Day 12 - #365MeditationChallenge

So maybe this is the post where I talk about the crazy technology issues that we have been experiencing for the past month.  I am actually a bit speechless and totally dumbfounded by the journey we have had.  I say this because over and over (and over) I have asked myself, "Ok Universe.  I get that you are trying to get my attention.  What am I supposed to be learning about?  What am I missing here?"  Over the past month, we have had internet/cable outages at our house on an almost daily basis.  I have spent hours and hours on hold with our provider.  I have also had to cancel some of my appointments and miss some meetings in order to be here for the technician visits.  I literally can't do my job without the internet, so it felt like a high priority.  Again and again, the technician would come and "fix" the problem, only to have the whole cycle start all over again days, sometimes hours, later.  It has been a very time consuming and crazy-making process.

Finally, we decided to switch providers.  Today we have "new" services and so far, so good.   

If I'm honest, I still haven't exactly figured out what the big teaching was (I have some ideas, but I'm not totally certain).  For instance, the video down below came out sideways and I can't seem to get it to flip the right way!  I am okay with it though.  It is a perfect symbol for the crazy journey with technology we have just come through! 


Day 10 - #365MeditationChallenge

I took some time to check out a meditation studio in Edmonton today during my lunch hour.  Normally, I would be no where near Edmonton at that time of the day/week, but today I had some time between appointments and decided to check it out.

I took a 30 minute breath work class and it was awesome.  What a wonderful way to break up the business of the day!

When I got home tonight, Perry and I sat down to dinner and afterwards I went out for about a 45 minute walk.  It is about -25C out there right now (colder with the wind chill) but when you are bundled up, it's not too bad.  It gave me some time to check out the almost-full moon and hug some of my favorite trees in the neighbourhood.  

Perry and I are working at cutting sugar out from our diets and I'll admit that the first few days are tough!  We did a whole 30 back in August/September and are now doing a modified version of it again (keeping in some of the foods that we don't seem to have any trouble with).  Sugar is a no-go for both of us so it is our main focus.  What I am noticing is that I am totally fine all day long right up until I finish my dinner and then BAM! - the craving for something sweet is overwhelming!  Up until now, it has been my usual practice to have a few squares of milk chocolate after supper (truly I can keep it to that), but lately other sweets have crept into the evening 'routine'.  I decided to do a walk every day after supper instead of eating the chocolate (hence why I elected to go out walking on such a frigid night).  So far, so good.  And I know from experience that it just gets easier.   

Happy day 10 to you!  Hope you are staying warm wherever you are! 

xo M. 


Day 9 - #365MeditationChallenge

I love Shamanic Journey.   

If you watch today's video, it plays like an advertisement for "post journey bliss".  Today's meditation left me feeling light, excited and bubbly. 

Every meditation experience is different for me.  I think this is because I have been trained in a whole bunch of different types of meditation and truthfully, I like that it is different every time.  The type of meditation I find myself in always seems to be the exact type that I need at that particular time.  Today, as you will see in the video, I found myself in a Shamanic Journey.  

This is not surprising to me, given that when I said my prayer and set my intentions for the session, I did ask for help and information.  Often, when I ask for that, my body/mind will automatically start to journey.   

Today's journey was a whopper!  It was so full of symbolism!  Anubis turned up to guide me (the Egyptian God that has the dog head) and took me floating in a Moses-like basket down the Nile River (we started in a river in the Andes).  We floated past the Sphinx and the Pyramids and got out of our baskets to observe alchemist  working in a shady half-cave structure.  He was too busy to interact with us, but I got the strong message to re-visit the book "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho.  I read that book about 10 years ago but apparently it is due for a re-read.  Next I was guided into a Garden of Eden (of sorts) and there was more symbolism (a lighthouse, purple fairy mushrooms, etc.). It was all very vivid and super interesting.  I think the best part was seeing myself all dressed up like a blonde Cleopatra.  


See?  Fun.  Who wouldn't want to explore their subconscious like this? 

You can perhaps see why facilitating journeys is not only once of my favorite ways of exploring meditation, but also one of my favorite ways of working with my clients.


Day 8 - #365MeditationChallenge

It's the start of a new week!  As I move into this next week, it will be interesting to move through this meditation challenge as I start back to work full time.   

We have enjoyed some serious "down time" over the holiday season - we went to Phoenix and Palm Springs over Christmas and relaxed in the desert sun.  We hiked, slept late, soaked in the hot tub and I read my third fiction book of the year (out of about 50-60 nonfiction ones!). 

It was just the rest that we needed and I do feel ready to get back into the flow of things. 

With that being said, there is a certain level of anxiety that seems to creep in when I think about all that I have to do and the pace that my "regular" life demands.  I was saying to a colleague this past week, "I look at all that I do and keep up with and now that I briefly stepped away from it, I'm not actually sure how I'm doing all of that!"  It can feel a bit daunting. 

And THAT is why I need this Challenge.  That is why meditation is such a crucial piece of the puzzle.  It is why it is at the top of my priority list for 2017.   

Wish me luck!

Day 7 - #365MeditationChallenge

I used to be a very social creature. 

So much so in fact, that it would be very rare to find me home on any given night never mind a Saturday night.  If I was home, you can almost certainly bet that I it meant I was entertaining guests.  I used to love to throw dinner parties and play cards until the middle of the night. 

And then... I decided to quit drinking. 

For so many reasons, this has been such a life-changing decision for me.  It has made my life immeasurably better, but also very different in ways that I did not expect. 

For one thing, I really don't seem to like to go out as much as I used to.  Most nights, I would much rather be home by myself or with my family than out and about.   

But the other side of it is this: I simply don't like to socialize when there is alcohol around.  I can do it, I just don't enjoy it very much.  In my opinion, alcohol changes everything about a social situation.  People are far more likely to say and do things that they otherwise wouldn't.  I guess in some ways you could argue that they are more "real" or authentic this way, however, based on twenty-five years of personal experience, I would say that they aren't.  They are less inhibited perhaps, more socially lubricated, but not more authentic.

You see, you can't be completely in your authentic self if you are under any kind of influence.  If there is booze involved, you don't have to show up, not fully.   

When you are clear-eyed and sober, there is no backup plan if things get uncomfortable.  If feelings rise up that you don't want to feel or that you don't know what to do with, you have to go there.  There is no checking out.  

And to be totally honest, sometimes it kind of sucks.   

But tonight it not one of those nights.  Tonight I feel so damn grateful to be curled up by the fire and just coming out a meditation.  I feel content, relaxed and peaceful.  There is no where else that I would rather be. 


Day 6 - #365MeditationChallenge

The power of positive pressure! 

I was wondering when my first tiny bit of resistance to this whole "meditate every day and record it" challenge was going to show up and it turns out that it was today (I know, a bit early... we are only on day 6!). However, I was expecting it, and totally prepared for what to do when it showed up.

You see, I have done something like this before... and although it is a different type of challenge, the way that it showed up and the overall journey is/will be similar.    

Back in January of 2010, fresh from the aftermath of yet another season of consuming/buying/using/gifting/wrapping/throwing away TOO MUCH STUFF, I found myself in the pit of despair about it all.  Feeling that I was at my wit's end, I decided to sit down and write about it.  I was so damn sick of the excess STUFF in my life (and totally disgusted with my part in the cycle of it) that I decided that I was going to STOP.  I sat down, started a blog called "MareBare Necessities: Living with Less" and committed to one year of non-consumption.  Outloud.  On the Internet.    

Now, admittedly, it was a bit of a rash decision to start that challenge.  It was totally unplanned actually, and I had no idea what the heck I was in for.  

One year later, I found myself and my life completely transformed.  Just for starters, as a family, we reduced our annual spending by $40,000.  What began simply as a quest to "buy less stuff" became more and more about reducing our footprint, growing/making our own food/clothes/medicines/cleaning products ourselves, and generally, living more self-sufficiently and sustainably.  I learnt more in that year than I could possibly tell you here - it should probably be a book all on its own someday.

Looking back on it now, I can recall that I encountered some resistance early on in the MareBare Challenge as well.  Probably somewhere around the end of the first week when I went to the grocery store and saw something "shiny" (aka, new book, nail polish, scarf, mittens, etc.). I can remember thinking to myself, "Holy shit.  Did I really commit to going a whole YEAR without buying any new consumer goods?!"  Um yes.  You did.  

Feeling like a disappointed child, I put said "shiny" bauble back and returned to the "food" section of the store (I was still allowing myself to buy food - although we began to eat/shop differently for that along the way too).  As I continued my shopping that day, I began to shift my thinking away from the thing that I couldn't have, and started thinking instead about what I would write about when I got home from the store that day.  This became my way of moving through old patterns and behaviours of spending, and learning/creating new ones.  Some of what I was experiencing must have clicked for some other people too because by the end of the year, I had a monthly readership of about 50,000 people.  

So, when the resistance to this new challenge showed up today in the form of a critical story in my head ("What?  Are you really going to meditate every day and make a one minute video?  Why would you say that?  What is the point?  What are you going to talk about for 365 minutes?").  

And, if I'm honest, the truth is that I don't know.  I just know that I'm going to.  Because I said I would.  And because meditating every single day isn't going to make things worse... actually, it will probably make things better.  But I won't know that until I do it.    

And the videos/blog?  That is the positive pressure.  And guess what people?  It's working.




Day 5 - #365MeditationPractice

Wow!  A minute is sure not a very long time to make a point!  I decided to limit the daily videos to around in minute in length so that they didn't take up too much time if people wanted to watch them everyday.  We used to follow a similar meditation challenge that came with daily videos and found the videos were too long so we eventually quit watching.  I love to write so I thought that I could post the quick video and then if I had more to say I could write about it here.  Today is one of those days where I felt rushed in the video with a lot more to say.

The reason is likely that today's meditation was all about managing anxiety.  I have struggled with anxiety (and depression - they are kissing cousins) for most of my life.  Last night I was having a bout of anxiety and I found myself unable to sleep (until about 2 am).  There was so much anxiety coursing through my body that it literally felt like I was vibrating and almost floating up off the bed.  If you have suffered from anxiety, you know that this is such an uncomfortable feeling.   

As I lay there, I tried to get into a meditation.  I tried using my breath to calm down my nervous system.  After an hour or two, nothing seemed to be working so I grabbed a rock that I keep in my nightstand and held it in my hand.  I began pouring all of my anxious energy (and thought streams) into the rock.  Immediately I felt things begin to shift and my hand and the rock got very hot with energy.  I finally slept.

This morning, there are still traces of anxiety left over, so I decided to use my meditation practice to release this energy as well as ask for clarity.  I carry a mesa (bag of medicine stones) which I have been working with for the past few years and I selected my quartz crystal to work with during this meditation.   

Using prayer to state my intentions out loud, I began to move the crystal around my body to the parts where I felt the most anxious energy (throat, third eye region and chest).   

Now, afterwards, I feel much calmer and more grounded than I did going into the meditation.  

I share this here because, like me, I know that many other people struggle with anxiety.  If you are one of those people and you haven't tried this - try it!  You have nothing to lose!

One last thing before I sign off for the day, I wanted to share a cute story about this technique.

About 5 years ago, I walked into my bedroom to see my three-year-old son lying on my yoga mat with some of my crystals and stones placed strategically all over his body.  He had his eyes closed and everything!  "Chephren!"  I said, "what are you doing?!"  His eyes flew open, alive and sparkling: "I'm meditatin mama"!


Day 4 - #365MeditationChallenge

I get it.  You're busy.  The list of things you have to do is immeasurably long.  So long, in fact, that you aren't even truly certain that you are going to be able to "get it all done".  AND you want me to meditate somewhere you in there?  Are you kidding?  No?  You're not?  Okay, well, I'll tell you what, I'll meditate if I have time.  If I get all of my stuff done, I'll hit the cushion.  

Sound familiar?  It does to me.  In fact, that is my prevailing story (or it was until I decided to change it).  Today I am working from home.  It is my first day back from holidays and my to-do list is literally 40 items long.  All of the items on there seem time-sensitive and "pressing".  

However, I know (from experience) that if I take the time to meditate FIRST that it is very likely that I'll actually get MORE done.  I know, weird, right?  

But it's true.  So, today, as soon as the house was empty, I took the time for a 30 minute meditation in which I set my intentions for the day, asked for help and then sat in stillness.  Now I feel calm and clear about what needs to get done and I am ready to go and do it!  Bam!


Day 3 - #365MeditationChallenge

I spent the day with my 8 year old son today.  It was his annual "yes day".  A yes day is a day in which I have to say "yes" to whatever he asks for.  Of course there are some parameters involved around money, etc., however what it really ends up being is a day where he and I go out and spend quality time together having as much fun as possible... with the odd cupcake and/or donut thrown in.  This year's yes day involved: meeting my sister and her boyfriend at an arcade center (which was surprisingly really fun), going out for lunch, mini golfing, a mirror maze, some "gamer" shopping, watching the hockey game, hosting a play date, and playing a few board games.  Whew!  While it was very fun day, I am also trying to convey that it was also a very FULL day with not a lot of "down time" and absolutely no "me time".  Having just returned from a trip that had quite a lot of "down time" and "me time" in comparison (sleeping in, morning coffee in the outside hot tub, hiking in the desert, etc.), it was quite the contrast!  Needless to say, today's meditation was a much needed (and deserved!) sanctuary at the end of the day.  The funny thing is, very often in the past I have had full days and then decided not to end the day with meditation.  Looking back on it, this makes absolutely no sense.  The one thing that would actually help me to integrate and calm down my nervous system prior to going to bed is something that I have historically avoided doing... truly bizarre.  And that is just one of the reasons that I am doing this challenge.  If I set a goal (and make it public), and commit to some kind of tracking mechanism to help me stay accountable, I am WAY more likely to head downstairs to the meditation room at the end of a long day instead of crashing into bed with a book or onto the couch with a Netflix show.  And, best yet: I have a pretty deep awareness that my whole being will benefit - allowing me to have the energy and stamina for more "yes days" in the future!  Huzzah!  




Day 2 - #365MeditationChallenge

Meditation in the morning.  I have already thrown out the idea that my videos need to "perfect"... clearly this one is not and yet it is PERFECT IN ITS IMPERFECTION!  That is my message today.  Even if the meditation itself is tricky (my mind wouldn't sit still at all this morning) just COMMIT to SIT and keep coming back.  Perry and I sat in our meditation room for 20 minutes today, and I had a really hard time with monkey brain.  Sometimes that is just how it is.  That being said, I did use a couple of techniques to help my mind stay present: breathing and centering exercise as well as using finger "mudras" and my mantra for 2017.  

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Day 1 - #365MeditationChallenge

Day one in the books!  This one was for 10 mins with Perry at Chickakoo lake.  As soon as we started a bunch of people showed up!  We kept right on sitting though and the main message today is that you can truly meditate anywhere and if it doesn't go as planned, that is okay!

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#365MeditationChallenge Introduction

Welcome!!! My goal for 2017 is to meditate every day.  I have been working towards this goal for years actually, but daily practice always seems to fall away somehow.  I thought that I would step it up a notch this year and challenge myself to not only meditate every day but to video blog the process as well.  My plan is for the videos to be 1 minute long so that if people wanted to follow along they could do so easily and it wouldn't take much time.  Other than that, there aren't a lot of other parameters... the meditations will continue to be embedded in and throughout my real life.  Some will be inside, some will be out, some will be solo and some will be with others. Every day I'll give you the gist of how long I sit for and who I was with and give you some kind of insight or message from the experience.  I hope to offer some ways for people to "sign up" and follow along and create their own challenge and I'll keep you posted on that here.

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