30 Days New – Day 17

“30 Days New” – Day 17

What a difference a day makes!

After posting yesterday, I remembered to “be in the moment” about 85% of the times my hands touched water,  a huge improvement over my previous day’s attempts. My watery reverie felt wonderful and I quickly began to look forward to the moments.

bbq-500547_960_720We had dinner guests last night, so I spent a bit more time in the kitchen than normal. Washing my hands became a sweet break in the action while preparing dinner for five. Cleaning the peppers, onions and mushrooms for grilling and rinsing the kale and blueberries for a salad truly felt relaxing each time I allowed myself to be in the moment.

Day 17 Results Not only was I enjoying the sensation of the water cascading over my hands, I also began listening to the sound the water made while rushing from the tap. That awareness led me to notice the different sounds it made while adjusting its flow and when it splashed against the various fruits and veggies being rinsed in the strainer. Paying attention to the subtle differences became a satisfying experience.

The experience was similar to the moment in meditation when you focus on your breathing and you are suddenly aware of the sounds it makes and how your breath feels against your upper lip as you inhale and exhale. You quickly realize that the sensation and the sound of your breath had always been available to you, you were just too pre-occupied to notice. (Which, coincidently is now philosophically linked in my mind to the question, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound. My new philosophical quandary is “When I am breathing but not listening to my breath, does it still make a sound.”)

No matter the answer to either question, the rest of the world and all its demands and desires instantly fade away the moment we focus our attention on our state of being and the sensations we are feeling, which leaves us feeling alone and yet overflowing with our oneness with all things. It feels as good as the coziness of slipping into a warm bed on a cold night, enjoying the first satisfying sip of a cold beer on a blistering hot day, or the first delicious bite of our favorite dessert – all is right with the world in those moments, and luckily the feelings those moments bring are ours for the asking, any time we fully focus on the sensations we are experiencing.

Try it now, Close your eyes. Breathe slowly and deeply in and out through your nose. Did you feel it? Did you hear the sound? Taking three deep breaths in a row with awareness can reset your brain and relax your body. 

It might sound silly to be talking so transcendentally about simply washing our hands and paying attention to our breath, but any form of awareness is relaxing for our bodies and refreshing to our souls. Each moment of awareness is also a gentle and rewarding reminder of its benefits and hopefully encourages us to return to the practice. (And, because I know I need extra help focusing, I will keep post-it-note reminders in plain view!)

I hope your Saturday is filled with relaxing, rewarding moments. If you would like to join in my “New” awareness practice and challenge for this weekend, click here. I think I will go wash my hands, just for the fun of it!

To read more about why I am developing my “30 Days New” habit, click here.

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“30 Days New” Day 14, Day 15 & More

“30 Days New” – Day 14 & Day 15

I woke up feeling terribly guilty that I was behind in my “News” and also in posting about them. I was feeling embarrassed that I started the project and wasn’t keeping up with it. I also was beginning to find ways to justify my lack of follow through. (Step 2 in the rationalization process – Step 1 one is to admit a problem/situation has occurred, Step 2 is to figure out a way to blame circumstances or someone else for our failure!)

When I realized I was ruminating ad nauseum about the situation, I decided to occupy my mind elsewhere for a bit and began creating a mental to-do-list for today. The minute I switched gears I felt lighter and after making a few mental notes, I started to laugh at myself.

I had solved my own problem. I know beating-up on myself leads to no good end, and if I kept it up I would simply fall further behind and probably begin adding other lapses to my life to confirm to myself that I really had “failed”!  Misery loves company and I had to admit I was already inviting imaginary and very unlikable guests to my personal pity party. (You know, those voices in our heads that never have anything nice to say, but we listen to them anyway.)

I decided that instead of filling my head and my heart with my real and imagined failings, I would simply get started planning what my “New” would be for today. It took me less than a second to come up with it. Stop back tomorrow to read my results.

Day 14 & Day 15 Results – A kinder, gentler me – to myself, and an increased ability to swallow a good dose of humility to soften my judgmental rough edges.

Forest for the trees

awareness that I could not see the forest for the trees. I had done lots of wonderful things on Day 14 & Day 15, including re-doing some of my “News” and expanding on others, but I was so focused on the project that I discounted the benefit of those things, simply because they weren’t “New” enough.

To read more about why I am developing my “30 Days New” habit, click here.

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30 Days New – Day 12 & Day 13

“30 Days New” – Day 12

Easy peasy, second day of new qigong practice! I am counting it as a “New” because it is the first habit I have chosen to create as a result of “30 Days New” practice. That’s a first, which is just as good as a “New” to me.

Day 12 Results –  Sense of peace and calm while doing the practice, and curiosity as to what it will add to my life.

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“30 Days New” – Day 13

Day thirteen turned out to be very lucky for me. Today I meditated for an hour.  It seemed like about 3 hours, but no matter, I did it!

I have been wanting to try meditate on my own for an hour for more than a decade. (Who knows why it took me so long, but seriously not important at the moment.) I use a variety of 25-30 minute guided meditations, including Yoga Nidra and self-hypnosis, both are very satisfying and I will continue to use them, but excited that today I took the leap to 60 minutes on my own.

I can’t honestly say I loved meditating for an hour and it was not an earth shattering experience, but it took commitment and a great deal of patience. I like that. I also like that since I have meditated for an hour, 30 minutes on my own is much less daunting. I know I can do it regularly and that makes me very happy.

Day 13 Results –  Sense of accomplishment, mixed with pride and the overwhelming urge to give myself a sticker of some kind! Woo-hoo, I gave it a try and I did it! 

To read more about why I am developing my “30 Days New” habit, click here.

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30 Days New – Day 10 & Day 11

 

I have fallen behind in my posting, but happily not in doing my “News”. I am double posting today to catch-up.

Day 10 – “30 Days New”

A few weeks ago I was watching a repeat of the Rachael Ray show featuring Sue Hitzman, the founder of the MELT method for pain relief and body rejuvenation. Sue was demonstrating a 50 second face lift.

I used her method while watching the show and made a mental note to follow up on her techniques. On Day 10 of my “30 Days New” I remembered that note to myself and looked up Sue’s videos online, I could not find a video of the Rachael Ray episode, but redid the facial from memory and info from Sue’s other videos. The facial was easy, felt great, and sparked my interest to explore other hands-on, face lift options, including this acupuncture based technique – no needles necessary!

Day 10 Results – I loved them all! Who knew I could have been giving myself free, relaxing, and refreshing five minute facials? A group of “News” I truly enjoyed, and have been using the past three days. Whether or not my new habit will give me a more youthful appearance remains to be seen, but learning about and using the methods really was a treat and they are something I will do more often.

Day 11 – “30 Days New”

My research on the facials also led me to a short video on a four minute daily Qigong practice that I tried on Day 11, which was amazingly relaxing and easy to do, as well.

Day 11 Results – I liked The Qigong practice so much, I am going to do it everyday. I have even created a 21 daily tracking sheet – what gets counted, gets done – to get myself in the habit of my new daily Qigong practice. The Qigong video I found is short, nothing fancy, but the practice makes sense to me and I love the centering effect it produces.  Ahhhhh. Namaste.

To read more about why I am developing my “30 Days New” habit, click here.

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MELT on Rachael Ray

30 Days New – Day 9

iphone-410311_960_720“30 Days New” – Day 9

I was going to call yesterday a sick day, because I was sick and had been up most of the night, but then realized that wasn’t in the true spirit of my “30 Days New”.  I decided to wait it out and see what happened as the day went along.

By late afternoon I was feeling better and began asking myself, “What’s new to do?” Within minutes, I came up with two or three options and settled on making some phone calls for my projects, one of which was completely out of my comfort range. My mission was accomplished – Day 9 commitment completed and even though it was not a miraculous cure for what was ailing me, it did make me feel better.

Day 9 Results – Sense of pride for not giving up. The knowledge that if I did have to skip a day for a more serious reason, I would know it and feel fine with that choice, but yesterday was not that day.

I also realized I liked doing “30 Days New” the second I accomplished a new “New” but beforehand the process can be frustrating. Short term discomfort for long term gain, I can live with that, especially since I posted publicly I was going to do it!  It’s become my personal marshmallow test.

To read more about why I am developing my “30 Days New” habit, click here.

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30 Days New – Day 7

“30 Days New” – Day 7

Yesterday’s “New” happened without me realizing it until late in the day.

Endeavour
Endeavour on PBS

I love PBS, but do not watch their programs as often I would like. I have the time and the access, but for some reason I simply do not do it. Earlier in the week I DVR’d a number of episodes of one of their mystery programs.  Yesterday I binged on two of the series’ two hour episodes.

I loved the show, but that was just the icing on the cake. What excited me was I was enjoying something new, without even consciously planning it to be a “New”. Seems “News” may be becoming a normal part of my life after only a week!

Writing about my Day 7’s activity reminded me of my 20+ year habit for ordering a new magazine almost every year that showcase topics I know little or nothing about. Popular Science, Wyoming Magazine, and Architectural Digest have all crossed my threshold at one time or another along with many other unrelated titles. Sometimes, I enjoy a magazine and reorder it; other times I read an issue or two and donate the rest to a local library. I believe the money is well spent under any circumstances because reading the magazines exposes me to new ideas and information, and perhaps even sparks a new interest, which is most often the case.

Do you have a regular “New” that relates to exposing yourself to new ideas or concepts, or even new forms of entertainment? If so, share what you have discovered along the way.

Day 7 Result – Surprise, enjoyment and a continued sense of excitement for “News” big or small.

To read more about why I am developing my “30 Days New” habit, click here.

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30 Days New – Day 6

Day 6 – “30 Days New”

Today is the sixth day I am posting about doing something new everyday for 30 days. (Click here to read how I got started, here to read about what I did yesterday.)

I realized this morning that while it is becoming a little more difficult each day to think of a “New” thing to do, any discomfort I am feeling from having to find “News” is completely offset by the fact that the challenge of seeking out a daily “New” is making me feel stronger in general and also bolder about what I choose to post.

IMG_1119 (1)Today is proof of that. I am posting a poem I wrote in 2011. I have a tendency to write my thoughts on 3 x 5 cards. I have filed away hundreds of note cards – in both organized and random fashion – that are covered with reminders, ideas for projects, stories and posts, and quotes and original thoughts that matter to me.

When I recover one of my mini-journals of sorts, I am always surprised by what I have jotted down – either because I don’t remember writing it, or I do, but can’t remember why I didn’t integrate the comments, plans or advice into my life! 

Day 6 Results

I found peace today.
Rolled up in an unexpected moment in a newly discovered place.
I sat soaking up the sounds in the safety of the shade.
I remembered who I was and why I am here.
T
hen stepped gently back into my life.
Knowing what I needed.
Grateful for giving it to myself.

Do you have written ramblings you seldom share? Do you need a few minutes of reflection or a brief respite? Do you wish you were bolder, or perhaps, more reflective? Whatever your answers, considering the questions means you are on your way to wherever you are going!


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