Meditate on this. It's THAT simple!
Moving meditation is not necessarily what you might think.
Yes, it may include Qigong, Tai Chi, yoga, martial arts, or Zhan Zhang (the Chinese art of standing like a post).
It also may include sitting meditation with breath and movement exercises like in Kundalini (a yoga all to itself).
But, and here is the big BUT, it also is how you live your life. How the thoughts move around inside your head and are expressed in your emotions and actions.
It is where you find peace, quiet and a sense of balance.
That may be while walking, eating, playing with your children, your dog or cat, riding a horse, sitting in a park, being by a body of water, reading a book or perhaps just sitting alone in silence.
It’s how you deal with external stimuli, irritants, confrontation and disruptions.
Moving meditation is the BIG and the small picture.
It is at the height of an argument with your parent, sibling, partner, spouse, colleague or boss and how you deal with it. It is when you are just passing time or zoning out.
That has been MY meditation for the last week on dealing with an interminably difficult family member. Someone I can’t just walk away from. Someone who won’t change and has always suffered from a personality disorder.
My conclusion? Teacher teach thyself.
Moving meditation is available in innumerable forms all the time, you just need to access it.
Taking three deep breaths (yes, you have heard about this a zillion
times AND it works), staring out a window at the trees and the birds in a park, sipping a cup of tea while savoring the fragrance, the warmth and the subtle notes in taste.
You say you don’t have time?
Bull! Everyone has time for these quick and easy moments. And that is what they are — moments. Many of them simply what we do in daily life.
Daily life CAN be a meditation if you choose to make it so.
I’m not a broken record recommending that you sit quietly in a room, for 15 to 60 minutes, with your eyes closed, while focusing on your breathing and listening to some great Zen-like music.
Although that REALLY works when and if you carve out the time to do it.
I’m talking about (here comes a slightly overused phrase these days) life hacks. Make moving meditation an integral part of your day. A mind set almost as easy and effortless as breathing.
It IS a mindset just like the mind sets of “I don’t have enough time. I’m too frazzled. I just can’t focus. I’m overextended, overwhelmed, overburdened.”
Here are three simple exercises you can do, in addition to what I mentioned above.
When you take a break from your work to have your breakfast, lunch, or dinner commit to being quiet. Say nothing or as little as possible for that half an hour or hour. Just observe, listen, and hear. It can be a challenge, especially if you have a very active mind.
If you listen and observe that helps quell the internal monologue. It also can be a huge relief to spend time not speaking. I love to sit quietly and watch water reflect on a surface. The shapes are fascinating.
If you are already a quiet person who doesn’t speak very much use this time to heighten your senses.
Can you be aware of sight and smell at the same time? What about sight, smell and touch? Try sight, smell, touch and taste. Finally focus on sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound.
This is a powerful exercise and not as easy as it sounds. Try one sense at a time and then when you have that mastered add another sense and so on.
I referred to Zhan Zhang earlier. What is that and how do you do it?
In Chinese philosophy, Qigong and Tai Chi, it’s typically referred to as standing like a post. It is exactly what it says it is.
You can do it while staring out of a window, standing in an elevator, standing in the park, in your yard, in your bedroom, living room, and so many other places.
I have done it while standing waiting in line, AND when I really needed to center myself, in an airplane bathroom (but not for very long, because, well, you know about airplane bathrooms!).
Here is how you do the first position called Wuji (state of emptiness):
Standing with your feet hips width distance apart, knees slightly bent, hips tucked under slightly (you don’t want to push your hips back or have a sway back), your arms are hanging at your sides and slightly away from your sides.
I imagine there is air flowing between my body and underarms and my arms. Look straight ahead and gently focus on a place on the wall, or whatever is in front of you. Let your eyes have a relaxed focus. You can also close your eyes for a deeper experience but do that ONLY after you know you have your balance. Breath naturally, gently, easily, effortlessly in and out of your nose.
AND THAT’S IT.
Do it for as long as you can.
You may feel some aches here and there, you may get restless, or your brain my protest, but stick with it.
Breathe into it. Adjust your limbs slightly to increase your comfort.
You can also sway slightly side to side or make tiny circles with your body to relieve any body tension.
Start with 5 minutes and work up from there.
You will be very surprised that this seemingly simple exercise can be very powerful physically, mentally and emotionally.
Try these many ways to meditate or to do moving meditation as part of your daily life.
As always, thanks for reading.
See you next week.
Ya gotta laugh at it all! Truth is much funnier and stranger than fiction.
I recently rededicated myself to being vegan after a couple of detours.
I learned my lesson.
I feel better and my digestion is better.
I’ve been vegan on and off for many years.
For me, it’s not a fad or a new diet. It's my lifestyle.
This is what works for me.
If it works for anyone else, that’s great. If it doesn’t, that’s great, too. I’m not Draconian about it.
I keep vegan as much as I can. When I can't, then I choose vegetarian. BUT if I go to someone’s home and they work hard to prepare me a meal and it has meat in it, I will eat it.
Most people know that I’m vegan or ask. That is very thoughtful. However, I won’t turn down food kindly prepared for me.
A friend remarked how that was very Buddhist of me. I guess you could say that. I just think it is the compassionate thing to do.
Very recently I was in the Houston airport.
That airport is like a VERY BIG mall. I hadn't been in it in years and I didn't recognize it.
There are restaurants for just about everyone there.
I found a healthy restaurant with bowls, smoothies, juices and soups.
I asked if the “Buddha Bowl” on the menu was vegan? She said she didn’t know and she would check.
After consulting a chart, she confirmed it was vegan.
While she was ringing up my order she asked ”do you want meat with that?”
I couldn't help but chuckle and think that, honestly, you can’t make this stuff up.
Maybe it was an automatic question, like "do you want fries with that" or "do you want to make that a combo?
OR there are people who say they are “vegan or vegetarian” and actually eat fish or chicken. (I'm not sure I get that but to each his or her own.)
I had to give her the benefit of the doubt.
Maybe the tofu on the menu was classified as a meat along with beef, chicken and shrimp.
Nevertheless, it still felt like someone was going to pop around the corner and say: “Live, from New York, it’s Saturday Night!
As always, thanks for reading.
See you next week.
Peace and quiet in the middle of a field.
I have made a commitment to quiet.
A year not of silence, but of quiet.
Let’s call it "The Year Of Living Quietly".
I’m only speaking when necessary.
The interesting thing is that I seem to have said more in the last 20 days since I made this commitment than in many years.
People are responding to me in amazing ways when they learn I have made a commitment to quiet.
“I have to admit I’m a bit envious.”
“Good for you. I would love to be able to do that.”
“I do my best to be silent around my home during the day for introspection.”
I’m taking it day by day, of course.
Because of what I do as a teacher it is pretty impossible to be completely silent. BUT I am tinkering with it in class.
What I have observed so far is that the students DO get quieter when I fill them in on my commitment. Quieter, more present, more focused.
I have quiet days (minimal talking) and then I will have silent days when I can (no talking at all).
How did this come about?
I have been thinking about it for some time.
I was (am) the proverbial Chatty Cathy. I was talkative in grade school - and that was duly noted in report card after report card.
Then I went into the entertainment field - the business of talking.
When I began to study then teach meditation I realized how lovely it was to have those moments of silence.
That being said, the lion’s share of my classes are guided so…more talking.
Each class has a section of silent meditation.
Many, many students tell me how they struggle in the silence.
They often remark that the class goes more quickly, and they are much more focused and present, when they can listen to a voice or music.
That is because thoughts are distracting in the silence. When a thought crosses our minds instead of letting it come and go we start actively thinking and then our minds are off to the races.
Acknowledge that you have a thought instead of worrying that meditation's purpose is to achieve an empty mind and have no thoughts.
We have to accept that we are thinking beings and understand that the thought will be there when we are done with our meditation.
Or not, so don't worry about that either.
Years ago I read a book and taught a class on that particular book. The book is called The Ragged Edge of Silence. The author, John Francis, walked North America for 22 years after witnessing two tankers collide and creating an oil spill in San Francisco. He walked in protest and refused to use motorized vehicles from the day he witnessed the spill onward. (He has a talk on TED Talks and I highly recommend watching it.)
He, like me, was an avid talker.
However, with his newfound activism, he was getting into a lot of arguments and confrontations.
To mitigate those arguments he thought "what if I am silent for one day? What will happen?"
That one day turned into 17 years. In that time he got his Bachelor's degree, Master's degree and Ph.D. He didn't say a word.
He didn't want to contribute to the problem of too much talking and not enough doing, listening and hearing.
After a lot of reflection, here are some of the reasons I am embarking on this for the year :
-to listen better
-to learn more
-to read more
-to write more
-to train my mind to think less (Yes, think less! Once you get over the impetus of "I CAN'T TALK!!" you relax and actually think LESS.)
-to think about and measure my words, responses, input, dialogue, and expression.
-to learn a new musical instrument.
Our country is in a crisis of words. There is not enough dialogue but there is plenty of arguing, yelling, insulting, profanity, and violence.
Is this a new thing? No, but I refuse to contribute to it.
Maybe this is also MY protest.
In a very small way, and especially since I teach in communities where violence, discrimination and injustice is part of daily life, I want to make a difference.
Some may say I am crazy or looking for attention (the crazy part may be true but I don't need ANY attention).
Others may be supportive or just scratch their heads and go about their merry way. I’m ok with ALL of that!
Already on day 20, I feel freer. I hear more. I am calmer. I relax more. I see more. I am more aware.
I thought I was pretty aware already!
If I HAVE to say something it is concise and to the point. No wasted words, and long explanations.
In those situations where I do talk more I find myself yearning NOT to talk. Chitter chatter doesn't fit in at this point.
Talking is attached to thinking...and wouldn't it be lovely not to think so much?
That is certainly a challenge for deep, analytical and introspective thinkers.
Psychologically, excessive talking can be a sign of anxiety or insecurity.
I recently saw the film The Shape of Water. The main character is mute.
If the film did anything for me it showed me that words can be cheap...and actions are important.
Conversation IS important and so is communication.
There are so many ways to communicate.
The worldwide challenge is for people to talk TO each other not AT each other.
Get quiet, really listen.
Make your spoken words gems, not stones.
You may find you smile more, think less, relax more and observe A LOT more.
You'll find some challenges with quiet or not talking at all. Family, friends, and the cashier at the grocery store may not get it or may push back.
That's ok. Take it one moment at a time.
You'll learn all sorts of ways to communicate.
Smile, nod, give a thumbs up or thumbs down, wave, it all works very well.
You may be surprised at the responses you get and the effort others make to work with you and to pay closer attention, too.
I look forward to posting more on quiet, moving meditation, and this thing called life.
Maybe you, too, will find that quiet in your world.
As always, thanks for reading.
See you next week.
Sensitive is NOT a bad thing. We feel intensely with all of our senses.
What the heck IS HSP? HSP means highly sensitive person.
About 20% of the world is HSP. We get a pretty bum rap because we are constantly asked “what is wrong with you? Why are you so sensitive? Why do you care so much?”
Here is the reason why:
It’s in our DNA, and we can do something about it by TRULY getting to know ourselves.
If you relate to any of these qualities you may be HSP.
You may dislike loud noises, or sudden noises, bright lights, extremes in temperature, gossip, confrontation, conflict, negotiation, disrespect, negativity, small talk, competition, large crowds, noises like water dripping, revving motorcycle engines, or jackhammers.
You may have a low tolerance for caffeine, alcohol or drugs.
You may be easily overwhelmed.
You also may feel others’ emotions.
You may need a good amount of time on your own.
You also may cringe at being micromanaged or having someone over your shoulder constantly.
Why do we recoil so much at gossip? It’s a waste of time and energy, and does no-one any good.
Here are the VERY positive sides of being HSP:
HSPs are very creative, and enjoy the art.
They have a great ability to work on their own unsupervised and are very conscientious.
Highly Sensitive Persons have great attention to minute detail AND the big picture.
They are fast thinkers, and are able able to analyze and discern a situation very quickly.
HSPs have great focus, intuition, compassion, and are great listeners.
They are self motivated.
HSPs have an affinity for nature and animals.
They can have weird dreams, not bad necessarily, just, well, weird.
Highly Sensitive Persons languish over smells, sights and beautiful sounds like birds, ocean waves, peaceful music, and flowers.
If you are HSP, and even if you aren’t, here are some things you can do to brighten your life:
Take charge of your own happiness.
Avoid people and situations that drain your energy.
Get enough sleep.
Don’t try to fit it.
Look for like-minded people.
Share your feelings and thoughts with those who understand you or want to understand you.
Embrace your feelings.
What Highly Sensitive Persons need to remember:
We can’t please everyone.
It’s ok to say no. No is a complete sentence!
You are not weird, you are sensitive. All 5 (maybe 6) senses are heightened, AND that’s a good thing!
It’s ok to have doubts.
Take care of yourself first, so you can take care of others, too.
Only you can know what you really want and need.
You aren’t broken, you just have your senses on overdrive, and that’s ok.
From one HSP to another - instead of just learning to live with that, learn to BE with that.
Thanks so much for reading!
If you would like to contact me about writing for your publication, to teach in your community or to train staff in your facility contact me here:
KaZ has been in many facets of entertainment, plus the co-owner of two restaurants, a fitness center, a television production company and the owner of a cinema. She did a stint in politics, and in veterinary medicine, She now focuses on writing.
In addition to the above, KaZ is an award-winning vocalist, a former dancer, stunt actor, circus artist, & professional water skier. She has worked as a theater artistic director & writer.
KaZ has been a published writer in magazines & books since the age of 15. She has written plays that have been produced in New York, Florida & New Orleans. She has a featured chapter in the book How To Survive A Move. (Up-to-date she has moved 45 times!) She wrote an article for Organic Wine Journal, and also wrote an article featured at the Ground Zero Memorial.
KaZ co-wrote 2 television informational series & 3 television pilots. One of the pilots, a sit-com, was produced as a reality pilot. KaZ has revisited it and it's now a one season cable series.
“(And ) Then This Happened.” based on life, love, and everything in between in the mid-life years. Loosely based on her life and the life of two of her best girlfriends.
KaZ's many high pressure pursuits led her to meditation.
She began studying meditation in '91. Her initial training focused on Kundalini Yoga with Yogi Bhajan and his teachers. She is a certified Master Meditation and Qigong Instructor, having taught
throughout California, Florida, New York & British Columbia, Canada and online worldwide.
Most recently KaZ taught in a juvenile justice facility, and lectured on mental health in juvenile justice.
With writing being her first love, look for KaZ's upcoming children's books:
from the tales of two grandmothers.
Plus, a play based on letters from her two great uncles during the Second World War.