Meditation Classes

If you think about it, your mind is your home. And one you’re stuck with, too. Is yours a nice place to live?

Screen Shot 2017-06-24 at 6.23.04 PMOur minds are the constant in all of our lives, we can never leave them…they are basically our permanent homes. But most of us never really even consider them! Mindfulness is out to change this. My class will teach you how to integrate mindfulness into your life via meditation. (And we’ll go over several styles to help you find something that sticks.)

This fun hour applies mindfulness concepts to your real, actual, world. Meditation saved my life, I’ll also share the story of how it did so; and, of course, how it can wildly change yours for the better.

Thanks to those of you who have come to one of my Portland, Oregon classes! I’m now living in Southern California and hope to start classes ASAP, I’m starting to reach out as of mid-August. Keep yer ears peeled! And in the meantime, please contact me if you are interested in having a class for your group or company.

Homework: Blessings from the Loving-Kindness Meditation
Think or say these to yourself, then send it to someone you adore, and then to someone you’re having “a challenging time” with:
May I/you be blessed with abundance and health.
May I/you know that I am worthy of love, and of the things I desire.
May I/you have relationships that provide me with mutual acceptance and encouragement.
May I/you have meaning and purpose in life, may it be deeply satisfying.
May I/you laugh from the very core of the belly at least daily.

Advertisements

Tarot Trip

I bought my first deck of tarot cards in 2014, 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 didn’t apply to anyone.

But for me, it’s turned out to be a very different story.

To fill you in on the Tarot, it’s a deck of cards that have different meanings. The cards represent 78 different aspects of life, and each comes with guidance. 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.

And four years later, I’m still at it! I draw three cards every morning for guidance on the day, it feels like “flying blind” on the rare occasions that I don’t get my tarot in. I’ve occasionally had 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, then I just choose the cards that feel right.

Sometimes I draw however many I like, in response to my own questions; like a dialogue with the cards and my guidance. Other times I use traditional card spreads 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 me feel 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. The Rider-Waite deck is the most universal, and a great place to start.

No STDs here.

The experience aims to be a cathartic emotional rollercoaster after which you will never be the same.  Kind of like doing hallucinogens or having sex for the first time, but no one’s going to talk about how weird skin looks at great lengths, nor get an STD.  

She’s one-part fuckfull to fuckless tale, one-part 30-meditation challenge, and the last bit is a series of 20 Fuckless Adventures that are totally as fun as they sound.

I hope you’ll join me. Stay tuned for the release of How I Lost All My F-cks!

Follows WAY appreciated:
Instagram
Twitter
Facebook

 

 

Forgiveness, heads and gross eyeballs attached.

When you have hard times — and you will — your relationships will be tested.  Whether it’s an internal angst or an external set of circumstances, at some point you will have a shitty time. And when this shitty time occurs there are those who will disparagingly judge you for it. We often call them fairweather friends.

One morning on Portland OR’s MAX train I found myself daydreaming about getting even with one of these people. I’m devout to my meditation practice, and I am generally keenly aware of my thoughts. Revenge fantasies are not normal for me.

Maybe it was because I was hungover that day (something I hadn’t experienced in months) or because I was due for my Depo-Provera hormone shot, but I found myself in a reverie about warning a fairweather person’s fiance of her nasty nature and then telling her to go fuck herself.

(Why suggesting someone go masturbate is so satisfying, I do not know. Perhaps because it’s saying someone isn’t worthy of another’s affection? Or because it’s something deemed shameful in our repressed society? Or perhaps the reason isn’t so deep, and it’s just the hard consonant ending with the flowing ‘fff’ sound? Go fuck yourself. It really is satisfying to say…almost as great as indubitably. I’ve only ever actually exclaimed it once, a jillion years ago, and I admit, it was wildly satisfying indeed. But, I digress.)

I snapped out of it, a bit shocked at where my mind had wandered, and recalled the only time my vengeful Scorpionic side had been truly revealed. It was over a decade ago, my junior year in college.  A dude had chased me for months, charming me, asking me out, pursuing me relentlessly.

Even in my shenanigan-filled college days, my intuition was pretty sharp and I didn’t trust him.  There was no reason for it, I just felt in my gut that he was up to no good. But he eventually wore me down. We spent an unsatisfying few minutes together, after which he never returned my call.

I was pissed. Back then I was totally hot hotty hot, I had stalkers for Christ’s sake, and this dude gets me, then doesn’t call me back?! It was the first time I felt really and truly burnnned. I stewed in my anger whilst watching the movie Grumpy Old Men on basic cable. I was judging the characters for wasting so much time spiting each other when judgment turned to inspiration.

I had been invited to a kegger at the dude’s house by his roommate, and suddenly decided I should attend...with Grumpy Old Men inspired supplies. I called a couple best buddies who went to the grocery store with me, where I purchased several fish. (Heads and gross eyeballs attached.) I remember my dear friend E saying, “Meg, this is a disturbing side of you, but damn if it isn’t entertaining”.

We went to the kegger, where I pretended like I wasn’t mad. After some friendly chitchat I excused myself to the restroom, which was just outside of the jerk’s room. Inside it I found a clothes hamper. I emptied out half of the clothes, placed the fish inside (heads and gross eyeballs attached), and replaced the clothes. I exited, signaled my accomplices, and we bailed the party, laughing all the way home.

The jerk moved away, and I wound up making good friends with his roommates. About a year after my revenge, one of the roomies told me a devastating story about how someone had ruined his best suit by placing several fish (heads and gross eyeballs attached) in his hamper.

My revenge had struck the wrong person!!

I turned beet red, cried a little, and apologized profusely.  He wouldn’t let me pay him back for the ruined duds, and he forgave me immediately. Ooooohwie, did that hurt! I remember wishing that he would have told me off like I deserved. I still feel awful about it, and haven’t attempted revenge since. I learned my lesson.

So, those few who dismissed me during some of the hardest times of my life (dark night of the soul), will not be the butt of a cruel prank parlayed clumsily by myself (heads and gross eyeballs attached), nor a diatribe of their perceived faults, nor any euphonious sneers. Of course, as I learned with my wayward fish prank, kindness really is the best revenge.

The compassionate act of forgiveness doesn’t mean allowing oneself to be mistreated, but simply acknowledges the harmful actions, and releases emotional attachment to them. It’s wise to forgive, not so the transgressor heals, but so we heal. Holding on to resentment to hurt someone else is as useful as holding onto a grenade. It’s only going to hurt you.

It’s empowering to let go, and an apology isn’t necessary to move to forgiveness. We can release ourselves whenever we choose. Why not now?

How to dissolve cheap beer hiccups with meditation.

I’m sure I learned what meditation was sometime before college, but I didn’t spend much time absorbing the concept until then. I had an Eastern Philosophy teacher that is still probably the most self-assured person I’ve ever met.

He genuinely did not give a shit about what anyone thought of him, as he said, “other people’s thoughts are none of my business”. I found him to be hilarious, and always unintentionally so. (The best kind of funny.)

He said the purpose of meditation was to widen the gaps between thoughts, allowing for observation of the peaceful quiet that exists behind them. And that we’d enjoy a more pleasant mindspace as a result. He shut off the lights, had us put our heads in our folded arms, and asked us to focus on our breathing. Whenever we had a thought we were supposed to acknowledge it without judgment, let it go, and return to our breathing.

Most of the time I thought about a guy, wondered if he liked me. Thought about how cute he was. Replayed our recent conversations. I kept returning back to my breath just to have my mind pipe up again, “He’s so cute.  He reminds me of Floyd from Dazed and Confused…”

But then it happened, I thought—“…………..”, for a few solid seconds.

“Oh! And that’s the same dude as in Out Cold!” — But it had happened, however briefly, I experienced my first sizeable gap between thoughts.  I wanted more of that peaceful feeling. And, apparently, whomever that dude was.

Though I enjoyed the peace I discovered in that philosophy class…I lacked focus. The first real application of meditation to my life was using it to get rid of the hiccups. I drank a lot of cheap beer quickly in those days, so I’d get them pretty frequently. At some point, I realized that all of the solutions offered up (swallow a spoonful of sugar, stare at the ceiling whilst hopping on one foot, BOO!) were all just various ways of *not thinking* about the hiccups.

So I tried using meditation to do so, and low and behold — it works like a charm! In those days most of my meditation was done in graffiti-covered bathroom stalls. Focusing on my breath, calming my mind, and dissolving those cheap beer hiccups.

 

Dethroning the Queen of Shitgibbers

Once upon a time, I was a teenager. My favorite hobbies were dancing, gymnastics, figuring out who’s parents were going out of town next, and gossip.

I relished in knowing what was going on with everyone else, and was sure to fill anyone in who didn’t know. I’d like to say that I was the girl reading Catcher in the Rye and rolling her eyes at girls like me, but I was not. Not even a little.

I remember the first time that I realized that this behavior was a bad thing. It was normal to me, it was how all of my friends behaved, and how we had behaved since sometime in elementary school. It just was.

But then one day someone finally called me on my shit.

Myself, my high school boyfriend, our friend, and another girl had gone a double date – their first date. I can’t remember exactly how it went, but at the end of the night I was sure they were going to “hook up.” The next morning at school I spread the word in the usual fashion. (It didn’t take a lot of effort, I went to a very crowded high school of bored kids in a small Alaskan city. Word got around fast.)

Turns out, they did not “hook up” as it were. Things had turned awkward, and their first date was to be their last. So everyone was coming up to my friend all like, “Yeahhh, dude, heard you got some!” When indeed, he had not.

He came up to me in the hallway that day and called me The Queen of Shitgibbers.

I was a silly lil’ teenager, but even then I knew that was a title I shouldn’t have earned and sure didn’t want. I had done a shitty thing, and it was the first time I really realized it was a shitty thing to do.

I’ve made huge strides in kicking the gossip habit, but it happened the other day. I cracked a joke about someone else, to someone who I knew would find it funny. It was a cheap shot, not even remotely clever, and remembering it later made me cringe with regret.

Why was I posturing like that? Fucking fucks, I thought I lost you. (Clingy buggers.)

So the next time I get the urge to discuss another person behind their back, I hope that I remember it’s a very fleeting satisfaction. For a split second I can connect with another, get a laugh, feel empowered, a little bit superior…but then just awful. This is kinda trite, but Eleanor Roosevelt once said:

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

I will strive to be great. I will frequently be average. I will even spend a huge portion of my time discussing the weather or my lunch. (Burrito, B-, overnuked.) But behaving in a small-minded manner like this just isn’t worth the squeeze.

gossip

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 space, to fascinating conversations, to swimming with whales, telekinesis – whatever you can think of!

The big trick is simply remembering to question if you’re dreaming whilst doing so. Because once you do 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.

 

 

Enlightenment is a destructive process.

I came across a photo meme the other day with this quote by Adyashanti:

“Make no mistake about it – enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of… untruth. It’s seeing through the façade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.”

I’d like to add my own perspective…

The path of enlightenment (which never ends) has everything to do with becoming better and/or happier! It also involves an extremely uncomfortable process that will totally ruin the perspectives you’ve spent your whole life creating. (Paradoxes are big in spirituality.)

The crumbling away of paradigms that no longer serve us can be painful, for sure. However, it is necessary to clear the old before creating the new – you wouldn’t want to build a shiny new building on a crappy old foundation, would you?

Destruction is essential to creation.

After the dust settles, you have a new set of tools with which to handle life’s obstacles and challenges. You have access to internal wisdom that will always point you in the right direction. Relationships become honest, your mind becomes clear, and the inherent worth of yourself and others becomes apparent.

You do become better.

After the dust settles, you are left with a profound feeling of possibility, freedom, and expansiveness. Personally, I don’t think I even knew true happiness before undergoing this process. I knew it in beautiful fleeting moments, sure, but I had no idea that it was just chillin’ in the background the whole time – constant access to sheer joy!

You do become happier.

It feels like you’ve been let in on the cosmic joke. It’s freakin’ awesome. Don’t let a little destruction deter you, but do be aware that it’s part of the process. The path is different for everyone, but meditation is a damn good place to start!

The juice is totally worth the squeeze.

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, watching your mind, you will find that much of this business is very unhelpful, and not 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, for sure — 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 they’re probably memories that you don’t even like! 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

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.