January 14, 2010

Om Namah Shivaya

I LOVE meditation.  Who knew?  My heart was so ready, so open, I'm not surprised that something beautiful rushed in when I began.  I wish I could explain every moment, every breath, every thought I had to lasso and the love that took its place.  Do you know I actually laughed out loud the first time I tried to chant (day 5)?  What a picture that must have been:  sitting on my yoga brick, spine straight, middle finger to thumb, quiet breath... "Ooommm. Namah Shivaya."  What?  But it didn't take long.  At first I struggled with when to breathe and when to speak, and when to pause. But after several minutes my breathing regulated and it became more natural.  And when I stopped chanting and let stillness and breathing take its place, I felt different than when I had begun.  Heightened, certain, present.

I think the biggest change has been my spirit of gratitude.  God's name has been on my lips, on my mind, on my heart ever since I began meditating, and when that is true, gratitude can't help but spill over.    When I see the sun rise, I am totally aware of the precious gift of this day. When I turn the heat on in my car I offer thanks for my husband's job that helps pay for a reliable car.  When I look at my children I see light and life and possibility instead of noise, and tasks, and responsibility.  When I hear my husband's breath while he sleeps, I relax into the truth that God has given me my beloved.  Gratitude is spilling over.

photo:  This is a bracelet I made to remind me of my first, peaceful Sanskrit mantra. I'll explain the words in a later post.

January 8, 2010


New Year's Resolution #1: to breathe

It might sound like I set the bar way too low this year, but "breathe" is really just a shorter way of saying "find and maintain a spiritual center that is impenetrable by noise, chaos, pain, emotion, and anything else that moves me from a place of grace". This is the year I'm going to try to make meditation part of my daily life. I've been wanting to do this ever since I read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert a few years ago.

I'm struggling with whether or not to document my journey here. It's possible some of you have considered trying (or are in the midst of practicing) meditation and would find my public failure at it very comforting. I'd really like to offer you that. In all seriousness, I have already experienced a beautiful first few days and I am almost giddy at the possibilities meditation may hold for me. I am not a stressed-out person. I don't immerse myself in tasks and relationships that run me ragged. But I am very influenced by auditory clutter (an alternative definition for "family"), and I spend way too much time talking to God and too little time listening. So... meditate it is. By the way, that also means I'm going to have to learn Sanskrit.

Luminary -- I made the luminary pictured above out of Arches Aquarelle watercolor paper, Sumi ink and Dr. Martin's Hydrus watercolors. I cut the painting into four pieces and used a blanket stitch with embroidery thread to connect them. It surrounds a glass-enclosed votive at the center of our dinner table. If I breathe more, will I eat less?