Morning Mindfulness

Recently, on VagabondStew, I posted my morning routine. As I was posting, I realized that it really is a meditative and mindful time. From the moment I wake up, until I’m in the driver’s seat rolling out, there are several times when I take time to notice the moment.

My time living in the forest, has helped me to become more mindful and aware of what’s happening right now.

Dont get me wrong. I do spend time imagining the future. Building a comprehensive image is vital to achieving the imperatives. Still, in order to function best, I also need to stay anchored.

Making my bed, for instance, is a time to focus, paying attention to pull the sheets and blankets tight, tuck the sheet in on the side, smooth out the pillows. I notice the different textures of cotton and wool, pillows and mattress, areas that are cool or warm.

This is important because it puts my mind into a task focused mode, along with the immediately tactile dynamic. I am grateful for this wonderful bed that I have.

Another way that my mornings are mindful is in the time I spend sitting or lying still on my bed, melding into my environment. I notice what’s happening around me – sounds, wind – and feeling the calm that comes with that. Again, I express my gratitude.

When I step out of my little sleeping pod, into the world, it is still dark. The million stars shimmer overhead. Some mornings it is frigid cold and I dont have time to properly take it in. Most days, though, I can gaze up. Naming familiar constellations, I wonder about the names of other stars.

At the same time, I attend the feel of the air. Is it brisk, or soft? Are there fragrances and what are they? I notice sounds, if there are any.

Up on the mountain, things are usually quiet, so early, but as the days lengthen and light creeps into the sky sooner, birds will waken and sing. I once found a moose standing in the midst of the meadow, just before dawn. Always, I am grateful.

Feeling and expressing gratitude is one of the most important and fundamental ways that we can build a more fulfilling life. If we arent grateful, we cant wonder why there’s so much negative in our lives.

Check out the post on VagabondStew.

If you’d like to learn more about bringing more positivity into your day, click over to the Contact page and drop me a note. I’ll get back to you quickly.

–==|Selah|==–


The Amazing Kreskin, Maxwell Maltz, and my Dad

The 1960s were all about the magic of the mind. We were fascinated by the subconscious and its hidden powers.

The Amazing Kreskin really did amaze us. When I was in sixth grade, Dad bought me this Kreskin’s ESP game/kit. The pendulum I always felt was hokey, but spent a lot of time with the cards.

Each had a color dot, or unique symbol, and we were supposed to discern (not guess) which color or symbol it was. Of course, I never mastered the thing, but it did awaken in me a curiosity about larger things.

In 1966, a cosmetic surgeon named Maxwell Maltz authored a book titled “Psycho-Cybernetics”. I remember seeing it around the house a lot. Also, Dad would do things, experimentally, to teach me.

Once, on a cool autumn evening, I was playing with friends and decided that I wanted to go into the house. As I came in the door, Dad was seated on the couch in the living room, to my right.

“Why did you come in?”, he asked.
“I dont know”, I replied, “Just felt like it.
He smiled and said,”I made you come in.”

He’d been experimenting with some of Maltz’s techniques, visualizing me coming through the door, and I did. Does that prove that Dad’s experiment worked? Of course not, but it was enough to pique my interest.

At 61, I still cant tell you what color underwear you’re wearing, or the name on the label, but I am very aware of an interpersonal connection that goes beyond the visual.

What brings me to this, today, is Maltz’s emphasis on Self-image. If there is one thing that I swear by, from all of those things, it’s that we can change our lives by changing the self-image.

In general, people who see themselves negatively, will have a more negative living experience than people with a positive self-image.

The last three years of my life are a testament to this. In 2015, I was in the darkest place of my life. Beaten down by circumstances, I’d taken on a victim mentality and felt absolutely like a waste of skin.

In 2016, I realized what was happening, and began to change that image. Since then, life has been a continuous chain of improving circumstances.

That isnt to say that nothing negative has happened. My car/home was stolen, and more, but it has all brought me further along a growth curve.

Today, I’m speaking to groups and leading mindfulness workshops. For a lot of this, I credit my dad, introducing me to the things I needed to know.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can read Dr. Maltz’s book, Psycho-Cybernetics. Of course, you can also contact me, and we can talk about ways that I might be able to help.

–==||Selah||==–


A Summer Afternoon in 1972

This is the first time that I’m cross-posting between these two sites. Please, let me know your thoughts about this way of sharing.

On my travel page, VagabondStew, I posted an article about a hitchhiking trip from Dallas to Denver. (Ellie Hoskins article, to your right.) It relates the story of an afternoon I spent talking with an an older woman, as she prepared me a meal. What I want to do here, is to relate that story to mindfulness and illustrate some ways that I’m learning from Ellie Hoskins, even forty-six years later.

Out of respect for her, and the etiquette of her time, I’ll refer to her as Mrs. Hoskins. She was a beautiful and gracious woman, who took time out of her day to entertain an adolescent stranger in her home, and to make him feel important. I am grateful for Ellie Hoskins.

On a late July day, in 1972, Mrs. Hoskins sat on her porch, enjoying the shade and watching the cars go by. As she did, a young man came walking up the sidewalk, wearing a broad brimmed hat, carrying a homemade pack made of corduroy. “Mornin’!”, she called, little knowing that she was about to make a life-long impression that would affect countless others, in time.

If you’ve read the story, then you already know what she did and how grateful I was, and still am. Here’s the way that I interpret that story today.

Mrs. Hoskins was a mindful woman.

Although that term was not used at the time, as a traveling Methodist minister, she had undoubtedly spent many hours in prayer and meditation.

She knew who she was.

Considering her own frailties and her place in this world, even at eighty-six years old, she knew who she was, and didnt hesitate to express it.

Time in meditation and walking mindfully can also help us come to understand who we are, and how we fit into our own worlds. If you’re religious, you’ll find this in the words of scripture.

She was not hesitant to be kind. We shouldnt be, either.

It may sound cliché to say, but Kindness is one of the most important attributes to develop, if you want to be happy. Acting kindly immediately releases serotonin, which makes you feel good.

A consistent practice of kindliness reduces stress, which is good for your heart. People who practice kindness are less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke.

Selah.
Think about it.

In your meditation, today, think about Ellie Hoskins and others like her. Who has shown you kindness? Have you expressed your gratitude for them? If not, I’d encourage you to take a few reflective minutes. It’ll be good for you.

Be the Leaf

Leaves in the Stream…

Most modern humans see things from a self-centric viewpoint. It’s what we’re taught from birth. When things go wrong, we’re supposed to look for a lesson or reason. Most of the time, though, there isnt one. Life is just happening, and we’re there.

I believe that we move as participants in the flow of Life, rather than the focus — proverbial leaves in a stream. Floating downstream, the leaf is not the point. Nothing the stream does is for or about the leaf. Flowing over stones, between the roots of trees, plunging over waterfalls, these would all happen just the same if the leaf werent there. Life is like that. By accepting that this flow is neither for us, nor about us, we can let go of the guilt and responsibility of “doing it right“. By simply taking an objective viewpoint and moving in harmony, we are free to enjoy each moment for its own wonder.

However, if we perceive that everything happens with us in mind, life can be overwhelming. We begin to ask, Why me? Am I supposed to learn something from this? Should I have done something differently? Then guilt climbs in, and regret, and depression. While I believe that God exists, and is involved in our lives, I dont think that all of reality is customized for each individual. In most cases, something simply happened and you were there when it did. Most of the time, things arent about us. They’re just part of the flow.

Understanding this has freed me from the guilt and regret that I used to experience. It  leaves me free to float, accepting what is, and to respond in whatever way seems best. I’m grateful for that.