Tag Archives: meditation

meditation update

13 Oct

 

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In an attempt to meditate more frequently I signed up for a month-long membership at Unplug Meditation. It’s a guided meditation studio in Los Angeles that offers 30 and 45 minute group meditation sessions. They range from mantras to crystal healing classes. While I would like to get to a point where I am meditating by myself at home, I thought a group atmosphere and guided practice might jumpstart my practice again. I was right. This place is a little oasis and it makes meditation easy. It’s a calm atmosphere with soft light and candles. They offer cushions that fold into little chairs on the ground- you can keep them flat if you want to lie down or fold it to give you support when you sit. These cushions are pure gold- I’ve found that if I am not physically comfortable during my practice then my mind never stills. Instead I’m focused on the fact that my foot is falling asleep and my back is aching.

I’ve taken a range of classes at Unplug led by a different people and found that each teacher brings a whole new energy to the practice. One guided meditation that I absolutely loved (it may sound a little strange) the teacher led us back to the days of our ancestors- we weren’t told how far to go back so I decided to visualize 100 years or so back. I found myself standing by myself on a hilltop in Ireland…different shades of green as far as the eye could see…I could literally feel the wind in my face and hear the waves crashing on the rocks below. It was so incredibly powerful. I felt tethered to all that came before me. It was interesting letting my mind explore the new world- I wandered villages, watched people work, children play & animals wander.

When I left class that morning my perspective had shifted from what I could only see and touch in front of me to a vast and endless world beyond…past, present & future. It’s truly amazing where your mind can take you.

My visualization looked much like these photos…

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Slea Head - County Kerry Ireland

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My membership ends at the studio soon (after the month-long new student deal it’s pretty pricy to continue- major bummer!) so I will have to develop a space in my home that inspires me to calmly want to sit for long periods of time. Preferably one that Frank can’t bring his tennis ball into.

*

For any of you interested in meditation here are some tips that have worked for me.

meditating in the morning before the day begins. I find my head space is clearer at this time

setting a timer for a desired amount of time so my focus can be on my practice and not the clock

stretching my body before so I feel less restless and more open

putting on light music or an online guided meditation (these free guided meditations are great)

focusing on my breath to anchor in the present moment

lastly, when unwanted thoughts appear I gently let them go by returning my focus to my breath. Don’t try to stop your thoughts; this will just make you feel agitated. Imagine that they are unwelcome visitors at your door: acknowledge their presence and politely ask them to leave.

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“Meditation is to dive all the way within, beyond thought, to the source of thought and pure consciousness. It enlarges the container, every time you transcend. When you come out, you come out refreshed, filled with energy and enthusiasm for life.”
David Lynch

 

fall / winter 2015

9 Sep

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(image found via pinterest)

With 2015 nearing to a close…I know, I know, we still have four full months, but once September hits I can’t help but reflect on how I want the year to wrap up. September – December always seems to fly by and I find myself surprised every year on January 1st- it almost seems impossible that we are there again. The next four months also happen to be my absolute favorite time of year- I find myself most creatively alive during this time. I also love everything to do with the holidays and what they represent- family dinners, our wedding anniversary, carving pumpkins, dressing Frankie up for Halloween, cooking, warmth, bundling up, decorating trees, cuddling & new beginnings.

The last eight months have been an introspective time for me. Rather than exploring the world around me, as I usually do, I have been instead making the journey within. I knew at the start of 2015 that something was off.  I had baggage that I still hadn’t worked through and I was dragging it around with me. I couldn’t hide from it anymore. It was time to do the hard work, even if that meant that other things had to be put on the back burner. Something very hard for a person who desires immediate results like me to come to terms with. Instead I had to trust the process. It reminded me of that quote by Zora Neale Hurston –  “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” Thus far this year has most definitely been asking me some questions. Ones that needed answering and ones that positively shifted something in me once I did. I feel empowered and for that I am incredibly grateful.

Life man, such a wild ride sometimes, right?

When reflecting about how I want the next few months to unfold, it was clear to me that I want them to feed my soul, creative mind, relationships, home & belly. I want to soak in every bit of goodness that 2015 has left to offer me. I have a feeling the next four months will bring an entirely different energy than the first eight did and I am ready for that new energy.

Some of the ways I would like to spend the next few months…

Deepening my meditation practice. I know I have only been scratching at the surface and I am feeling a pull towards more. In addition to developing a stronger home practice I want to explore Unplug Meditation, Against The Stream & Shambhala Center.

Reading! There are fifteen (I might be setting myself up for failure on this one) books I would love to read before the end of the year. I’ll share them in a later post.

Cooking- I plan on spending some quality time in the kitchen! Again, there is something about fall and winter that inspire me to want to cook. I love hearty recipes and the feeling of warmth that comes from the kitchen this time of year.

I would love to put a small dinner party together in our home each month to bring our family and friends together. I want to make a point to enjoy the ones that matter most in my life. I also love to entertain.

I want to finish a few work projects that have been on the back burner for many many many months. As I mentioned previously, I put some things on the back burner to focus on me and it’s time to dust them off. They involve getting two book proposals finished and ready to submit in the new year and revamping my personal website which has been in purgatory for the last six months.

Practicing yoga. I want to make my yoga practice more of a priority over the next few months. My love for it has been renewed recently and I would love to keep the love affair going. My body just feels so much more balanced when I am practicing regularly.

I would love to finally find a property for the business Brian and I have been building with a few partners this past year. I can’t wait to share about it in the new year! Granted we find a property and the ball gets moving.

My home life- one of the most important aspects of my life. It has been in an incredibly solid and fulfilling place and I want to continue to watch it grow.

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There are years that ask questions and years that answer,

Years that

fall apart

and years that come together…

There are years that cry and years that laugh,

Years that wonder

And years that strike and clap and thunder.

. . .

Your job isn’t to know — not right now, not quite yet.

Your job is simply

to breathe,

to trust,

to rest

To know that it is all a part of the path —

The mystery and the clarity

The hardship and delight

The darkness and the light alike.

. . .

Dear One,

Haven’t you heard?

“This place where you are right now

God circled on a map for you.”

*

weekend

10 Aug

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(meeting our friends beautiful baby boy Ben)

Friday

When Brian got home from work on Friday night we decided to take Frankie on a walk to get dinner. Walking to get dinner in our hood (Marina arts district) is a new thing for us. When we first moved into our place over two years ago the area felt very industrial. We both missed our old walking neighborhood in Santa Monica. Seriously, when you live in Los Angles you just want to park your car on the weekend and be done with traffic for a few days. Luckily, over the last few years our neighborhood has changed dramatically- restaurants, coffee shops & stores are popping up everywhere! We are so happy to be on foot again. We walked to get Omusubi for dinner at Sunny Blue. Omusubi are Japanese rice balls with various fillings inside and wrapped in seaweed. Supposedly people in Japan eat omusubi everyday like we eat sandwiches here in the United States. They are delicious, healthy and SO incredibly filling. I usually get the same order- a spicy salmon (cured salmon with chili seasoning), a tuna mayo (albacore tuna with mayo sauce) & a kara tuna (albacore tuna with dices cucumber and onions and spicy mayo sauce). Clearly, I have a seafood theme but they have many other options! Brian usually sticks with a meat filled theme.

When we got home we from dinner we watched the new Netflix documentary Tig. Have you seen it? I loved it! I’ve found myself thinking about it all weekend and recommending it to everyone I came into contact with. The film follows comedian Tig Notaro and focuses on the stand up routine she performed one day after finding out she had breast cancer. I’m sure it sounds like a dark film but it’s just the opposite. She is able to find humor and joy in the darkest of times and I found it incredibly inspiring. Here’s the trailer…

Saturday

After a lazy morning in bed with a stack of magazines and a few too many cups of coffee we headed to Mendocino Farms to pick up sandwiches to bring over to our dear friends Rachel and PJ’s house for lunch. They welcomed a gorgeous baby boy named Ben into the world last week. He is absolute perfection and so teeny! Every time I see a newborn I am in awe of how tiny they are. It takes my breath away. He is an especially gorgeous newborn with perfect little features and soft blonde hair. It was such a nice afternoon hanging with the new family. It’s always such a beautiful thing to see people you love become parents. The circle of life never disappoints.

On Saturday night Brian and I walked down the street (yet again!) to get Indian food for dinner. We’ve passed this Indian restaurant a million times and have never stepped foot in it despite both loving Indian food. It was oh so good. We ordered much too much food and spent our walk home talking about how full we both were.

When we got home we flipped through on demand in search of a movie to watch. We ended up settling on “Cake” with Jennifer Aniston. I had been intrigued to see her performance considering she got such rave reviews for it. While I loved her performance I wasn’t in love with the movie in general.

Sunday

On Sunday morning I met a few girlfriends for a sweaty and upbeat yoga class at Maha yoga in Brentwood. I used to frequent this studio often but I haven’t gone recently and I forgot how much I loved it there! The class we took was accompanied by loud rap music- I know, sounds weird right? But sometimes you just need a rap filled Sunday morning yoga class, you know? It was followed by a long quiet meditation and the combination was exactly what I needed. I’m really trying to get back into daily meditation. I feel such a difference in my attitude when I make it a priority. After class we brunched at Farmshop in the Brentwood Country Mart. I ordered a mushroom frittata that was honestly the most delectable egg dish I have ever had. I also saw Laura Dern at the restaurant so it was a total win.

On Sunday night we met my Dad and Pamela for Mexican at La Cabana in Venice. As I write this blog post I am realizing just just how much heavy eating we did the last few days.  I can safely say that I am still full on Monday morning. Dinner with my family was the perfect way end to a perfect weekend. We always spend our time together laughing and it fills my heart.

Hope you all had a beautiful weekend! Happy Monday!

I’ll leave you with this photo of Frank from the weekend…

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fridayyyyy

19 Jun

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{my little buddy with his little buddy hanging with me as I put my makeup on this morning}

What are you guys up to this weekend? Our weekend is shaping up to be a nice one. Tonight we will most likely stay in with Thai food and netflix- we are such creatures of habit. On Saturday morning I want to make a visit to the paint store to pick out a new color for the wall behind our bed. I’ve been inspired to paint it a dark green or blue color- idea 1 , 2 & 3. It’s a floating wall and almost exactly the length of our bed so I imagine it will look like a giant headboard amongst all the white walls in our room. Does that make sense? It does in my head. Saturday afternoon we are going to a dodger game with a big group of Brian’s family to celebrate a 90th birthday. I can’t remember the last time I went to a baseball game. I’m not a huge baseball fan but I am a fan of dodger dogs and spending a summer afternoon outdoors with family. Sunday morning I’m sending Brian off to get a massage (his father’s day gift from Frank) while I tackle a dessert recipe for the father’s day bbq we are having for our two dads that afternoon.

Hope you have a beautiful weekend and happy fathers day to all the pops out there!

 things that have been making me happy recently…

a massage I got this week that put every other massage that I have ever had to shame. SHAME!

this weeks project 30 q&a– I loooooved Liz’s words. Did you read it?? You must! She’s such an inspiring soul

these guided meditations– I’ve taken to doing the three-minute body scan every morning

red/orange nails and toes

an afternoon movie date with my little brother. It’s hard to pin him down (he’s a very busy 20-year-old so when I do it’s quite an accomplishment

buying some new books

work…I’ve been loving my clients recently

watching orange is the new black

pink peonies (they will probably be on my happy list every week until I can’t buy them anymore)

the podcast mortified…so funny

white chocolate peanut butter cups

having Taline and Liam over for dinner

a long hike in temescal canyon with my girlfriend Devon. I haven’t done that trail in ages- so pretty!

this quote…“You will always be too much of something for someone; too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge. Apologize for mistakes. Apologize for unintentionally hurting someone–profusely. But don’t apologize for being who you are.”– Danielle Laporte

my husband…always my husband

this Tracy McMillan ted talk about marrying yourself…

What’s been making you guys happy recently???

reflections.

20 Feb

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“The physical body is at work every moment, an array of mechanisms with a brilliance of design and efficiency our human efforts have never begun to match. Our hearts beat, our lungs breathe, our ears hear, our hair grows. And we don’t have to make them work- they just do. Planets revolve around the sun, seeds become flowers, embryos become babies, and with no help from us. Their movement is built into a natural system. You and I are integral parts of that system, too. We can let our lives be directed by the same force that makes flowers grow- or we can do it ourselves.

To trust the force that moves the universe is faith. Faith isn’t blind, it’s visionary. Faith is believing that the universe is on our side, and that the universe knows what it’s doing. Faith is a psychological awareness of an unfolding force for good, constantly at work in all dimensions. Our attempts to direct this force only interferes with it. Our willingness to relax into it allows it to work on our behalf.”

– excerpt from “A Return To Love” by Marianne Williamson

23: Dear Tassajara

15 Jun

Dear Tassajara,
It was no accident that you were one of the first goals I tackled for the year. I’d like to think the universe knew I needed to learn some Zen fundamentals before I got too far into this crazy year, because boy, oh boy did the lessons come in handy when stuff didn’t go my way! When I first heard about you 2 years ago, I knew that I would have to find  a way to get to you one day- I knew it was something my soul required. Who doesn’t want to spend a week in silence with no phone or computer at a Buddhist zen center  nestled in the mountains?
So I put you on my “365 til 30” goal list because I thought…what better thing to explore before 30 then the silence of my own head!
You were quite the experience, to say the least! Definitely one of the most beautiful and exhausting (I say that with love) 7 days of my life. My highlights from my time with you..
Being awakened every morning at 5:20 by a person ringing a bell beckoning me to the Zendo (meditation hall) to meditate for an hour in the dark- if I didn’t have to sit upright during this period I would have surely slept through it. But once I stopped complaining about being up so early I fell in love with starting the day this way. There is something powerful about that whole meditation thing!
Getting assigned to clean toilets in the guest cabins as part of my work program. Let me tell you, it was such a joy! I’ve decided that considering I don’t clean my own toilet at home, this had to be some sort of karmic joke. But once I stopped complaining about how gross it was (to myself since I wasn’t able to speak to anyone) I started to lose my emotional response to the situation. By day four, I was cleaning toilets with a damn smile on my face.
The last highlight was bathing nude with Buddhist monks. Probably the only time in my life I will be embarrassed because I HAD a bikini wax. Oh the stares I got!
All in all it was one of the best experiences of my life but also one that had me asking myself what I had gotten myself into?
But my absolute favorite thing about you was the silence you gave me. I have never experienced such silence in my life and it was exactly what my crazy head needed.
Although I quickly learned that a crazy head with no distractions other than its own thoughts is a scary place for a few days until it settles down.
This quote from the Buddha sums up my feelings about you-

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell”.

I sincerely hope we meet again Tassajara…
Love,
Kate

 

31

7 Jun

Love the excerpt below.

Nothing Solid by Pema Chodron

Moving away from our experiences, moving away from the present moment with all our habits and strategies, always adds up to restlessness, dissatisfaction, unhappiness. The comfort that we associate with concretizing and making things solid is so transitory, so short-lived. 

Moving into our experiences- whether it’s the opening experience of love and compassion or the closing-down experience of resentment and separation- brings us an enormous sense of freedom: the freedom of nothing solid. Something about “nothing solid” begins to equal freedom. In the meantime, we discover that we would rather feel fully present to our lives than be off trying to make everything solid and secure and engaging our fantasies or addictive patterns. We realize that connecting with our experiences by meeting it feels better than resisting it by moving away. Being on the spot, even if it hurts, is preferable to avoiding. As we practice moving into the present moment this way, we become more familiar with groundlessness, a fresh state of being that is available to us on an ongoing basis. This moving away from comfort and security, this stepping out into what is unknown, uncharted, and shaky- that’s called liberation.