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Archive for the ‘work’ Category

So it appears that I am drawn to blogging at the start of the year, and then, like many new year’s resolutions, my writing dies off.  I am going to set yet another writing goal this year:  to write every day for at least 15 minutes — a combination of creative/nonfiction/blogging and researched based, academic writing — as well as keep a teaching journal on Monday and Wednesday afternoons before my meetings.

It is interesting to read last year’s posts.  While the difficulty of that deep depression is still vivid in my mind, I am also aware of and thrilled about how far I’ve come.  2011 may have been the year of medication, but 2012 was definitely the year of being med-free with meditation strongly contributing to that.  I worked hard on maintaining my meditation practice (though I fell off the proverbial “wagon” often — and am currently not regularly meditating — another resolution) and working through things by using my breath.  I have become more confident at my job based on a fair amount of positive feedback, though teaching evaluations still fill me with extreme dread.  I have also found a number of other things that help “save” me — always exercise — and some other less profound and perhaps more problematic modes of “feeling better”:  TV and staying busy.  I am not a huge fan of TV as mode of escape, but sometimes it does help.  I have a few favorite shows that just take me away from everything for an hour or two and it’s kind of like rebooting.  In the end, I resigned myself to the fact that a TV show each evening is less toxic to my body than the meds I was previously on.

Ultimately, I have reached a state of happiness.  Happiness in the form of contentment.  Things aren’t blissfully perfect and the spectre of depression still looms strong behind me.  But my consciousness of this fact helps motivate me to stay committed to exercise, yoga, meditation, and a range of other activities.  It also motivates me to work harder, since so much of my fear and anxiety stems from my job.  Work-wise I’ve decided to dive in fully rather than cower in the corner.

I saw an ad the other day for the book, A Whole New You by Brett Blumenthal.  Normally I would be immediately drawn to purchasing this book, and I will admit, I initially got excited at the prospect, but then I changed my mind.  It’s not that I have a problem with the concept of the book — the idea of changing something in your life that isn’t working for you.  But that “thing” doesn’t define a person, and changing it (or even a series of “things”) doesn’t create whole new person.  I am sure that this book is essentially similar to the kinds of books that I am interested in like The Happiness Project or May Cause Happiness (on my Good Reads “to read” list.  I just really don’t like the title.  This year I want to continue to work on myself, sure, but overall I think I am pretty okay and staying pretty much the same (true to myself) could be an important goal for 2013.

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I stopped meditating for a period of almost three weeks; hence the lack of blog entries. It wasn’t good. I lost myself. I let my emotions run me.

I started again yesterday — committing myself *again* to daily meditation. Day number two today, and I can say that it has been quite a struggle, but that is understandable.

I don’t know a lot about meditation, but I’ve learned enough to know that when a person starts meditating (and I suppose this also applies when a person starts meditating *again*), the number of thoughts that arise are abundant and frequent. I know also to be kind to myself (but this part is much more difficult than the realization that the arising of thoughts is the norm). I’ve experienced much anxiety and have done much obsessive planning while on the bench.

Still, at least I’ve done it. I’ve focused on more breaths than I would have if I hadn’t sat there at all. And I’m slowly rebuilding and reconnecting with the discipline and awareness involved in meditation (and that is necessary in life).

I received a zen alarm clock for christmas from my parents. I’m using it primarily as a meditation timer, as my partner tends to be my alarm clock. That change is also talking some getting accustomed to (it’s very different than programming the time on the microwave). My mother’s close friend nearly spit out her coffee when she heard the term “zen alarm clock.” She thought it sure sounds like an oxymoron, which it does. Now every time I hear it chime I picture her choking with laughter on her coffee!

Besides the ringing of zen chimes, we have just rung in the New Year! I have many resolutions this year, but they can kind of all be summed up with the word “balance.”

In particular, I want to try to keep my work life and personal life/down time very separate this year. I am rarely able to keep those boundaries, because my work as a teacher can easily be a 24-7 occupation. (Certainly it is one of the main thoughts that occupies my meditating mind). In the evenings when I sit down in the living room with my partner to relax and unwind and move toward bed, I tend to run and grab my laptop for that last e-mail check. I don’t want to do that this year. I want to create more distinct and clear boundaries — the goal being that when I am not working, I don’t still feel like I’m working and/or I don’t feel the guilt that always accompanies the not working moments of my life.

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