Enjoying the Sweet Spot with Gidget

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Almost every morning after my yoga practice, I meditate for a few moments.

Sometimes Gidget sits beside me, resting her head on my leg. But from what I’ve read and understand, it’s just as beneficial for her if she is sleeping in her bed on the floor next to me.

I used to get frustrated (and sometimes still do) when meditating, thinking “My mind won’t stop talking!”

This is another lesson I’ve come to understand is that it is not about shutting your mind off completely. It’s learning to go of the thoughts without judgement and just letting them float on by.

So here I was meditating Tuesday morning. I choose a word to bring myself back to center when my thoughts wonder. I chose stillness as my word for this particular day.

I set the timer on my phone for 15-minutes. In the background I had music softly playing- Reiki Ocean part 6 on Pandora is my favorite.

I got comfy in my big wicker chair and closed my eyes. Gidget takes a few moments to settle in, but I let her do her thing and try to not let it distract me. I love how it feels to have her beside me which grounds me.

Here’s an example of my meditation thought process from Tuesday.

Stillness.
I have to work on my newsletter today.
What am I going to write about?
Stillness.
Mmmm, that feels good.
I want to write about mindfulness too.
Stillness.
I forgot to take the chicken out for dinner.
Stillness.
Was that a car door I just heard slam?
Don’t look. Keep your eyes closed.
Stillness.
I can’t forget to make copies for Saturday’s workshop.
Stillness.

And on and on it goes. This is normal. It’s those in-between times, what Dr. Wayne Dyer calls the gap, that is meditation.  Those sweet spots of calm. It is so worth it to move through my thoughts, finding my way back to the word and the center that grounds me.

And having Gidget in the room, or beside me, is so worth it too.

Even if your pet isn’t in the room with you, I’ve heard this is still beneficial for them. They can feel that good, relaxing, renewing energy no matter where they are. Just picture them in your mind and set your intention, and they will benefit.

I read somewhere that even if you are the only person who meditates in the household that it actually benefits everyone. I think that makes perfect sense. And it’s another reason meditation makes me feel good to know that I may be holding the center for someone else. Even my sweet dogs.

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Moved to Tears at the Grocery Store Today

Spring

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As I pulled into a parking spot of Piggly Wiggly, a purple car pulled up next to me. A woman with a lavender knit cap on and a purple fleece jacket smiled at me. It is in the low 60s and I was wondering why this woman had such a warm hat on.

At first I didn’t recognize her. As she began rolling down the window of her car, I then realized it was someone I had worked with at a local resort years ago.

Jeanne has always had the most beautiful smile. We walked together to the front of the grocery store, standing outside and catching up.

In 2011 she was diagnosed with lung cancer. She was a smoker. The cancer moved to her brain. She had screws and plates put in her head and has had a lot of radiation.

She told me the fact she is still alive today is because of so many people all over the world praying for her. She calls her doctor, who told her it’s not if the tumors will come back in her brain, but a matter of when, Dr. Doom and Gloom. She tries to not take him too seriously.

I sat in awe of this amazing spirit of Jeanne standing in front of me as she told me how grateful she is to still be here. And that she knows where she is going someday and isn’t afraid.

She shared with me some sadness she experienced, of which she really has never experienced much sadness. And yes, from what I knew of her from working with her, she was always happy and laughing. She still is. I believe that is the reason she still is here – because of her positive attitude.

But her sadness one day, while she wasn’t sure what it was at first, finally came to her. She was sad for her two children – still in their teenage years. She felt guilty for being sick and that they have to endure this. She’d do anything to not have them feel the pain of this.

She called her pastor’s wife and shared with her how she was feeling. As she was telling me this, I wondered what on earth the pastor’s wife could possibly say to help Jeanne through this and make her feel better.

She said, “Jeanne, who do those children belong to?”

Jeanne knew right away and said, “God.”

And with all the compassion in the world the pastor’s wife said, “That’s right. And don’t you think God will take care of them for you?”

I was moved to tears. Not only because I believe this to be true, but also the profound strength and courage that Jeanne is. Though she is very humble and wants none of the credit for that. She told me it is God. Not her.

She sees Him as using her to be this vessel of inspiration that she is to many, including me.

I drove home feeling as if I had just encountered a part of God myself. And I did, really. He put Jeanne in my path to put life all back into perspective again.

She told me she knows her days are numbered – but we both agreed – do we really even know that?  We don’t.

I have a feeling ten years from now I’ll be running into her at the grocery store again.

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Wednesdays with the Wisdom of Dog: Mindfulness

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My dear friend Marie says that every thing we do, from washing dishes, cooking dinner, working, art, or anything in life really, is to approach it as a blessing.

It’s a way of being mindful and in the moment of each task that you do, instead of jumping ahead in your mind of what needs to be done next.

I can’t help but think how my dogs teach me about mindfulness. When I devote my total attention to them and not worrying about what I might need to do next, it is a blessing indeed with many rewards. I also have come to see it as a meditative practice, too.

Jon Kabat-Zinn was on Super Soul Sunday this past week talking about mindfulness. It struck me how he said that when you are taking a shower, he said, to just take a shower. Don’t think about what is ahead for the day. It won’t make those things get done any faster. Isn’t that the truth?

As I brushed Kylie last night I thought about this. And how just brushing her and not worrying about when dinner would get done or what I was going to do after dinner—it would all work itself out. It always does.

How much time we spend in this “what’s next” and “what if” thinking stage that we miss out on the moment right in front of us. And when in the moment, if we can practice mindfulness, how calm and at peace our minds can truly be.

Dogs do this every single moment of the day. Did you ever notice that? I know it’s why I love being in their presence so much. Even when I’m not practicing being mindful, oftentimes just seeing them reminds me to slow down, savor, and drink slowly from the gift of life.

I think perhaps Gidget isn’t practicing mindful thinking in this photo as it appears to me as if she is saying, “When’s it my turn mom? I want to be next. Please brush me next.” Gotta love dogs.

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