Yesterday I completed the final day’s meditation and journaling for the three-week journey that Tiffany Cruikshank offers in Meditate Your Weight. She’s a doctor who has been using this course with her own patients for years, helping them lose weight, and so she decided to publish it.
Around January, I’d become frustrated with the 5-10 pounds I’d gained over the past couple of years and I didn’t know what to do about it. I eat super healthy (or at least 80/20) and usually worked out 5 times a week. I thought I’d give a go at examining the mental side of things and see if that was my issue, as I suspected it was (because I’m really hard on myself mentally, about most things).
I love reading books like this – and one of Gabby Bernstein’s books that’s a 40 day mental work-out – because it gives me something to look forward to doing every morning. I really enjoyed checking the box of, ‘Yup, done!’ I also, and I HATE to admit this, loved the freedom from my Vedic meditation practice for three weeks. I think I just needed a break. I don’t know why, but I did. Don’t judge me.
Anyways, it’s a 3 week process to go through and unpack your mental baggage that you have about yourself as a person and the image of yourself; to discover what makes you feel good and what gifts you have to offer the world. It sounds cheesy, but it was helpful. The best day is probably day 18, which is the visualization meditation. Where you visualize (duh) yourself at your healthiest. It’s powerful. I felt really good after. I also really enjoyed the daily mantra one day of “My inner glow makes me radiant.” I might get that printed on a bracelet. Stop it, I know it’s cheesy.
Did I lose any weight, you might be wondering. I lost a couple of pounds, but her message overall is to find your healthiest SELF, not your healthiest weight. She actually recommends throwing your scale out.
So, two thumbs up for this book. It’s good to work on your health mentally just as it is to work on it physically. I celebrated finishing it with a 5k and an iced coffee at my favorite coffee shop. #winning
Five or so days before my yoga teacher training started, I was attending a ton of yoga classes, including kundalini yoga. I was still partially freaking out all the time about OMG WHAT AM I GOING TO DO AFTER TRAINING so when my kundalini teacher said, “We’re doing a kriya set for prosperity today!” I was all, “Yessss.”
She advised we do this for 40 days and then it would help bring us prosperity. I believe we’re all energy so anything to change my energy in the direction of prosperity sounded all good to me. I decided to try it. I was supposed to be done the day before Valentine’s Day, but I missed a few nights here and there so I continued doing it through last Friday.
Now it’s over and I feel good about having done it for 40 or so days. Hopefully the ‘prosperity’ part will kick in soon. The actual meditation is past the jump!
Sit comfortably, placing your left hand over your left hand on your heart and close your eyes. For at least 3 minutes (11 minutes maximum), repeat to yourself: “I am bountiful, I am blissful, I am beautiful. Excel, excel, fearless!”
After that, flip both of your palms so the pinkie sides of your hands are touching and on your next exhale, flip the palms so the index sides of your fingers touch, and your left thumb is crossing over your right thumb under your palms.
The word you chant, out loud this time, is “har,” which when pronounced correctly sounds like “hud.” So, for 3-11 minutes, chant “har” on your exhale while flipping your palms to face up and down.
They say that doing this for more than 11 minutes is considered greedy, but 3 minutes is the absolute minimum.
Today was most people’s first day back to work after a most likely stupidly long break for the holidays and such. I still have a week until yoga teacher training starts though, so I slept stupidly late today (for me, which is 9:40am) because Playbill wouldn’t stop meowing around 7am. Anyways, I had a series of small wins today and I wanted to log them here and hope it inspires you guys to log your own tiny wins:
AM Pilates Session: Last week I used Perkville points to book a 30 minute private pilates session and today was the day. It was my first time using pilates equipment and it was pretty interesting. I still like yoga better but I think I need to incorporate pilates at least once a week into my regimen.
Sushi Lunch: Is sushi healthy? I caught up with an old work friend that I hadn’t seen in a month or more. We’re not super close, but it was good to see her. We went to Sushi Yusaka on 72nd street and it was really good. You know it’s going to be good when they haven’t opened the doors yet and there are already 20 people outside waiting to get in. I didn’t get any tempura rolls, so that’s a win for healthy eating right there.
To Do Lists: I combined my two different to-do list apps into one. And added a bunch of additional things “to do.”
Dairy Free: Another day dairy free! Note: I was not meat-free. Just giving myself a week off from consuming dairy. Second note: I’ve been way less bloated since Sunday!
Meditated Twice: Morning meditations are easy. I get up, I pee, I meditate. It’s the afternoon ones that I’ve been struggling to remember to do (mostly because it was the holidays, but whatever), but today I managed to sit for a second time.
Cooked: I made some kind of risotto and I’m about to make a big bowl of tabouli. I’ll also spiralize a bunch of vegetables to have on hand.
Cleaned Up: I went through a couple of boxes that’ve been hiding under my bed and filed or threw away a big pile of papers. #declutteringFTW
Emails: In a moment of What’s Next panic last night, I sent a bunch of emails to a few recruiters that I know and a few contacts in the entertainment industry about any possible jobs. I received responses from all of my entertainment industry peeps and that made me feel really good. I made a couple of appointments with two recruiters this week, just so I’m at a good place when training is over, should I decide to take on a FT role again (as opposed to working several different part-time gigs, etc.).
Reading: I finished Breaking Vegan after only 2 days. It’s super inspiring and I truly believe that Jordan Younger is an actually fantastic person (this is just an assumption as I’ve not met her in person!). I’m not vegan, and never plan on being vegan, but this was a great read regardless. Next up: Better Than Before, by Gretchen Rubin. I’ve read her other two books so I’m looking forward to reading this one, too.
Last Tuesday, Gabrielle Bernstein kicked off the tour for her new book, The Universe Has Your Back, in New York at a church in the East Village. Since I’d just been to her last talk a few weeks prior, I decided to buy a streaming ticket so that J and I could watch it live together. I wanted him to experience but I figured an entire in-person night might be a bit overwhelming.
The only thing I was curious of is whether or not Gabby’s presence would transcend my TV. She talks a lot about presence in her lectures and especially in her newest book. I knew it wouldn’t be the same, but I wondered just how different it would be. After eating some sweet potato noodles, we settled onto my couch with Playbill tuned in, literally.
Luckily, it was still worth it. She brought her A-game and she delivered as she told stories, a lot of which I’ve heard before but J hadn’t, and the meditations rocked, too.
If you don’t live in a city where Gabby tours to, fear not, and buy a live stream ticket. It’s almost as good, which is better than not being there at all.
Last Wednesday night I was invited to see Small Mouth Sounds by playwright Bess Wohl at the Pershing Square Signature Center on 42nd Street. I’d been unable to attend the first “buzzmaker” event so I was super stoked to have another opportunity to see it. I mean, after all, could it be more perfect for me? A play about a silent meditation retreat? I think not. I brought J with me because he’s been getting a little more into meditation recently and enjoys seeing a play every now and then.
The participants of the retreat are your basic stereotypes – obnoxious dedicated yogi, trainwreck white female, the couple who’s having issues, the grieving father, etc. We only hear the guru over the PA system (until the very end) and he’s not a very good guru because he sounds like he’s basically reading from a script.
In yoga and meditation classes i’ve taken, we’re always told to be very mindful of what we discover in the silence between our breaths, the poses, etc, so a lot of what was being discovered onstage was ringing true to me. It’s always when we’re quietest that we learn the most (this is basically true in any situation in life).
There are breakthroughs and deceptions, sexual encounters and realizations, and moments of comedy, too. Towards the end of the play, the guru begs his students to “PLEASE CHANGE” out of frustration at their lack of spiritual progress. Ironically, this leads to the most change that any of the characters experience throughout the entire week.
The characters leave a little bit more woken up than when they arrived, but still basically the same. And so does the audience. I’d highly recommend Small Mouth Sounds, which is playing through October 8th.
When I heard Gabby Bernstein was doing a free two-hour workshop if you pre-ordered her new book, The Universe Has Your Back, I immediately clicked my way over to Amazon and purchased said-book. It’s not being released until the end of September but last week we got a crash course in manifesting the life we want on a sweltering evening in the East Village.
She talked for about an hour and a half and threw in a few meditations, too – including her usual meditation for protection in the beginning and her kundalini meditation for manifesting at the end. She talked about a recent conflict that she had been in with a friend and how in her meditation on the fight, she started to think about how much she loved this friend and the feeling she cultivated in her meditation completely dissolved any anger she felt towards her. I’ll try that next time I’m feeling angry with someone.
There were lots of tears and hugs given out during the Q&A. Gabby dispersed lots of great advice. When a woman asked what to do when she said “wouldn’t it be nice, if..” (as Gabby has suggested to get out a rut) made her cry because she wanted her boyfriend to want what she wanted, she said this woman needed to focus on herself and not trying to control someone else. Mic drop.
The talk went a little over so I was ready to get home after, so I left as soon as it was over. But it was a great experience. I went in feeling really exhausted and not all that psyched to sit through a talk, despite how awesome Gabby is, but by the end of the first meditation, I was glad I came.
Her book release party is in late September. You should totally buy tickets. She may sound new age-y, but she’s also awesome.
I’ve been practicing transcendental meditation (aka vedic meditation) for about 3 weeks now. I’ve been meditating twice daily since January 2013 so finding the time to meditate twice a day is easy and I’m really dedicated to fitting it in every day. i’ve been stealing away to a dark call room at my office for twenty minutes in the afternoon. It’s so nice to recharge.
But my small roof gathering got in the way of my second meditation on Saturday night and I really beat myself up over it. For, like, two days. But I got over it. Beating myself up over it won’t change my missing the sitting.
Then it almost happened again tonight. The afternoon at work was busy and by the time I got home from the office, I didn’t have enough time to sit before my yoga class.
What to do. it’s generally suggested to do the second meditation between 2pm and 8pm because it’s an energizing meditation and you don’t want to be up all night if you do it at too late an hour.
So, here’s what I did: I sat and meditated for 7 minutes while I waited for the train to come after yoga and then another 11 minutes once I was on the train. 18 minutes isn’t 20 minutes, but it’s better than nothing.
I’m not beating myself up this time. I got in a lot and I’m happy with it.
Sometimes when I’m almost home, like a couple of stops on the train away, I get anxious.
I get anxious and think: “I hope my cat is okay.” (There’s no reason she should not be.) “I hope the train doesn’t break down. What if it does?” (If it does, I could walk I’m so close.) “It’s so hot out. I really hope I don’t have to walk home if the train breaks down.” (Shut up.)
And on, and on, and on.
I’ve never gotten anxious when I’m far away from home. Maybe that’s because I’m nowhere near it and so worrying is futile. Or I know someone is with Playbill, so no need to worry. I don’t know. I don’t know why I get so anxious when I’m so close to home I could (if I really wanted to) walk rest of the and it would take 20 minutes, max.
But yesterday, around 79th Street, I noticed it and instead of stewing in the anxiety and feeding it, I began to breathe into it and ask why I was feeling this way. I felt it and let it go. I told myself I’d be home soon.
And it worked. It was nice. I got home and Playbill was fine. I was fine. My night was relaxed because I didn’t let the anxiety of my subway ride take over.
I went to see the San Francisco Giants play the Yankees at Yankee Stadium last Friday with my dad as a belated Father’s Day gift. It was hot as hell out but luckily the sun was going down and there was water, so all was well.
The Giants lost by 1 run (sad face) but as I watched the players of each time wind up to pitch or watching the pitcher so he could swing, I started thinking about meditation and how beneficial meditation would be to the MLB.
I found myself thinking, “How do they block out the noise?” Seriously, between the chanting and boo’ing, I found it hard to concentrate on the action myself. How do they do it??
Well, a quick Google search told me that they do. A player named Shawn Green even wrote a book about it. Maybe I’ll read it. I’m glad meditation has permeated this game and it’s players because as you know, I think everyone everywhere should meditate. So, let’s take this shit mainstream and the MLB is a good place to start.
I’d never gone on a yoga retreat before last weekend. I remember a few years ago I was debating on coming up to the same farm for a similar yoga retreat with one of my favorite teachers at the time and I decided that I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, spend the money. This time around I’m a little better off and it was pretty cheap as far as weekend yoga retreats go (they’re sometimes thousands of dollars???) so I signed up as I found out that one of my current favorite teachers, Chrissy Carter, was teaching up at a spot called Heathen Hill over the last weekend in the Catskills.
I’ve never been much of a nature person (the one time I tried camping I was bit by a deer tick and got limes disease) but I was willing to give this a shot because I wouldn’t necessarily have to be out in nature. I wouldn’t have to hike or go in a canoe. I could read and journal in between yoga classes and have that be that.
There’s also incredibly limited cell reception up there. You have to walk to the top of a hill about 8 minutes away to get, at best, spotty service. I was nervous about that but Justin was watching the catch for one night and then my mom wanted to hang out in the city, so she took over the second night. Still. No cell service?! AH.
I carpooled it up there with three lovely women – two of whom were yoga teachers themselves – and we had a fun time, despite getting lost in northern Jersey and the traffic heading up there that made us miss the Friday evening class. It was what it was. We were able to relax into our rooms and walk amongst the chickens instead.
The food was farm fresh, mostly vegan, but all at least was vegetarian. The only time we had meat was at brunch on Sunday. There was even cauliflower flatbread. We all freaked out over it. There were also the farm fresh snap peas and homemade dill dip which was to die for. And the homemade ice cream? And the homemade asian coleslaw? Dead.
Chrissy kept talking reiterating during her dharma talks in class about creating space in our lives for stillness and that we all had space that weekend to do whatever we wanted. There was no internet or cell phone service, or work commitments that we had to take care of. We were here for self-care purposes. She talked about not having to rush from one thing to another because there was no place to be. We had permission to stop pretending to be busy. She said we could stop and truly find out what we needed at that moment, and maybe in our lives going forward.
She told us that one thing she wanted us to take away from this weekend was the ability to create that space for ourselves even when we were back in the city again with a million things to do when it seems like we have no time (from that bad habit we Americans have of having to make ourselves appear busy when we never really are).
It was incredibly liberating to have nothing to do, as well as incredibly frustrating. I have all of this time and nothing to do.. oh my goodness. I could read, or write, or take a walk, or go hang out with my fellow yogis, or meditate, or try to pick up one of the chickens, or pet the owner’s cats.
What did I end up doing? I read Elie Wiesle’s Night. I journaled a lot. I spent about 5 minutes down by the watering hole before deciding that the bugs were just not for me. I watched the sunrise on both days. I meditated. I met a lot of awesome people. I made s’mores by the campfire. I ate delicious food fresh from the farm, and I slept really well. I also drank some wine.
I really felt like not talking during the weekend. I started wishing it was a silent retreat on the first day. I balanced out my alone time with the time that I spent with my fellow yogis. Also: no one talked about politics. Score.
There were several women – in their late 30′s and 40′s – who also wanted nothing to do with having kids. Oh, what’s that? You have a completely fulfilling life without having to devote it to raising human larve? You’re my heros. #vindication
I never did catch a chicken, but my new friends did place a chickens in my arms not just once, but twice. Those guys are so cute!
By the time Sunday brunch was finished, I was ready to head back to the city. Fresh and clear-minded this time. I’d had my fill of nature for now.
i’ll definitely do this again. I’m not sure when but sometime soon.