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It’s January 26th, and the sun is in the same spot it was many years ago when I first arrived into this world. It’s usually the coldest day of the winter (some years, the high temperature is 6 degrees Fahrenheit!). It’s Australia Day (where it’s much warmer), and also Eddie Van Halen, Wayne Gretzky, and Ellen DeGeneres‘ birthday! Auspicious all around!
I’m right now riding a bus, returning from New York City where I facilitated a networking event (which went very well, by the way) and got to get together with some friends there in New York, and I’ll soon be having dinner with a number of friends as soon as I get back. I’ve also been blessed by social media by getting literally over 150 birthday wishes, and a number of people have stated how I’ve helped them either their career development, or been there for someway personally. It’s such a blessing to be a part of these people’s live and have them in mind. I’m counting my blessings.
As many of you know, part of writing this blog, in addition to promoting my ideas about how your spirit affects how you show up in the world, has been to try out some concepts that I’ve been trying to figure out. I’ve personally been trying to “walk the talk” and do a lot of personal development work, and get clear on past demons and other things that have been holding me back. I now feel like I’ve ended one chapter of my life, and another one is starting. I know what I want, and it’s time to move forward.
This birthday is a big even number (but not a momentous one with a zero at the end) and it just feels solid to me. I’m grounded, know what I want, and have a blank slate of life ahead of me. In my retreat in the Bahamas, I was able to get some clarity on some intentions for 2012 (as opposed to goals), and one of them was to be more adventurous. I need to stretch myself and do some more daring things, travel to places I haven’t been to, and to be bolder in my own life. It’s a brave new world, and I’m starting it now.
So, what bold new things are you planning for the future?
This post is about a week old, but after returning from my vacation in the Bahamas, I got caught with the bad cold that’s been racing through most of the communities that I belong to. Therefore, I’ve been spending the last few days just trying to get back into health.
One my first day back, I was doing a number of errands and realized that I wasn’t going to be far from Newton, and taking advantage of the time I had (and the 15 degree temperatures!) I did a walking meditation. I knew that the sight I had to use was the statue of Johnny Kelley that stands near the top of Heartbreak Hill on Commonwealth Avenue across the street from City Hall near Newton Center. Most people know of Newton as it is on the Boston Marathon route and has been the scene of many an exciting exchange of leads in the race. After going downhill for the first 16 miles from the start in Hopkinton, there are three hills in Newton that really challenge the runners just when they are starting to fade. This is where you can make a big move in the race!
I did the marathon in 1998, and race walked it in 5:07:26. It’s my one and only marathon, and it was a great experience. I had to train for months to prepare for this, and it was a great effort and I was quite tired by the end, but I felt a sense of elation as I had accomplished a big goal.
So, what big goals are you planning for 2012? How are you stretching yourself?
Greetings from the Bahamas. I’m on a little vacation, and have decided to do a little video blog instead of a written one. Enjoy!
Today, we had a very atypical January day for Eastern Massachusetts: highs in the mid to upper 50’s and sunny. It was a beautiful day, and as I had a party to go to at a former colleague’s house, I decided to walk there, and then I thought “I haven’t done a meditation in Somerville yet!”
I go through Somerville, and particularly Davis Square, almost every day. The Square is sort of the cool place to go now in the area after Harvard Square got so commercial. There’s a bunch of funky stuff, like the Somerville Theater, Johnny D’s, cool statues, and numerous other places. There are also great statues that everyone thinks about when they think of Davis Square. It’s the most densely populated place in New England, and is the home of Marshmallow Fluff! In 1997, Davis Square was listed by the Utne Reader as one of the fifteen “hippest places to live” in the United States.
It was quite bustling, and there were many people out in shorts and T-shirts (but usually not both, this is January!). It was just nice to have this warm up. I was just happy to be outside on a great day. I tried to be as meditative as I could on a beautiful day, but realized that I needed to just be present and observant when there’s so much action.
So, can you be present when there’s a lot going on? What do you do to help you keep present?
It’s the third day into the year, and already a number of New Year’s Resolutions have bit the dust.
I have not been one to put a lot of weight into making resolutions as it seems like people think this is the only time of year that they can make changes to their lives, and I like to encourage everyone that we can make a new life for ourselves at every moment. That said, it is a great time to reflect on things and see how you want to move forward in this moment.
I was lucky enough over the New Year’s weekend to have taken a few workshops at Easton Mountain, namely in gratitude, attraction, and mindfulness. They overarching message to me in these leanings was one in intention. Too often in our busy world, we are doing things that we have trained ourselves to to without thinking. While that serves us well in some fields (like driving a car) it’s not as good when we are trying to have a conversation with someone or packing for a trip. I have personally experienced many a time when I had to clean up or take extra time when I did something unmindfully.
Another concept that I’ve picked up from my recent studies in Tantra is the concept of intentions vs. goals. I’ve spoken to the idea of goals here many times and I still think that there’s a great use for them, but also have discovered that sometimes it’s better to have an intention about something. To really mix metaphors, I also have realized from my study of GTD that there’s a difference between a project and an area of focus. A project is one where there’s a clear end point (e.g.: re-tile the bathtub) where an area of focus could be something you’re responsible for, but you can never really say is ever completed (e.g.: keeping a healthy body). A goal works for a project, but not as well for an area of focus.
Therefore, I don’t have a resolution (goal) for this year, but I do have intentions. If I were to have a goal, I’d succeed or fail. I want to be more present all the time towards an intention instead. For most of my life I’ve been very goal oriented (and will never be without goals!) but I’m realizing done areas of my life need me to be more mindful in each moment and striving toward something, and intentions seem to be a better fit for that.
My intentions for 2012 are to be more present in each moment and consider what is in my best interest. As you can tell from this, I can’t have this be a success or failure; it’s just a continual striving.
So, what are your intentions for 2012?
As I mentioned in my last post, I was doing my walking mediation through the fields of Rock Meadow in Belmont, when the landscape changed from meadow to woods, and I soon saw a bridge up ahead on the path. As I got to it, I found that this was Beaver Brook and that the bridge went from the Rock Meadow Reservation to the Beaver Brook Reservation in Waltham. My little brief walking meditation was all of a sudden going to get longer. I could get two municipalities in in one day! Score!
I have a history in Waltham. My mother was born there, and I lived there for two years myself, not far from the Beaver Brook Reservation, but I hadn’t investigated it. It was striking that it became wooded quite quickly after crossing the bridge from Belmont, and it had your classic New England topography with drumlins and eskers. There were a number of mountain bikers on the trails, and all the trails were rocky (as is usual for New England). As there was no snow on the ground, it was easy to find footing.
Also surprising was to find a fully decorated Christmas tree in the middle of the woods! Someone had extra time on their hands. It brought a smile to my face!
I worked at breathing and trying to watch, listen, and just be present to what was around me. Waltham is technically a city, but this area was as rural as you can get, which is a nice little gem to know about so close to my house. The sun was going down and I had to take about 30 pictures of me laying down on the bridge to try to get my face and the words etched in the bridge in the same shot.
So, have you changed your plans to take advantage of an opportunity, or do you always stay on schedule?
Today has been a recovery day for me. I spent most of the day inside, as it’s been a bit chilly outside, and I’m just working at integrating myself after my retreat back into my day-to-day life here. I’ve still got a lot of laundry to do, but I’ve also done my breathwork, yoga, morning pages, and I’ve gone out for some walks. We have had a very mild start to winter, and there has been hardly any snow that’s fallen, and none that’s stuck to the ground. I know that our municipalities are happy to save money on plowing!
I did decide that I should take this opportunity to get out and add to my list of towns for the Challenge. As this Challenge is evolving, I am finding that I want to use this opportunity to not only go to new towns and cities that I’ve never visited, but to also go to new places in towns where I’ve known for a long time. By the time I decided to do it this afternoon, I didn’t have too much time to travel, so I decided to go to Rock Meadow in Belmont, which is the next town over from me. I had always seen it from the road while driving, but had never been there myself.
I learn upon starting my walking meditation there that it used to be a farm, was owned by McLean Hospital, and was the site of victory gardens during World War II so that people could grow food. The are still victory gardens there, although they are dormant at this time of year, but I was surprised at how big it was. Most of the area is an open meadow, and it makes you think of places that you would see in an Jane Eyre movie of the English countryside.
After meditating and walking for a while, I came upon a surprise. (See the next post to find out what!)
So, have you made room in your life for surprises to happen to you?
Happy New Year to all of you! I’ve just gotten back from a New Years Retreat at Easton Mountain, and I’m both exhilarated and tired! It was a great weekend with some great workshops. We meditated 2012 in, and then danced! It’s a great way to start the year. I have the feeling it’s going to be a good year!
I got lots of ideas about future articles and spoke with a few possible guest bloggers here, and I’ll be writing out that more in the near future, but I wanted to take the opportunity to check another town off the list in the Meditate Mass 351 Challenge. As I dropped off my friend Steven in Ludlow, I was looking for a town around there that I could go to on the way home. Wilbraham seemed the best option, and it was a town that I had never been to before. It’s best known as the home town of Friendly’s Ice Cream, but I didn’t managed to see the original store.
As I’m sure will happen in the future, I don’t always get there at the best time. As sundown was about 4:30, I got there right as it was getting dark, and didn’t have the best lighting to take pictures, but I’ve got something to show for it. I parked near Wilbraham & Monson Academy (a private school that I remembered hearing about sometime in my past), and walked the little town center. Most of the commercial businesses are up on Route 20, but I like to see what the spirit of the place is without strip malls. This had a nice little park with a really cool World War II monument, but it was too dark then to get a picture of myself there. I had to do the best that I could with things that were lit, which left me with the Police department. At least it’s proof!
So, what are you doing to stretch yourself this new year?