plug into Social Media” before it was given. During the widget challenge one of the widgets I added to my sidebar was a connection my Twitter feed to WordPress.

The 17th Assignment directed us to add a new page.  I added 2 new pages, one a contact page, not that I am expecting anyone to actually contact me and the second page is a disclaimer page.  I borrowed the idea from Serins at  https://serinssphere.wordpress.com/disclaimer/.  Wahoo!  I have a 3 page blog.

The assignment I had the most difficulty with was the 18th Assignment – Try another blog event.  The purpose to expand our horizons, increase our opportunities for blogging and interact with another community, thereby gathering more friends or readers.

I looked at all the available options.  The photo challenges, the weekly challenges, the one word challenges, the poetry and the cooking events, none of the offerings resonated with me.  After wandering around the dozens of sites for a couple of day, reading the rules and criteria of each, I finally settled on the PBC.

Photo Blog Challenge            http://hoohaablog.com/?page_id=6568

I chose this challenge because it is a monthly event.   On the first of each month the event theme will be posted to which the participants will post 5 photos on their blog representing their interpretation of the theme.   I expect it won’t put too much pressure on me to produce an event post weekly, so it shouldn’t be overwhelmed.  In addition to encouraging me to take pictures of topics other than the mountain ash tree in my garden, I will enjoy interpreting the theme.  I will see how it progresses and what I create.  Here’s to the Photo Blog Challenge!

19th Assignment – Extend your Brand

Brand!  Wow having a Brand makes me feel like a product.   I guess that is what I am a writing product or a product of writing.  I now have a Blavatar.  It is the same photo that I used for my WordPress profile.  I figure if I am supposed to be consistent across the web I should maintain the profile I began with.  Here is the picture, let me know what you think.

I also created a page called Lightwalkers Blog attached to my regular Facebook page.  I tried to connect the two but haven’t seen any evidence that I completed the task correctly.  I will continue to try, but my mind is shutting down where technical tasks are considered.

20th Assignment – Create a Regular Feature

Before I registered for Blogging U 101, I wrote a post called the Meditation Cushion.  I will use this title as part of a regular feature for posts on thoughts, instruction and comments regarding meditation and how it can improve life and relieve stress.  I hope you will like what I post and try some of the suggestions.

21st Assignment – Last Weekend – Review your posts and Make Contact with your New Event Community.

I have enjoyed learning about blogging and especially enjoyed meeting many other bloggers.  I have even surprised myself with some of my new discoveries about myself.   It isn’t as scary as it appears, it is fun. I will visit my fellow Photo  Bloggers Challenge over the next month.

I recommend Blogging U 101 to anyone who is new to Blogging or who is struggling with or avoiding posting.  I have registered for Blogging U 201 and for the Blogging Writing – 201 Poetry sessions.

See you soon.

In love & light

Cheryle

Assignment #15 – Content Loves Design

The most recent assignment is to open up the “Customizer” and play with the design tools.  Well here goes.   I will once again post a old poem,  a Ghazal from  Feb 11/2006, edited March 10/06 and see what happens.  Please keep in mind this is an experiment.  I wouldn’t normally change the colour of each stanza.  It appears that Big Brother has limited customizer capabilities.

OK!  I tried it, it looked hideous so I removed the colours.  So far I haven’t come across anything that I really want enough to change the theme.  I am happy with the way it looks now and I will leave it this way.  No more fiddling around with the design.  OK…. I bow to the popular comments regarding the colours.  Here they are.

Fives Faces of the Muse

.

River flows swift, flashing cerulean hues

Carving channels deep.  Listen for the muse.

 .

Breeze gently whispers her name as the grass

Crowns nod. The capricious leap of the muse.

 .

Graciously Sun shares his benevolent light

where sleepy shadows creep.  Unveil the muse.

Earth embraces life – her arms grown from granite

A safe protective keep. Nourish the muse.

 .

Euterpe steals into my somnolent mind

seeking inspiration as I sleep.  Ah – the Muse.

 .

Cheryle Baker

The Liebster Award – Discover a New Blog

LIEBSTER AWARD

liebster-award-main

Wow!.  A. aka Mymischiefmanaged of My Lost Lexicon Blog https://mylostlexicon.wordpress.com/  nominated me for the Liebster Award.  Thank you.    Please pop in at take a look at her posts.  She has a welcoming voice and a flair for unique imagery.

The Liebster Award is awarded to new bloggers, those with less than 200 followers.  It is a way to encourage them to keep writing and posting to their blog.  It certainly worked for me.  I am so pumped to keep going, to improve my writing, to conquer the blogging world.  I cannot express how thankful I am to Mymischiefmanaged enough for the nomination.

I feel so encouraged.   I am glad I started Blogging University 101.  Everyone I have met has been very supportive and I am grateful for their comments and kindness.

The Liebster Award Rules for Nominees

  • Thank and link the person who nominated you.
  • Answer the questions given by the nominator.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers, who have less than 200 followers and link them.
  • Create 11 new questions for the nominees to answer.
  • Notify all nominees via social media/blogs.

Here are my response to Mymischiefmanaged’s Questions

  • Are you a morning person or a night Owl?

I am a night Owl, always have been always will be. I nap in the afternoon in order to get enough sleep.

  • What is the one thing you are incredibly bad at?

I cannot count.  I can administer a million dollar budget, but don’t expect me to go out onto a warehouse floor, count the number of pallets of pop produced that day and give you the correct number.  Even if I count the product four or five times, I will give you a different number every time.  I know it, I accept it and I no longer worry about it.

  • What is your favorite movie soundtrack?

The soundtrack to “The Keep” by Tangerine Dream.  I watch the movie almost yearly, just to listen to the music.

  • Describe yourself in three words.

Spiritual, Round, Creative

  • On a scale of 1-10, how adventurous are you?

Depends on the circumstances.  1-3 when it involves my work, 6-8 if I am out camping or rafting.

  • Where do you live? Do you like it?

I live in Calgary, Alberta – Canada.  I love it.  I’ve lived in many cities in Canada, one in Germany.  I  selected Calgary as my permanent home.

  • What is a piece of advice you would give to your future self?

Learn to listen to your inner voice earlier.  Don’t listen to others when they say you can’t or shouldn’t do something. You can and you should.

  • Are you more of a cat person or a dog person?

I am both.  Each touches my heart and soul in different ways.  The dogs in my life have shared their enthusiasm for everything with me.  The cats have taught me to love gentle solitude and independence.

  • What is your guilty pleasure?

A hot bubble bath in the middle of the afternoon and a good book.

  • What is your favorite color?

Green, the verdant green of the newly opened leaves of the spring.

  • Do you have any advice for me and/or other bloggers who are just starting?

Find a way to write everyday.  Connect with other writers who will encourage and support you.    For me this has meant registering for the Blogging 101 challenge.  I need the discipline and accountability offered by completing the daily assignments.    When all is said and done, I am hoping it will become a habit, one where I will write on my own daily, without the formalized schedule.

I NOMINATE THE FOLLOWING BLOGS

https://hirundine608.wordpress.com/        Needle at Sea Bottom

https://popnowlin.wordpress.com/            The Creek

https://simplyhaynes.wordpress.com/        Simply Haynes

https://eatliveescape.wordpress.com/         ELE

http://beanandbantam.com/                       Bean & Bantam

https://mrsmrobinson2014.wordpress.com/        MyMiaCreations

https://wisdomsquill.wordpress.com/                  Wisdom’s Quill

https://littleredstrings.wordpress.com/               [L]ittle Red Strings

https://blackgirlinsyracuse.wordpress.com/        Hello World

https://everythingpeculiarmaria.wordpress.com/          LiveLaughLove

http://wanderwomanblog.com/                            Wander Woman

MY 11 QUESTIONS

What always makes you laugh?

If you were a colour, what colour would you be?

Where is your favourite place?

How long have you been writing, blogging?

Who do you look up to?

What is your favourite and least favourite personality trait?

What is your most difficult experience?

What is your favourite word and why?

Who would you be if you were a person in history?

What do you look for in a post or a blog?

What has been the best piece of advice you have been given?

Enjoy writing and life with Love and Light

Cheryle

Assignment # 14 – Try Posting a New Style

 DEDICATION OF MERIT BEFORE MEDITATION

Pali Chant – Author Unknown

“May all living beings always live happily

Free from animosity

May all of us share in the blessings

That spring from the good I have done”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

“Subbe,  satta, sada, hontu

Avera, sukkah jivino

Katung, punyung palung maihung

Sabbe bhaki bhavuntute”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Pali Chant  translated to English & Thai   Courtesy of Willpower Institute Canada Meditation Centres

I set my format style to Quotes, but I don’t think it worked.  My preview looks exactly the same as my standard  normal style.

Anyway…   I thought I would share with you the chant I use before I meditate.  The purpose is to help set your mind to generosity and compassion.  It also helps to prepare the mind for meditation.  I believe it is a lovely sentiment encouraging peace and love for everyone.

13th Assignment – Blogging U 101 – Increase Your Commenting Confidence

Sometimes I don’t pay attention.  I think I am but when it comes down to actually doing what I am tasked with I don’t always have all the details retained in my brain.   One of the Blogging U 101 assignments asked that we personalize a prompt.  Seemed easy enough, except I didn’t remember to link my comments to the prompt I chose.  I can’t locate it now that I need it to complete today’s assignment.

I didn’t like the first prompt I came across on the Daily prompt of the day which suggested I take two protagonists from different stories and have them meet.  Characters are not something I have a clue about, I don’t know how to create them, relate to them or even how to make them relate to each other.  So..I skipped this prompt in favour of one I preferred.  Turn, Turn, Turn, explore your favourite and least favourite season.  That was easy.  I’ve already written a poem on my favourite season, spring.  I wrote a post about the season, posted it then proceeded to also post my poem.  Spring has come to my Garden.

Today’s assignments wants me to go back, read posts on the same topic written by other writers and leave a couple of comments.  Since I cannot locate the proper link I  went in search of a post upon which I could leave relevant comment that satisfies  the goal of the assignment:        https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/blogging-101-commenting-confidence/

  • Reading others’ takes on a topic you’ve tackled challenges your own thinking (and blogging).
  • It’s easier to enter a conversation when everyone has a shared experience, like responding to the same prompt.

I found a wonderful post by the Golflady reviewing the movie “Unbroken”.  I was lucky to be gifted a free pass to it’s preview in Calgary.  I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and thought it has so much to teach us about how important our attitude toward life is to how we survive and even if we survive. This link will take you to her review.   What We Can Learn from “Unbroken”  by the Golflady  https://jking20.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/what-we-can-learn-from-unbroken/.

With all the technical assignments, reading blogs and writing I am learning to manoeuver around WordPress.  An accomplishment for me.

Assignment 12 – Blogging U 101 – Create a better Blogroll

Assignment 12 – Blogging U 101 – Create a better Blog Roll

This assignment suggests that I share a few links that I love.  I believe I am a little ahead of the assignment as I already added the Blogs I Follow widget to my sidebar.  I was so confident that I had aced this assignment I almost forgot to write the post commenting on it. 

The blogs I follow belong to an interesting, visually stimulating group of wonderfully nice people who offer me insight into things I want to learn, cultivate and who generously share bits of their lives.  The widget places their pictures on the right side of my blog.   I hope visitors to my blog will drop in on their sites, find something appealing and follow them, thereby building up traffic and followers for the blogs I follow.

Twelve Habits of Happy, Healthy People Who Don’t Give a Shit About Your Inner Peace

A new take on living a healthy happy life.  Check out this link from:

I Am Begging My Mother Not To Read This Blog

and other tales from a twentysomething disaster

 

Twelve Habits of Happy, Healthy People Who Don’t Give a Shit About Your Inner Peace.

The Sound of Spring Has Come to My Garden

Blogging 101: Make a Prompt Personal   https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_assignment/blogging-101-personalized-prompts/

My first instinct when I read the 11th assignment was to just post this poem I wrote in 2006.  Instead of running and hiding behind these words I did write a post in response to the Daily Prompt

https://lightwalker1.wordpress.com/2015/01/18/assignment-11-make-a-prompt-personal-daily-post/

In addition to the assignment I decided I would also post the poem.   I hope you enjoy.

The Sound of Spring Has Come to My Garden

Listen,

Can you hear my garden grow?

I can.

It is not just a thought

my winter addled brain

has projected to confuse me

in the quiet, in the dark

hear the susurration of the spires

as they push, prod and propel

their way up from the depths

of earth’s frozen embrace

open your ears to the rustle

of the Bearded Iris

eavesdrop as the Tulips, red and yellow

thrust their way out

of the ground

the patter of the purple Crocus

reverberates as they pop and pierce

through winter’s debris

delight in the crack

snap and scratch of the blue

Silia as they shove

their way to sprout and swell

above the brittle leaves

the smell of decay is gone

my nostrils flare with the scent

of young verdant vitality

feel joy at their gain

the symphony is palpable

it resonates in my very spirit

tonight I can hear their fusillade

in the morning, I will witness their victory

Can you hear my garden grow?

I can

Listen…….

Cheryle Baker – 2006