Dear Saturday Busy Bees, 

Happy saturday everyone!

Saturday, a good day to go a little easier on yourself, downshift from the week, and take some breaks. We all need to replenish and rejuvenate from time to time. I’ve noticed that many of us are forgoing those times of replenishment though and plowing through the weekend with our long to-do lists.

Whether you’re a staunch weekend relaxer or a Saturday busy bee, there’s many ways to take a break AND feed your soul. Finding “you time” doesn’t mean channel surfing all day on the couch. You can make space for yourself in the 5-minute car ride to the grocery store or the 1-minute pause while you wait for the coffee to finish brewing. Sure, it may not be the same as a spa day in the mountains, but rejuvenation can happen moment by moment no matter where you are.  Here are some ways to take a break and stay connected.

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Enjoy your fabulous weekend!

Simone

Weekend To-Do (Good) List

Is it Friday already??

Here you go everyone, your to-do list with a twist. The weekend is more than mowing the lawn, taking the kids to soccer, catching up on your stored shows, etc etc. Let’s not just do our weekend like we normally do. Let’s inject a good dose of GOOD into the world. I’m making it easier for you by giving you these few leads. I’m sure some of you are doing good in ways that I can’t even imagine. Please…inspire us! Share your good actions so we can join you and get something done!

This week, I’m offering one item for each of three areas of connection that I write about : animal connection, inner connection, and ecoconnection. Enjoy!

~~~S Wave~~~

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1. Animal Connection: The Pata Zoo According to Mindful Wanderer

There is a couple I’ve been following lately. No, I don’t mean I’m stalking them around Los Angeles. I’m following them on Facebook and Instagram of course. Their names are Giselle and Cody and seem like pretty neat people to know. Their blog is called Mindful Wanderlust. They write about vegan lifestyle, animal rights, ecotravel, LGBT issues, tattoos and many other things. Just look at how fun they are:

Giselle and Cody of Mindful Wanderlust

Giselle and Cody of Mindful Wanderlust

Anyway, I digress.

Recently, Giselle and Cody were traveling in Bangkok,Thailand where they encountered the Pata Zoo. They visited this place to find out how animals were being treated at a small zoo in the Pata department store, a “decrepit building in the middle of a local area of busy Bangkok.”

Inside they documented images of isolated, neglected, understimulated, and abused (yes, restriction of any semblance of natural behaviors/stimulation is abuse) animals, including an isolated gorilla, an orangutan and her infant, and a penguin who lives all by himself and hides in his shelter almost all day. The pictures they shared on their blog are tragic (though, not graphic for any of you who worry about that.)  Click on this picture of Bua Noi to view the full story:

Bua Noi, the lone gorilla at the Pata Zoo. Photo Credit: Mindful Wanderlust

Bua Noi, the lone gorilla at the Pata Zoo.
Photo Credit: Mindful Wanderlust

Giselle and Cody were enraged and heartbroken for these animals which they rightly called “prisoners.” Giselle and Cody are used to putting their sense of injustice to work and that is what they have done.

They have started a petition on Change.org which you can find by

CLICKING HERE.

It will literally take you no more than 2 minutes to fill in your name and information, copy the URL and paste it to your Facebook. Can you do that? How about for Humbolt?:

Humbolt the Penguin Photo Credit: Mindful Wanderlust

Humbolt the Penguin
Photo Credit: Mindful Wanderlust

How about for this baby who has never touched grass and deserves to know more than concrete and metal?:

Baby Orangutan captive and Pata Zoo Photo Credit: Mindful Wanderlust

Baby Orangutan captive and Pata Zoo
Photo Credit: Mindful Wanderlust

Thank you for caring. From me, from Giselle and Cody, and most of all from the animals. May our travels be of compassion and kindness.

2. Inner Connection: Mindful 

Speaking of the word “mindful,” I recently started a morning meditation practice with more diligence than usual. A friend and I are doing it together and–not surprisingly!–I am already feeling the benefits throughout my day. Along with silent meditation, we are using the great book, Living In the Moment by Anna Black to learn some ways of carrying mindfulness into our everyday lives.

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I wanted to share one of the exercises in the book that I have found particularly enlightening. Black calls it, Who Are You Showering With?

“When you shower in the morning, take a moment or two to notice who has ‘joined’ you… Who are you thinking about–perhaps it is your boss, or colleagues at work, maybe it is someone you are going to see later that day, or perhaps it is someone you talked to yesterday. It might be your partner, your children, your parents, your next-door neighbor.. How many people are in the shower with you?

“Then, begin focusing on the physical sensations of showering… the water running off your skin… the temperature of the water… the soap lathering up between your fingers. Notice when you experience a sensation of delight or when there might be a feeling of pushing away or dislike. There is not a right way to shower and whether we are invigorating ourselves first thing in the morning, simply shampooing our hair, or cooling off after a hot day, all we are doing is paying attention to the act of taking a shower.

“Tip: Identifying who turns up in the shower regularly may give you some helpful feedback on where you preoccupations are at any one time.” 

Try this out this weekend. It’s amazing where our mind goes and who it goes with during such a short, sublime time of the day. Can you stay in the moment? Can you be with your own sensations of pleasure. I promise…you’ll like this one.

3. EcoConnection: Earthing

A few years ago,my father brought my attention to a book and video about “Earthing.” He sends me the most interesting things to read about, or to watch on youtube and documentaries. This was one.

Earthing is based on the idea that connecting to the earth physically, say by walking barefoot or lying down on the lawn, actually transmits the electrons from the Earth into our bodies. That in turn, is supposed to be beneficial for our physical and emotional wellbeing.

Because it is hard for some people to actually step (bare)foot on the ground (maybe because of urban dwelling or extreme temperatures for example), people have designed a device that you can attach to your feet while you sleep. It is “grounded” in the Earth somehow and is supposed to be able to transmit those healing electrons into your body.

I don’t know about the device. I’ve never tried it…yet. (I’m up for anything!) But I definitely believe in the healing power of nature.

So this weekend, let’s all agree that we’re going to get our green on!

Photo Credit: Life As a Wave

Photo Credit: Life As a Wave

One way or another, let’s get into nature. Yes, hug a tree. Yes, smell the roses. Yes, lie in the grass. Sit and be still…listen to the sounds of nature and notice the feel of the air on your skin. Notice a bug and watch it as it lives in its moment. Give thanks for the astounding biological system all around you of which you are just a small participant. Let yourself revel in that smallness.

Then tell me if you don’t feel just a little bit better!

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Now you can connect with Life As a Wave on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. We’ll see you there!

Freedom On the Mat

 

Eventually you will see that the real cause of problem is not life itself. It’s the commotion the mind makes about life that really causes the problems.
― Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

 

I’ve been practicing yoga on my own now for a while but just this past year I have been practicing with others at a yoga studio. The presence of others can certainly challenge the practice, especially initially! Judgement, embarrassment, distraction, all kinds of energies swirling around the room…it can be difficult to focus with all these things contending for attention. Our mind wants to react to it all!

What a joy it has been to face these exterior and inner workings with curiosity. By no means have I overcome the temptations of the mind during my practice, but that’s not really the point anyway is it? Instead of overcoming (a bit too violent a term for me these days) the mind and its wanderings, what is better sought perhaps is a steady awareness in the midst of the wanderings. Or, as others have talked about it, remaining in the Seat of the Witness as distractions come and go, generating reactionary thoughts and emotions in our psyche.

Now, on a great day, I am eager for the challenge of going with the “flow,” riding the waves, and letting my yoga practice be one of mindfulness as well. Even on a not-so-great day I find that I can at the least be comfortable with the surroundings and the resulting mind chatter, knowing that each practice is unique and has something to teach. I have also come to terms with my yoga practice being JUST. WHAT. IT. IS. …no more and no less. I begin with fewer expectations, judge myself less, enjoy my breath more, and notice unfamiliar nuances of my body electric with great gratitude. The practice guides me more and more and there is actually a great sense of freedom in that.

Last evening, as I meditated and prayed in my room, sitting on my yoga mat, I was struck with the similarity of the challenges one faces in these activities as well. Challenges and benefits. Outer distraction, the wandering mind, physical discomfort, self-judgment…there they are, ready to greet you during your “quiet time” (an ironic label actually.) They require the same detached allowing as they do in yoga. And, just as the yoga mat can teach us to remain open to what our body calls us to do during our yoga practice, so too the mat of spiritual practice beckons us to heed what our hearts call us to do in spiritual practice. When we let go of rules and scripts before going inside to meet with god and our Self in prayer and meditation, we find that same freedom that we find in yoga. We flow in the trusting of our Selves, our body, and our connection to god.

May you find freedom on your mat!

Blessings,

~~~S Wave~~~

 

Saturday Mindfulness

Saturday is a good day to practice mindfulness. For many of us it is a day of relaxation and respite from the hectic weeks that are behind and ahead of us.

But, just like the past and future can consume or thoughts and usurp our awareness in the present, so the previous and future work weeks can sneak into our Saturdays. Today, let yourself practice mindfulness in the small moments. Taking a shower, preparing a meal, doing the dishes, driving with the kids. These activities pass by unnoticed as we rush about but they make up a majority of our time. Notice the sensations that you experience and appreciate the small details during these seemingly mundane tasks. Even just pick one to practice with. Be aware of how much you are thinking about Monday or last Friday versus thinking about the present instant that is happening.

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I just began a new chapter in Living in the Moment by Anna Black. The chapter is titled, Cultivating Well-Being. Here is an excerpt for you to think about…

“Oftentimes we are on automatic pilot to the degree that we look back and have no recollection of the process of getting up and going out of the door. In this way we lose the moments that make up our life and once lost, they are gone forever. By paying close attention to these regular activities we can reclaim the lost minutes of our day, and by connecting with our experience during these activities, we can connect more deeply with our life.”

Have a wonderful weekend, Waves! May you be alive and vibrant in your NOWs.

May I Be the Duck

There is a lovely little documentary called, “How To Cook Your Life.” In it a monk, Edward Espe Brown, imparts zen philosophies for life in the context of cooking. I’ve watched it many times…especially in the kitchen! There is one point in the film when Espe Brown recites a poem written by his mother before her death. I have this poem posted in my home. It reminds me of my position in life. It reminds me of the great ocean of mystery and potential that always surrounds me. It reminds me to rest in the moment.

Here it is for you.

Ocean of the Long Tailed Duck by Doug Hiser

Ocean of the Long Tailed Duck by Doug Hiser

Now we are ready to look at something pretty special.

It’s a duck

Riding on the waves a hundred feet beyond the surf.

It can rest while the Atlantic heaves

Because it rests in the Atlantic.

Probably it doesn’t know how large the ocean is

And neither do you.

But what does it do, I ask you?

It sits down in it.

It rests in the immediate as though it were infinity.