seek adventure. #MeditationThoughtMondays

microadventure

I love traveling.  I’m incessantly dreaming of my next trip—there are so many remarkable places in this world that I want to see.  I’ve honed my travel skills in over 15 countries and recently renewed my Passport, asking for extra pages in anticipation of a lifetime of Visa Entry stamps yet to come.  I consider myself fortunate.

Adventure is inherent in travelling.  I’ve learned over the years that you can’t plan for adventures: they are unexpected opportunities to explore your reservoir of adaptability.  Most adventures sound better in the ‘after story’ than they feel in the moment.  (Hitchhiking a ride in the bed of a truck when your bus breaks down in the middle of the night on an African highway sounds more thrilling than it feels at the time, trust me.)

But I also truly love being home.  Each time I return home from a trip, I experience an overwhelming sense of ease as I drive into my neighborhood under the canopy of mature trees and dappled shadows they throw on the pavement.  So here’s the good news: experiencing Adventure doesn’t necessitate packing your Passport and hauling your one overloaded backpack across the Andes.  Most of us can’t (or don’t want) travel all the time; we’d miss out on the joys of our daily lives: families, friends, homes, careers, yoga studios, favorite coffee shops.

More good news: your next adventure can be right outside your door.  British explorer Alastair Humphreys coined the term ‘micro-adventure’ to describe small escapades that don’t require a passport, an iron stomach, or hardcore climbing gear.  These micro-adventures are little excursions into the unknown that happen in the few hours of free time between work shifts and occur close to home.  They are experiences delicately planned to open your eyes to the wonders that are right outside your front door.  You might enjoy these 11 Ideas for micro-adventures.

‘Adventures’ are unexpected moments of wonder.  They are opportunities for self-exploration. I love micro-adventures to my favorite wooded hiking trails, which are only thirty minutes away from my house but feel like completely foreign territory.  I love exploring the quietude of my thoughts as I’m hiking with Russell Clive and watching him tear down the dirt trails, his sniffers on high-alert.  In this space, the real adventure begins.  Self-exploration starts when you stop listening to the outside world and start seeking the wisdom of the inner landscape.

Your next adventure can be right outside your door.  It can be at your neighborhood Yoga Studio.  It can be on your own yoga mat.  Every single yoga practice can be an adventure: can you tap into your reservoir of courage to try a new arm balance?  Can you explore the reaches of your strength in a handstand?  Can you journey to the end of a yoga class, even though you are exhausted from your day at work?

You don’t need a Passport.  You just need a spirit of Adventure.

“I have been a seeker and I still am, but I stopped asking the books and the stars.  I started listening to the teaching of my Soul.” – Rumi

What are you seeking?  What adventure can you take in your own neighborhood?  What adventure can you take on your yoga mat?  How can you set aside this week to listen to your own wisdom?

Happy Adventuring.

-lisa

microadventure

Happy International Day of Peace.

Today, September 21, is the best day of 2015.  (So far. I’m assuming Christmas 2015 is going to be epic.)  But today is the best because It’s the Official International Day of Peace.  

peace day

The first International Day of Peace Day was observed in September 1982 by the UN and is held annually in September.  You can read more about it’s inception here.  The basic premise?  Teach Peace.  “The United Nations invites all nations and people to honor a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace.”  My kind of day.

Even though it may sound naive, I believe if each individual practices discernment through meditation and compassion in action, peace is not only possible, but it is inevitable.  Someone has to believe it.  Someone has to live it. If we all believed it, it would be true.

I’m not the only one who believes it.  Ever heard of His Holiness the Dali Lama? Here’s what he has to say in the foreword of a book you need to buy, Peace is Every Step:

“Although attempting to bring about world peace though the internal transformation of individuals is difficult, it is the only way.  Peace must be first be developed within an individual.”  -Dalai Lama

Today, you don’t have to create world peace.  You just need to try your best to create inner peace.  Start your day off with the right intention.  This one works well for me!  Know that today is a precious gift.  Remind yourself that you have 24 hours to bring peace, joy and happiness to ourselves and others.  Radiate loving kindness to every person you meet.  Make today the best day.  If you really love, peace is inevitable.

“Every morning, when we wake up, we have twenty-four brand new hours to live.  What a precious gift!  We have the capacity to live in a way that these twenty-four hours will bring peace, joy, and happiness to ourselves and others.” -Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace is Every Step

Happy Peace Day,

-lisa

be patient with silence. #MeditationThoughtMondays

so be patient with silence pic

My dog (and best friend) Russell Clive learned to surf this summer.  I mean, not really, but good enough.  He learned to stand on a pool floatie and not freak out.  Which is a big accomplishment for a rescue dog who left claw marks on my shoulders the first time I tried to get him into a swimming pool.

I tried to tell him that if he stopped fighting/thrashing/freaking out in the water, he’d easily float.  If he was patient, he would learn to appreciate surfing. And maybe even enjoy himself.

surf

it takes some patience…

This is exactly like Meditation.  In my Meditation classes this summer, we’ve been working with the concept of ‘creating a relationship with Silence.’ First, we looked at Silence as a way of appreciating beauty (practice it here) and then we discovered Silence as a way of bringing meaning to an object or experience (practice it here)Now, we examine our level of patience with Silence.

Patience is a ridiculous concept.  I have very little of it.  If I want something to happen, I’m pretty great at making it happen immediately… so why should I wait?

I do appreciate, however, that creating a relationship with Silence, just like teaching a dog who is scared of water to enjoy surfing, takes patience.  When I first started Meditating, but mind was a racehorse.  Too many thoughts and emotions racing around in my head; too little time to approach each thought with the attention it demanded.  Developing a patient relationship with inner silence is scary. I have to approach it, as Richard Rohr suggests, a little bit at a time.

“…Be patient with silence. It gives a little, and then it gives a more if you do not abuse the first little.  It’s like floating in water; once you stop fighting it, you float even better.” –Richard Rohr, Silent Compassion

This relationship with Silence has merit– people who meditate report higher levels of personal satisfaction, lower levels of anxiety, improved sleep, and happier moods.  Read more here. Most of all, it just feels good.  It is a relief not to have to resist the moment (i.e. the exact definition of stress) and just observe the moment.

‘Observing the moment’ is another way of developing an ‘inner witness.’  This witness is really good at stepping back, drying off, and saying, ‘Hey, just relax.  Once you stop fighting, you’ll float more easily.’

A more pronounced Inner Witness is one result of Meditation and yoga.  My Inner Witness has a tough job: reminding me that I can have emotions without being overwhelmed by them.  Remember this challenge? That when I’m feeling depressed, it won’t last forever.  And when I’m feeling anxious, it won’t last forever. (This post reminds us: nothing lasts forever.)  And that if I can have a little bit of patience, Silence will comfort me little by little.

This week’s Meditation Challenge:

  1. Find a sticky note. Write ‘Patience’ on it.
  2. Turn off music, find a quiet place to sit, and place the sticky note right in front of you.
  3. Set a timer for 5 minutes.
  4. Leave the Silence Open-Ended. When your inner witness screams at you or your emotions are really loud, gently open your eyes, and read the word “Patience” silently to yourself.  Start again.
  5. Take the sticky note with you when you leave the house. Stick it to your steering wheel.   Stick it on your computer.  Stick it on your phone.  Be patient with yourself and allow silence to give itself to you.

Try this Meditation Challenge for a week and see what changes. Be Patient with it.

Happy surfing,

-lisa

“So be patient with silence. It gives a little, and then it gives a more if you do not abuse the first little.  It’s like floating in water; once you stop fighting it, you float even better.” –Richard Rohr