Thursday, June 10, 2010
With all my recent thoughts on mindfulness, I'm reminded of some of my favorite things in nature. I love its contrasts. I find so many things beautiful in the forest, by the ocean, or in the mountains or desert. But the best ones are the contrasts. A smooth, hard, gray boulder, with gentle green ferns growing next to it. A prickly cactus with a delicate pink flower blooming on it. The soft sounds of the tide with the raucus calls of a gull. The burbling brook flowing over a moss covered stone. A delicate moth sitting on the strong textures of a tree's bark.
These contrasts make me want to paint, to photograph, to quilt. I find them inspiring, and they sometimes are so stunning that they can take my breath away.
I'm very fortunate in my life. I've had the freedom to travel to exotic locations for scuba diving. And I've had the wherewithall to travel/live in my RV for five years, exploring this gorgeous country of ours. But on some days I find that I'm just as lucky, just as inspired, just as awestruck, to walk in the woods behind my new home. Full of tall trees, delicate ferns, ivy that's escaped from people's lawns, a little stream, and even the poison ivy. The green, lush beauty of home is as wonderful as any of the wonders that I've seen elsewhere.
It's good to be home.
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
I went to a "morning of mindfulness" retreat with my local meditation group this past weekend. We did a relaxation exercise, sitting meditation, walking meditation, and finally, a lunch in which we practiced mindful eating. It was a wonderful and relaxing time.
The thing that's stuck with me the most is the mindful eating. We ate most of our meal in "noble silence" and the meal seemed brighter somehow. The colors, textures and flavors of the meal were highlighted by my focus on it. I've only just gotten into meditation, but am feeling that the mindfulness, brought to everyday activities, might turn into my meditation form. I walked two of my dogs in a local park this week and I remembered to be mindful. Everytime my thoughts started whirling in my head I slowed down, looked around me, looked at my dogs, and tried to be fully present to every sensory input.
I've also brought mindfulness into my gardening. I'm a mixed bag about gardening. I don't crave time in the yard like my mom does. But sometimes I really enjoy it. There's a front patch that needed weeding and I decided to start on it the other night. It was pretty overwhelming, with TONS of crabgrass and clover. Remembering mindfulness, I brought out a blanket, sat down, and mindfully pulled weeds. I reminded myself there was no hurry. That it didn't matter if I got it all done that day. And I just stayed with the feeling of the earth, the sights of the worms crawling out of my way, the sound of the roots pulling out of the soil, and before I knew it I'd been out there an hour and that section was done!!!
I did it again tonight with the vegetable garden. I was out there almost two hours, and perhaps even more. I lost track of time and got a lot done.
Mindfulness. Being present in each moment. This is a practice that I hope to make a regular part of my life.
Friday, June 04, 2010
I saw my oncologist today for my three month followup. I've lost 12 pounds since he saw me last, and my blood pressure is so low I've gone off diltiazam and without the drug it's still lower than its been in years. I told him about it, and how healthy I feel. He's very supportive, and even had heard some of the research about meat-based diets and their impact on cancer, blood pressure, cholesterol, and so forth. He'll test my cholesterol next time I'm in, in hopes that that has lowered too.
I know that some folks don't get support from medical personnel on becoming vegetarian, so I'm really thrilled that my oncologist "gets it."
I feel fabulous!!!
Monday, May 31, 2010
I've looked back at the calendar, and reviewed my recent progress. Since April 19th, I've lightened my body by ten pounds!!! I can really see it in the mirror now. This morning I put on a t-shirt that had been too tight, and turned around to look at all angles. I am definately, visibly thinner. I have to immediately shut down the inner critic who tells me how far I still have to go, because that voice is still waiting in the wings to sabotage me. But I just tell it, "thanks, but no thanks. Look how far I've come and it'll only get better with time!"
I am feeling so good about myself. My legs have muscle. They are firming up quite nicely, and barely jiggle when I move around. I can walk and lift much more than I could. And to look at the calendar and realize how quickly this has happened is very encouraging.
I also feel really good about my food intake. I've switched to plant-based foods, and I feel much healthier already. I no longer have ANY cravings for candy, ice cream, potato chips, or any of the other foods that used to sabotage me so badly. My cravings now are for whole grains, apples, veggies ... it's awesome. I've never eaten so wholesomely, or healthfully, and it feels really good.
If you haven't read it, I highly recommend "The China Study." It shows decades of research implicating meat and dairy consumption in the formation of diseases such as breast cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, colorectal cancers, immune system diseases, heart disease, and much more. I wish my doctors had told me this when I was diagnosed with osteopenia, breast cancer, high blood pressure and high cholesterol!
Thursday, May 27, 2010
My quilt guild is involved in a nationwide project to make pillowcases for children with cancer. The idea is that they'd each have something fun and colorful of their own while in the hospital. I've seen various patterns for them, but our guild is using a three-fabric pattern that's really fun to make. In order to make sure I understood the seemingly bizarre instructions, I made one for myself today. The pillowcases I make for children will not be subtle in color like this one, as this was made to please only myself. Demonstrating the comfort of this new pillowcase is my Italian greyhound Walker.
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