Mini-Meditations

woman meditating

The whole notion of “meditating” can be intimidating.  We have images of Eastern folks sitting in ashrams with chanting monks in the background.  They seem transfixed and unfamiliar to the Western eye.  The imagery seems exclusive and in our rushed lives, impossible to implement.  And why would we “waste the time” when we’re only going to be sitting there thinking of what productive thing we could be doing instead!?

Steven Covey, in his book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” offers the practice of sharpening the saw.  He states that we can hack away at a tree with a dull saw, thinking we’re working hard and accomplishing something, or we can take the time to sharpen the saw and operate efficiently and effortlessly.

Maybe we don’t have to create a daunting ceremony to accomplish this and simply can take a moment here and there to close our eyes and breathe.  Maybe we can stop the mad rush and feel our own presence.  I call that a “mini-meditation.”

There are types of breathing that realign our scattered nervous systems.  One type is “4-6-8 breathing.”  Inhale to the count of 4, hold your breath to the count of 6, exhale to the count of 8.  Your nervous system will thank you!  Just noticing your scatter is a huge step rather than running on adrenal hormones to the point of burnout.

Quality of effort is more efficient that quantity of effort.  And it leaves time to read a blog from your friend Rosanne!

With love, Rosanne Bostonian

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The Ear Buds Travesty

coffee shop

I love that first cup of coffee in the morning!  Yes, I can make coffee, but going to the coffee bar at QuickChek (don’t judge me) is part of my morning routine.  I choose the “Columbian” coffee, medium sized cup.  I use five packets of Stevia, light cream and in a gesture of self-indulgence, I add a little whipped cream to top it off.  Ahhh!

The other morning I was in the throes of my coffee ritual when a friendly woman sidled up next to me and started preparing her coffee.  It went like this:

Woman:  “Good morning!”

Me:   “Good morning.” (Still preparing my coffee)

Woman:  “How is your day going so far!?”

Me:    “Great!  Don’t you love that first cup of coffee!?”

Woman:  “What do you have planned for your day?”

Me:   “Oh, will do some paperwork and prepare for my class later.”

Woman:  “What are you doing after work?”

Me:  (Feeling awkward) “Uh, well I finish pretty late, so…”  (I look up)

I see that the woman has ear buds in and has been talking to someone else, not me.  I’ve been having a conversation with someone who wasn’t having a conversation with me!!  Ridiculous and laughable!

They say that 80% of information comes through the eyes and that eye contact is a major component of communication.  I will remember that

With love, Rosanne Bostonian

Less Talkie, More Walkie

Everyone is talking

The iconic TV personality Judge Judy had a saying, “You have two ears and one mouth for a reason!”  She could have said, “You have two feet, two hands and one mouth for a reason…”

 The point is that we LOVE to talk.  Everyone has an opinion to express themselves on various media and we all consume the “Talkie” in abundance.  It’s like a lullaby that rocks us to sleep, but the sleep seems more dangerous as time goes by.

I’m guilty of the same thing.  I have no clue how the new tax laws will affect us, do you?  I’ve listened to “Talkie,” but haven’t done the “Walkie” to mobilize and ask questions.  I’ll follow the parade now and try to pick up the pieces and make some sense out of them, but maybe mobilizing earlier may have been a better idea.

“Walkie” to me means being proactive and taking care of business.  It means having something besides words to show for yourself at the end of a day.

On the other hand, “Talkie” is endless regurgitation of what is already known in different words.  People do “Talkie” sometimes sincerely and seriously and sometimes arrogantly, and sarcastically.  They take a position and run with it, assimilating new events into old paradigms.  “Talkie, talkie and more talkie.”

It seems like the more convincing the “Talkie,” the more money people make.  This doesn’t mean they’ve actually done something, produced something, or have been accountable.  Maybe that’s the problem; while some of us are trying to earn a living, the talkers have free rein to reconfigure reality.

At the end of the day, someone has to “Walk the Talk” and perform acts of value. A teacher has to actually teach, a soldier has to show up and have his/her boots on the ground, a carpenter or artist has to create an object of worth, a farmer has to harvest a crop.  That’s all “Walkie.”  In my humble opinion, we need more of that and less of the other.

Maybe this situation is an artifact of an information processing culture as against an industrially based or agriculturally based culture?  Whatever is the cause, I’ll stop my written “Talkie” now and work on the syllabus for the course I’m teaching next semester.  As the blowhards create the noise, we’d best trim our sails and figure out where their winds of change are taking us!

With love, Rosanne Bostonian

“Say Yes to the Dress”

Bride dressing for wedding

Okay… I was on vacation and I confess that I indulged in some shows that I’d normally surf through.  I watched a bit of “Say Yes to the Dress.”  This is a program that celebrates the ritual of women gathering to present the betrothed in the most alluring garb on her special day.

Initially, I wanted to say “No to the Show,” because it seemed so vapid and self-indulgent, but my mind went to the origins of the wedding ceremony itself.  Few know that the modern wedding ceremony, white dress, altar and all, had its origins in pagan days.  As a tribute to the gods, a young virgin girl was dressed in white, given by her family in gratitude, placed on the altar and sacrificed.  They had the good sense to drug the poor girl.  Today the bride can be plied with alcohol or Xanax!

 In the Christian interpretation, both bride and groom are sacrificing individuality to oneness, a cleaving to each other.  They are redefining themselves as the foundation of a new family.  One source says that the bride represents the human soul and the groom represents the Holy Spirit.  When they join, the circle is complete and human consciousness become one with the Creator.

In our culture, the notion of sacrifice is dwindling on many fronts, not only in marriage. People seem to be looking to get more than give.  When we have two people in a grab-fest it’s hard to create an atmosphere of gratitude and abundance.  Instead, there is frustration and disappointment.  We’re missing something if the focus is the dress, the party, and no deeper meaning to the union. The solution seems commitment to creating rather than consuming…giving rather than taking.

We are entitled to nothing.  (Shocking to write that and probably to read it.)  We have the consequences of what we have or haven’t created and there is no one else to blame.  In marriage and any relationship, we have a canvass upon which to project loving intentions.  No one is asking for a literal “death” on the altar, but the individual egos have to give way to a larger concept of joining.

Let’s say “Yes” to that!

With love, Rosanne Bostonian

The Tangerine Tree

Tangerine Tree

Hurricane Irma did its dirty work down in Florida.  Many lost much, but by human standards, I was a lucky one.  My home is intact and there is no visible damage, except…

When I first had my Florida home built in the middle of a pasture, there were two friendly trees that caught my eye.  I say “friendly” because a large oak and a tangerine tree were in each other’s embrace near where I planned to build the home.

My guess is that many years ago a bird or another creature had sat in the branches of the oak and released a seed.  That seed grew (a little too close) into the tangerine tree.

In some ways the two trees competed for nourishment and light.  Although they were closely situated, there was clearly enough to see them through their many years of companionship. When my house was finally built, I remember driving many miles from NJ excited to see the finished product.  When I came around the bend, it was late afternoon and the Sun was reflecting off of thousands of tangerines with a golden welcome.  It was a magical moment.

The tangerine tree took a serious beating in Hurricane Irma.  Its bark is stripped and its branches are bare.  There is one branch with some green leaves.  My groundsman Bill wants to save the tree, but its future seems very doubtful.  The skeletal figure stands next to its oak companion of many years and, to tell the truth, I was appalled and saddened.

Then I remembered that Nature was the vehicle by which that creature dropped the tangerine seed decades ago. Now Nature has taken back Her gift, asserting the ancient rhythms of the pasture.  I’m left with the memory of its golden welcome over 20 years ago.

If we replace the grief of loss with “having had the privilege,” maybe the words “thank you” will roll off the tongue more easily.  Gratitude is incompatible with arrogance and entitlement. Wouldn’t that be a breath of fresh air (tinted with tangerine blossoms)!

With love, Rosanne Bostonian

The Speed of Things

crowd of people on shopping street

it’s not your imagination that everything feels faster.  In a mad rush to catch up, we aren’t so mindful and bad things can happen.  Here is a list of some bad things:

  1. We don’t really listen to each other, so misunderstand and ruin trust.

  2. We forget to be kind because it isn’t time efficient.

  3. We blow past opportunities that are invisible at warp speed.

  4. We are always focused on the “next thing.”

The human brain is miraculous, but it can only focus on one thing at a time.  It can switch back and forth between various things quickly, giving the impression that it’s multi-tasking.  The truth is it’s checking out, then back in, and missing pieces along the way.

Slowing down is healthy.  Slowing down is necessary.  The process of mindfully slowing down is an attunement because the Natural Rhythms are only felt when invited in.

If we have a chance to slow down during the holidays, rather than find one more bargain, the people around us will notice and will appreciate it.

I was at the food store in the “Express Line.”  There were lots of people in a hurry and the woman behind me was huffing because people ahead of us had more than the 12 allotted items.  I had felt a little agitated over it too.  I said “This is the Distress Line.”  She and I laughed and couldn’t stop.  It was a moment of observing ourselves in our human form and finding humor.  No speed, no greed… just a little need.

I wish you a Holiday of Peace… Peace at your own pace.

With love, Rosanne Bostonian

Presence, Not Presents!

holiday celebration

As the holiday season gets into full swing, what is more valuable is “presence,” not presents!

Many of us live like a speedboat skimming across the surface of a lake, unaware that life is unfolding in the depths of that lake.  The demands of life in 2017-2018 accelerate and distract our minds.  We have to slow down and be fully present to derive fulfillment.  The alternative is a list of to-dos that never get to-done!

Wherever you are, be there.  Don’t be a skimmer, a shopper, a material being that, when all is said and done, and the wrapping paper has been torn open and revealed the treasures within, feels duped and disappointed.

Ceremonial occasions are important…the gathering of “tribes” in our lives is part of tradition.  Don’t mistake the ceremonial for the authentic and try to bring as much authentic to the ceremonial as you can.

 Christ’s birth symbolizes a transition in consciousness, another step in the evolution of humankind.  We can celebrate that by being conscious rather than by devolving!

May you invite into your life the blessings of abundance, both material and invisible!

With love,  Rosanne Bostonian