What is Meditation?

Is it just sitting on the floor, not thinking? What is it really for?

Meditation is a mindfulness tool that can teach you to use your mind in a more effective and beneficial way.

It does this by creating mindfulness, which is simply being aware of what’s happening in your mind. Most of us just let our minds run about doing whatever the hell they want—but after some meditation, you will find that much of this business is very unhelpful, and not at all what you want to be up to all day.

Meditation is very simple. It will lead to experiences that are the opposite, full of intricacy and nuance, it’s a journey, fo sho—but the how-to part is super duper simple. Here we go:

Sit. Sit however you like to sit. (Though Ron Swanson prefers to stand, and I totes respect that.) Notice the air slowly going into your nose, filling your lungs, and slowly leaving your body again. As thoughts bubble up, note them without judgement, then let them go. Repeat for as long as desired, the longer the better.

See? Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy! At first you may find that you are indeed just sitting there, feeling a bit bored—and that’s okay. The experience gets richer with time. Keep going. You will eventually experience a significant thought-free break, and you’ll understand what all the meditation folks are on about. It’s an incredibly peaceful and connected feeling to be without thought, it feels very good.

The good feels during meditation are just the beginning though. You will start to understand and see your mind clearly. You’ll see where you’re being cruel to yourself (or others) in your mind, and hopefully, stop that nonsense.

You’ll see how you spin around old memories around in your mind like a toilet that just won’t quite flush, and probably memories that you don’t even like to remember! You’ll stop all that nonsense too.

And on it will go. Meditating, cultivating awareness of your mind, smashing useless mental constructs. (And all the other benefits!) But after awhile you’ll be like, “Sheesh, well what should I think about, then?”, and it might even feel like a legit issue, you might even get those bored feels again.

But then, in that new empty mind space—ideas will start to bubble up. All kinds of ideas. Your mind isn’t at all short of awesome things to say, it just needs the clear space to say some good shit.  You’ll see…

meditation

Lucid Dreaming is the Shit

Lucid dreaming is the experience of realizing that you are indeed, dreaming. Once you gain awareness of what’s happening, you’re able to control the dream. You can conjure up any experience that you want; from flying through the sky, to fascinating conversations and telekinesis.

The big trick is simply remembering to question if you’re dreaming whilst doing so. Because once you wonder that––it’s on.

Here’s a few tricks to get there:

  1. Remember your dreams––Start a dream journal, either writing or babbling into the mic of your phone. The point is to train the mind to think about dreamtime, to create awareness of it and a relationship to it in your waking hours.
  2. Dream Checks––During your waking day, ask yourself, “Am I dreaming?” Do so every time you do something routine; like every time you check the clock or look out the window, ask yourself “Am I dreaming?” The habit will carry over into dreamtime.
  3. Plan what you will do––Do you want to fly? Get laid? Chat with Albert Schweitzer? Daydream it as practice for the real thing.
  4. Watch the movie Waking Life––That’s how I had my first, after watching this amahhhzing flick, and without even trying!
  5. Think about lucid dreaming as you fall asleep––After you’re all cozied in, simply remind yourself that you are going to go lucid dream now. Focus on it, intend on doing it.That should do ‘er!  Don’t worry if it takes some time, all of the coolest things in life have a learning curve.

That should do ‘er!  Don’t worry if it takes some time, all of the coolest things in life have a learning curve.

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Haunted: Invisible Illness

Due to a problem with my nervous system, I am disabled and chronically ill. My symptoms often become incorporated to my dreams, sometimes it’s almost funny: a man getting an electric foot massage on my back when the machine shorts out. (Okay, weird/scary, not that funny.) More often, it’s just me trying to keep up with the dream and sorely falling behind.

I just woke up from a miserable one. A repeater. Familiar people are telling me that I’m faking it. That I’m pretending to be weak to get attention. That I’m just irresponsible and lazy and need to try harder. Or worse, they roll their eyes and give one another a knowing smile like, “Won’t this be fun to dish about later?”

It’s bad enough to have to constantly having to explain what’s wrong with me and why I can’t do x, y, and/or z just like everyone else––but then to have convince them that you aren’t telling falsities, and to do so when your brain can’t even recall basic information reliably––I can’t explain how awful it is. How demoralizing. How it just makes a person want to give up.

But then to also do it every night in my dreams? Shiiiiiiit, this has to stop.

I clearly still have issues with people from my not-so-distant past, that’s where I can do work. Forgiveness. Self-love. Continuing to hang with empathetic folks.

But the real problem lies with society. The people in my dream aren’t “bad” guys. They are very “normal” people. We, as a society, still don’t have a strong understanding of invisible illness. (Even though it’s pretty darn common.) And we definitely aren’t aware of how to behave with empathy in regard to it.

Just because you can’t see a person’s pain doesn’t make it less real. To us who deal with invisible illness, it’s all the more real: because we’re so often received with disbelief and even bitterness in place of compassion. Can you imagine? No, like, really try to imagine.

Take a couple of minutes: Imagine waking up in agony, trying to shake off dreams like I just explained. Knowing that you have maybe 3-4 usable hours, that this agony is as good as you’ll feel all day, that it’s just going to get worse. Pushing through everything that you can get done despite your symptoms––which is never even close to the amount that needs to be done. As far as keeping up with life goes, you’re fucking drowning.

And then the pain levels rise so high that you can’t think straight. And then the fatigue levels get so high that just taking a bath is daunting. The television, and all sounds, feel abrasive; so all you can do is lie there until you feel tired enough to pass out despite the pain. But once you actually get to bed that’s rarely the case, as your memory foam feels like pavement––squishing your tender body and making it scream all the louder, a cacophony of miserable symptoms that you just have to lie there and bear. For hours. Every. Single. Night.

Imagine getting through a day and night like that, and then having someone say to you, “Man, I’m jealous––I wish I could stay at home all day!”

Do you see how demoralizing that could be to someone? It’s a private fucking hell, it’s truly awful. Not that my whole life is awful, but more days than not are indeed this bad, and all too often that’s people’s attitude. It really wipes my resting niceface right off, and totally screws up my “fake it ’till you make it” coping strategy.

But how can you really know if someone’s sick if they don’t look it?

WITH THEIR WORDS, dummy. LISTEN TO THEIR WORDS.

Trust the people in your life who tell you they’re not feeling well. Your reaction to someone else’s admittance of that, which often doesn’t happen until a breaking point––can have a HUGE impact on their life. Be the person that helps them find the right doctor. That googles their symptoms in-depth to help find answers. Or simply be the person that listens to what’s going on with them, instead of hurrying away uncomfortably or changing the subject.

We’re doing it all wrong when it comes to our attitudes about chronic illness, and it’s at the detriment of those of us already in a very precarious place. This is off-topic for the website, I know, but it’s really important to me––so I suppose my sharing here is fuckless.

Thanks for listening.

 

My Halcyon Mission

I wrote this when I was 23, somehow already 11 (very event-filled) years ago:

Mission Statement

To create a community of people who desire a paradigm shift in our world, and to help create these changes via creative endeavors. These are the main desired changes in our paradigm:

  • Environmental: Realize that if we don’t support our environment, then it won’t support us. We need to breathe, drink, and eat. If we poison what sustains us we won’t survive as a species, nor will anything else.
  • Empathetic: Humans are humans no matter where they live. We all deserve to live a life that provides sustenance, self-sufficiency, and a lack of fear. We need to learn to see ourselves in others. We need extreme change to happen, and without violence.
  • Conscious: We need to remember that our place on this Earth is about growth, loving and evolving-not about money and ego.

It came out of nowhere, whilst meditating on what the hell I wanted to do with this life.  (Like most of the posts here.)  My first move on this mission was to name it, I consulted one of my favorite books – the thesaurus.  Within just a couple minues––Halcyon it was!  Its beauty jumped out of the page and seemed to shout, this is your future!!!
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I started by learning how to organize events to raise awareness and cashoola for non-profits and other causes, and did a shit-ton of those as well as joining a couple of their boards and doing fun work there. I also wrote a business plan for the do-gooder Halcyon Cafe, something I pursued tenaciously for years and still intend to create, someday. 

But I still knew I was ignoring something, a dream that was so scary I very rarely even let it gurgle up to the surface: to write a book that could help TONS of people connect to their authentic (and awesome, fearless, centered) selves, and to do it in a way that spoke to “average” Americans.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m way woo and don’t mind a bit (anymore): but mindfulness and personal growth often come in really cheesy packages, and it makes a lot of folks kinda want to hurl. And it doesn’t make them closed-minded, I think it’s mostly a matter of presentation and taste–but it blocks so many of us off from really solid wisdom and life approaches.

How I Lost All My Fucks is my answer to this dilemma. It’s part book, part meditation training, and part experience that the reader rocks in 30 days. (That won’t soon be forgotten.)

I want it to make meditation in public the norm. I want it to introduce people to what they *actually* want and value.  I want it to introduce people to happiness regardless of circumstance, and that’s *any fucking time* happiness.

I want it to help–with SO many of others creations–create a lasting paradigm shift in this wonktaculous world. (I have more ideas too! Like low-income housing for senior citizens and at-risk young adults that’s full of do-gooding community fun.) But first things first, to make How I Lost All My Fucks happen:

I found an awesome agent who’s already helped so much with the book; she just needs me to create an impressive following so she can sell my baby!! I really appreciate any follows/likes/etc on social media, links are on the right side of the page.

I also appreciate your presence, thanks for hanging out, friend. ❤

 

 

Tarot Trip

I bought my first deck of tarot cards about two years ago, after having my first reading—which had stunned me with its accuracy.  Before that experience I had always likened tarot cards to newspaper horoscopes; lots of general advice that could apply to anyone and therefore really doesn’t apply to anyone.  For me, it’s turned out to be a very different story.

To fill you in on the Tarot, it’s a pack of cards that have different meanings.  The origin is debated, some saying they go back to ancient Egypt and others saying Italy in the 14th century, with many other guesses.  Some play games with them, but my interest is in divination—using the cards for guidance in life.

Even after I bought the cards I was still a bit suspect.  I thought that maybe the intuitive reader was just very skilled, and that I probably wouldn’t come up with much on my own.  I tried anyways, and within a few days I was shocked at the frequency of certain cards.  Over, and over, and over, and over; these same cards would pop up, cards that had serious meaning in regard to my present life.

I’m still at it two years later!  I’m still not as good as the pros, and I like to occasionally have others read for me.  They tend to expand on what I’ve picked up on my own—and have yet to contradict anything!

Tarot cards don’t predict the future, they won’t be like, “Yo Meg, your shit’s about to take off, your book’s gonna be published, and it’s going to be a cultural phenom.”  But they’ll be all, “A prosperous new time is coming”, or more often, “Work your ass off, honey.”

They don’t say it like that, of course, but most cards do come with books for explanations of the cards meanings; and it’s your job as the reader to feel into how they could apply to your life.  I like to meditate while I shuffle for a few minutes, chose a card that feels right, and then, with my eyes closed; feel what the card will apply to, and then I open my eyes to see the card.

I usually just draw however many I like, in response to my own questions; like a dialogue with the cards and my guidance.  And sometimes I use traditional pulls with just one question in mind.  I’ve noticed that they seem to respond to my mood—and I no longer draw cards when I’m feeling fearful or upset, it just makes it worse!

Tarot has become an insightful and entertaining tool for guidance and inner-exploration in my life.  I quite fancy it, and recommend it to anyone who’s even remotely curious.

You Need a 2017 Board

Ahhhh, can you feel it? That’s 2016 finally taking its last breaths, transforming today’s rubbish into yesterday’s lessons––maybe only metaphorically, but that’s not nothing, and soon it will be obviously true as well.

So, what’s next?

I’ve been working on my 2017 Pinterest board to figure that out. I like the ease of pinning info with website pages, they’ve got that add-on button. Pinterest isn’t for everyone though, use an organizing tool w/images like this, or go old school in a sketchbook or something of that sort.

Just pick something that incorporates images and text in a way that you’ll like looking at over and over.

First, map out your top goals for your year.

What are the first things you think of? If something seems random, note it anyways, as it could be your subconscious peeking out. Then purposefully move on to other “outside” areas: health, hobbies, relationships, love, work, etc.

Then it’s time to move on to “the invisible you.” (nods ❤) What qualities would you like to work on cultivating this year? Have you been hearing repetitive feedback from those around you? Maybe it’s time to listen better, or to say what you mean. Pick at least one. (That’s super easy.)

For each experience or quality that you’re fruition-ing in 2017, choose an image. Choose one that makes you think of the idea in a quick glance, ideally that also makes you feel good. For example, if it’s listening better: Don’t pick an image of someone droning on and another trying to focus, pick one that makes you think of why you want this thing in your world–ex., something that makes you think of harmonious relationships.

In the text for each image remind yourself of why this is a badass addition to your life, “A reliable car that gives me freedom to go wherever I please.” Also, articulate specifics that’ll help you focus over the year, like if you’re working on bringing new relationships into your life, what kind of qualities do you want in them? Warmth, honesty, kindred interest in Star Wars? Get specific.

I highly recommend setting options to private, or keeping your board somewhere personal. It can be easy to accidently account for others’ opinions and bullshit if you think it’ll be seen. (I don’t care if you love and trust them, that’s not what this is about, it’s about connecting to your authentic needs and wants.)

Now go about your year, remembering to look at your board at least weekly!

It’ll just be a few minutes of your time, but the effects on your focus will be a delightful surprise. Why haven’t most of us achieved our dreams, or become the people that we want to be?

Because we were busy doing other stuff and forgot.

Not out of sight, in your mind where you can remember to do something about it.

Alllllright, 2017!

 

What is Detachment?

What is detachment? How is it helpful?

In the world of woo, detachment is often first encountered via Buddhism where it’s an important principle meant to release from desire and consequently from suffering. I find this area of Buddhist thought to be a bit of a drag, it’s a whole lot about releasing desire, which I think is a ridiculous thing to do.

No longer having desire is a symptom of depression. Desire provides direction. Direction to joy if you do it right. Reflect on why you desire things, fo sho, learn what truly gives you joy in this life. Be honest with yourself. And then desire away!

Desire. Want. Dream. Plan. Do.

*And then let go.*

That last bit is where detachment does its magic. Detaching from the outcome creates energetic space, allowing for openness and receptivity. Do the work, seek inspired actions, daydream about the most desired outcome–but that’s it.

Don’t think about how much you want it. Don’t focus on how you don’t have it. Don’t stew in how you are more deserving of it than someone else. Don’t place the ideal of your future happiness in it. Don’t pressure it. Leave it be.

Even wonderful outcomes are temporary, and every outcome leads to another one–sometimes you just gotta shrug and have faith that the right things are happening in perfect timing.

Or combat attachment with acceptance by embracing this mantra: it is what it fucking is.

Word.

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I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few. – Brene Brown

What is an eclipse season?

Eclipse seasons happen every Fall and Spring (usually! 2017’s 1st is in February), and they are grand inciters of change. What doesn’t suit you anymore will crumble away (even if you thought you wanted it), and what you need will start entering (even if you think you don’t want it). Eclipses are as change-makers that put us back on our path, ’cause man do we get distracted.

I’ve had several day-of events, but the time around the dates of the eclipses are also way in the mix. I started paying attention just a few years ago, and for me it hasn’t been more than a week for wack-a-doo out of nowhere events. But the energy of the eclipse effects the next six months, until the next one.

On the second eclipse (they come in pairs) it’s often been not so much an event as a significant change of heart and focus, or the beginning of something new and awesome— something that will be memorable in hindsight, but that day you might be like “eh.”

Eclipse seasons can be very hard, CRUNCHY, to be more specific. There’s lots of things happening not only to you, but to everyone you know—so there’s lots of people feeling all crazy-like, which is always fun. (I’m not even sure if I’m being sarcastic there… It can actually be fun too!)

Eclipse seasons aren’t hard because “bad” things happen, and they aren’t anything to be scared of. Change is good. Change creates growth. What’s the point of rereading the same old chapter? It feels good to move on. Eventually.

They have a whole lot of uncertainty about them, which can be a scary place to be in. But the thing is—you never have certainty. Sometimes it looks like it, but we all know that anything can happen. Plan for what you want and do the damn best with what you get’s kinda my M.O. on that front.

Stay chill, expect the unexpected, and remember that every new beginning comes from another beginning’s end.

eclipse-season

What is Serendipity?

Is it like luck? Is there ice cream?

Serendipity is a magical 90’s gem of a flick that’s not to be missed. It’s also a phenomenon succinctly defined in said movie as a fortunate accident. It was coined in 1754 via a fairy tale whose heroes “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.”

Serendipity is good friends with synchronicity, but it comes with presents.

Not always things per say, but it’s a more external experience, for sure. A synchronistic moment can happen pretty internally, like you can have one and no one around will be aware; but with serendipity, there’s going to be a ‘What? That’s perfect!!’ kind of moment.

Serendipity is always synchronistic, but synchronicity isn’t always serendipitous. With serendipity, there needs to be an external “accident” of sorts—whereas synchronicity is coincidence-oriented, but you can’t have a happy accident without a coincidence. Ya hear?

To encourage serendipity I highly recommend doing whatever you want. You know, consequences are a thing, but in my experience random desires or cravings often lead to awesome serendipitous fun!

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