Where does inspiration lie? Everywhere!

This is my attempt to pounce on and then shape the words I breathe.

Please join me with your comments and make this a dialogue . . . and visit Susan's Poetry!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Be Thou My Vision

I heard this song first in the Bud's of Jesus group I am part of. We've been exploring the body of Jesus, the depth of worship, etc, and we sing at the end.  This one made me happy so here it is.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Using Meditation to Wait and to Stop Waiting

Benefits of Meditation

My discipline to meditate continues--but not discipline to write about it. Writing about November's challenge--writing about anything--petered out after Thanksgiving at my parent's home. Writing with Jennifer is on hold as she continues to care for her father and folks in Kentucky.  And my book?  I have moved the pile of papers from the living room shelf to my work space on the dining room table. I plan to give it two hours daily but haven't started that yet.  I have to figure out where all my time goes.

More and more I find I use meditation in ordinary situations: waiting for appointments, before worship and physical therapy exercises and along with Alexander-technique loosening of my body.  I use it to relax, to practice loving kindness, to breathe, to walk.  I resort to it consciously as it is not yet an instinct.  But it has loosened me up and allowed me to listen more deeply not only to my environment but also to people.

I wonder if I could apply it to my writing practice?  I'm going to try to do this, to meditate before thinking, before writing to think, as a path into deeper connections.  That would be a kindness to myself. 

Also, I will write prompts for myself ... novel worksheets for my novel.  Got to get this ball rolling.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Meditation on trains and away from home: Letting Go

Letting Go

When will the eruption happen? I won-
der. I practice meditation techniques
while visiting so I will breath and live.

Ever admitting the fear would be dan-
gerous, so I zip it except once, when
I ask mom to stop and to let me drive.

We argue later.  I was scared, I say.
You scare too easily, she retorts. 
I know exactly where the edges are.

She found my edges, ditch on one side and
oncoming traffic on the other, my
heart in my mouth and my life in her hands.

She seems half crazy to me as she clings
to her rights and independence.  Does she
truly know whether she knows or do I?

Witness of the hour, I don’t engage or
argue.  I try not to look sad as she
lists all the ways she is careful.  She is.

I don’t want her to feel caged, watched and un-
happy.  I don’t want to be the cause of
curtailed freedom.  I want no regrets.  None.

Forgive me, brothers and other drivers
I can’t say never more, be the raven at 
her door, carrying in reality.

I have had her for almost 100
years and so meditate to breathe and
to breathe and to give her loving kindness.

Posted ot Poets United Poetry Pantry #281

(My country roads are in Upstate New York, Greene County on the Hudson River,
given lots of words in my book ReMothering: Poetry by Susan Chast.)

Copyright © 2015  S.L.Chast

Monday, November 23, 2015

Saturday! Sunday! Monday! Healthy!

Buddha sends love to all beings.

I've been cultivating Metta, sometimes for me, sometimes for others, with a little casual "why don't I close my eyes now and meditate" thrown in.   I love it all, though I am aware that my meditations are still brief enough to be laughable to Those Who Meditate.  Yet it is helping me.  

Yesterday, for example, I went to two Meetings for Worship--Upper Dublin in the morning and West Philadelphia in the afternoon.  When sitting became painful--because with the driving I actually sat with little relief from 9:15 until 2:45--5 hours!--I found that a brief meditation helped me to re-compose my body so that the right skeletal parts, muscles, and nerves were working together more efficiency.

Add the breath to that too and you have a much healthier Susan.  A pain-controlled Susan. Imagine that!  I've got 3 bottles of 600 proof Ibuprofen that I just may be able to throw out.  For the last 2 months I have only taken Lyrica and Tylenol.  

Physical Therapy is hard, but I like it a lot.  I feel my core muscles getting stronger and beginning to take over instinctively.  I've got a long way to go.

But I feel that I have the tools to get there.

Sooo.  Will this post seem irrelevant to me some day like so many journals I've written in my life?  Possibly, but now I want to remember how it feels to get hope from small personal moves and experience how healing strengthens me for facing the devastation of terrorism and inhumanity around the entire world.   Meditating helps me to notice the kindness that is also working around the entire world.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Mindful Monday: Love and Kindness Practice

I totally enjoyed doing this today (Friday, not Monday).  I've been working with loving kindness to me and to friends and needed a break before moving forward.  

I don't know this young teacher's name.  He calls himself JusTMindfulness (this link goes to his You Tube Channel where he has many more videos, some of them lessons).  This one is a little fast and wordy, but since he's talking to children as well as adults, the concepts are swiftly accessible to me.  And since I've worked his breathing mindfulness videos, I know how to prepare the body for leaving tension behind and still imaging who I wanted to see and even larger things.

Two months ago, this video would not have seemed too short.  I'm learning/changing.  I meditated in the physical therapist's waiting room earlier this morning and I'll be entering that state again before the evening is over.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Meditating more than once a day!


Today and yesterday I meditated with  Stage 2 – Cultivating metta towards a good friend
A friend is by definition someone whose well-being is important to us. When they feel bad it upsets us, and when they feel good it’s pleasing to us. So a friend is someone we already have metta for, and what we’re doing is strengthening that metta.
The above flower is from its page on whether to use the same person or vary.  For these two days, I brought in my friend Jennifer Elam who is once more in Kentucky to care for aging parents.  May she experience loving-kindness in her visit.

I hope I experience again today the ease with which I meditated right after Physical Therapy, laying on an ice pack, but still, and for almost 20 minutes.  Then again with ice pack after hurting my back cleaning.  And then again for 10 more minutes while waiting for the Buds of Jesus to arrive. Wonderful!  I felt kinder all evening to myself and to each of them.  My grin was genuine.  There is nothing better.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Finding Metta (noun) = loving kindness, the Buddhist virtue of kindness; also called maitri

Taking a full morning to ready myself and read all the pages about the importance of Stage One: Cultivating Metta Toward Yourself, I came across this statement and felt great that I had discovered this myself:

"When I use the phrase 'May I be well, may I be happy, may I be free from suffering,' I like to drop each part of the phrase in separately, as if it were an individual flower. I drop in 'May I be well,' and then pause for a complete breath to watch for the ripples in my emotions. Then I say 'May I be happy,' and pause again to feel any effect from the phrase. Then I do the same with 'May I be free from suffering.' "  

Amanda Kemp's post meditation glow 
with Jake the compassionate lab.

          I am grateful to Amanda for valuing and extending this practice as part of her mission to change the world.  I've got to persist because it is working!

Monday, November 16, 2015

"Stage 1 – Cultivating metta" and Today's Colors of Sadness and Hope

hands and flowers

Dr. Amanda Kemp sent a powerful link to us on Day 16 of this cycle of her 30-Day Meditation Challenge (Can it truly be day 16 already?): Stage 1 – Cultivating metta toward yourself. The image above is from the same page. Imagine that is me/you in those hands. Imagine those hands every shade of skin imaginable. I love the image because it reminds me of the fragility of hands all over the world--like flowers, they need loving kindness to stay alive, lively and life-giving. A post I read earlier today spoke of the thousands of heartbeats the world lost due to bombings and terrorism in the last few days. When you think of hands, multiply by a factor of at least 2.

So I started this meditation in a state of anxiety. I fixed my chair to give my spine support and began the ritual relaxation that brought me to the phrases I attempted weeks ago:

May I be well.May I be happy.May I be free from suffering.
And they worked so much better! I'm building "me" as a starting place for larger work. Knowing that was basic made me let go of the pit of guilt in my stomach and the sadness of this day. 

When the voice spoke of dropping these words into my relaxed body, my mind gave me a watercolor image: You know how washing the brushes tints a glass of water? I saw myself as the glass of water. I was a blue tint. Dropping the words in changed that to pink which I felt as a rosier outlook. That's as far as that went today, but I want to work more with the image!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Still meditating

Meditation every day is becoming more of a habit, which is good.  I don't forget.  I wake with the thought on my mind and the question of when I can do it.  Next, I'd like to make a ritual place to sit. I have been laying down, combining back care with meditation.  I have been taking more like ten minutes than 5, but I am not sure because I have moved from meditation to sleep!  It is no wonder that sitting up is the most recommended position for meditation!  

Today, since I had left music on all night, I meditated to music:  

This added more layers to mindfulness.  I heard the chimes on my cell phone, the music, the alarm clock radio (from upstairs) and the traffic on Church Lane (outside this living room window). Usually I am unaware of the traffic sounds.  I noted that I was unable to attempt to include prayer/worship with the meditation practice while I was truly mindful of my place in space.  I hadn't realized how much I was "doing" during meditation time.  Still, it was much less "busy" than my normal buzz buzz buzzing around.

About the prayer/worship and the buzz: It is no wonder that I hear God and Jesus as voices, since I have a constant stream of business, commentary, second guessing, critique and often recrimination going on in my head.  Worship focuses that, quieting much of the internalized messaging.  So does meditation, but differently when it is mindfulness meditation.  I have been curious about the voice of God--not so much about Jesus--because I don't see God as a man or anything with human features.  Alice Walker took that off my mind with her book The Color Purple way back in 1983 when I first read it.  In fact, I began hearing God around that time when I opened myself up to a Godness in and around me.  I think Mary Daly's sense of God as a verb also helped.   My head turns everything, interprets everything, in voices regardless of initial contact.  It's just who I am.  Buzz buzz buzz.  John Calvi actually recoiled from such heady business in one of my workshops with him. He recoiled as if he was burned.  I don't think it burns me, but I have been delighted when a different kind of mind fullness gives me a rest:  a mind full of breath and sensation and especially sound and smell.  I like meditating.  I love worshiping and accept God however I become aware of it.  

Today I am attending an art and spirituality workshop led by my own Jen Elam!  She is not mine, of course, but her home is where we write together, and she has turned her place into a workshop area for the day.  I promised to bring an apple sauce so I better get on it even though I have very few apples.  I have a new Foley Food Mill I want to try out--new to me from a guy named Jeff.  I gave him one of my poetry books for it, that's how delighted I am to have it!

Here is the music I slept with most of the time I slept last night: 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Meditation November 9 and 10: Co-creating wholeness While Waiting

Ah, yesterday! 
(I love quoting from Sam Beckett's Happy Days.)  

Yesterday I meditated for 5 minutes twice while waiting for Amy to arrive for our Monday morning worship session.   I set the gongs to ring on my cell phone between 7 and 8AM.   I felt so good melting into non-stress and then rising into mindfulness of breath and body and sound, falling and rising again.  I did it first lying down and then sat up after reading Richard Rohr's meditation.  Lots to think about this week on the topic of "Co-creating wholeness."

Today was even better.  This time I was waiting for the cleaning ladies: 

Mindfulness meditation while waiting
takes care of stress.  I root instead, become
an elm, an oakdepending on my mood
and rest to soft-sap rising harmonies,
and trees don't pace, no, they don't squawk or nag,
no, they don't talk nor walk nor watch a clock,
they grow real slow the more they're left alone . . .

I've always hated waiting.  Why?  It used to give me opportunity—for 37+ years—to smoke cigarettes, which I came to see as a slow kind of suicide based on self-loathing.  But if there ever was self-loathing, it is gone.  It is gone with forgiveness of those who I imagined had abused me.   Abuse and waiting are instances of being out of control, are times it seems that I have no choice.  But I have a choice, and now I choose to meditate. This is a choice that helps me feel good about myself.   This is a choice that allows me to accept my relationship with God as well, to accept love and to love, to answer the vast call yearning towards me, to be aware of it more often.

Hildegard von Bingen_ _The Universe_ _detail__ Scivias Codex_ c. 1165.
Hildegard von Bingen, "The Universe" (detail), Scivias Codex, c. 1165.     
Science: Week 2     

The Great Turning 
Monday, November 9, 2015 
I have set before you life and death, therefore choose life. 
-- Deuteronomy 30:19
Eco-philosopher, Earth elder, friend, and spiritual activist Joanna Macy, now in her eighties, has been promoting a transition from the Industrial Growth Society to a Life-sustaining Society for most of her life. She calls it the Great Turning, a revolution of great urgency: "While the agricultural revolution took centuries, and the industrial revolution took generations, this ecological revolution has to happen within a matter of a few years." She is hopeful as she sees individuals and groups participating in "1) actions to slow the damage to Earth and its beings; 2) analysis of structural causes and creation of structural alternatives; and 3) a fundamental shift in worldview and values." [1, emphasis mine]

. . . . and more . . . .

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Meditating on November 7 and 8

Today, at about 9:00 am I did Guided Mindful Breathing and Listening with Hip Hop Artist JusTme.  I've done this one before and knew his voice would calm and remind me how to return after drifting and how to stop judgement.  Then I downloaded meditation bells on my new cell phone and on this huge screen.  I found this amazing recording of Tribe 1's song, and put it here to use in meditating as well.  Wow!

Yesterday I meditated myself to sleep again, but between the aisles of the theatre at Westtown School during PYM Continuing Sessions.  As I explained on Facebook:
I'm tired out from a full day of PYM sessions--big groups, small groups, upstairs, downstairs, inside and outside. I took one nap between the aisles of an auditorium, guarded by two lions, and then left a little early to have another one all evening. But, it was a full day of no-brace endurance--a first! I'm grateful for everyone who helped with golf-cart rides, and hands up and companionship. I'm grateful for every surprise and change and evidence of growth. What a day!
The two lions were Pamela Haynes and Charlie Randall from the Pamplets Working Group at Pendle Hill.

(Lots of links here for me to remember later.)

Friday, November 6, 2015

Day 5 meditation

30 Day Meditation Challenge Meetup --Susan Chast and Amanda Kemp from Amanda Kemp on Vimeo.

I drove to Lancaster today for lunch and conversation with the dynamic Amanda Kemp, originator of the 30-day meditation challenge and visionary performer director of  #SayHerName, Inspira and Art as Ceremony.  Amanda makes me believe we can still save our planet. 

Long time sitting, great time telling each other about ourselves.  

I fell asleep meditating again.  

There is so much more to say today.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Day 3 and 4: Dealing with muscle-recovery pain and uncertainty

I've been distracted, but I've been using the meditation challenge to assist me with both the physical and the emotional disturbances.

Physical therapy has been making me test muscles that I haven't moved for a while.  I have been frightened that the pain means I'm pulling too hard on the surgery itself.  One of the physical therapists and I discussed the issue.  She suggested I go back on pain meds for a while so that I can do the work I need to do.  I increased the Lyrica again to 3 pills a day--as it was before--to see if that will work before I try the other.   

Emotionally, I was frustrated when the carpenters who are now ripping out and replacing my kitchen floor and my gutters didn't start on Monday!  Grrr.  And they didn't call.  And I had cleared out my kitchen and my schedule for them.  I used to smoke cigarettes while waiting.  I've learned that meditation works better.  Cigs are another med I will not go back to since I left them behind to afford retirement.  Yup.  Almost $100 extra per month.  They started today, Wednesday, and all is going well.  But if they need 5 days and keep me out of the kitchen over the weekend, I may need meditation medication for stress again.  Just saying.

Yesterday, I tried the breathing all day and finally let it move me into a fitful nap.  After I cancelled the day's plans to walk in the woods with Amy, I tried again.  I think I was successful as I woke three hours later rested and without pain.

Today, I worked with my own breath again along with an Alexander technique body survey.  Wonderful.  It must have lasted about 10 minutes before I added healing, love and hugs--for me, for the world, for the people I am holding in the Light.

I used to explode with anger.  I can see that Meditation is giving me time to pause and take better care of myself.  What a relief.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Day 2: Centering Meditation, Letting it Go

I missed the 7am "Meditate with Amanda" time, which unsettled me a little; and then I cancelled my 8am "Monday Worship with Amy" time because today the carpenters rip out my kitchen floor to replace it and I didn't hear from them and so didn't know when they would arrive.  Uncentered.  The carpenters--Rose Carpentry--finally called at 8am--to say they wouldn't begin until Wednesday. That's when anger totally de-centered me, but expressing it wouldn't help. I did gripe about the lack of communication and how I had cleared most of the kitchen.  And they said "sorry" but what else could they do?

So I chose Richard Gerner's Centering Meditation to guide me today, a meditation that I had already downloaded to my Desktop media player because Amanda had recommended Richard's page in her opening letter:
  • Download Insight Timer App onto your smart phone or tablet.  It's free and you'll have hundreds of meditations to chose from.
  • Read Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Chris Germer.  (I downloaded it from Barnes and Nobles but it's a hard copy book.)
It is a 15-minute meditation, but I tell you that it felt like only 3 minutes!  The phrases that came to me were "Stop hurting me" then "Stop hurting" then "Let it Go" and eventually "Stop.  Let it Go." became my centering phrase. It is I who have to stop obsessing and let it go if I am going to remain centered and respect myself.

And there you have it.  My belly has softened; and this is a prayer that has God written all over it.

I am going to try to return here at night and do another meditation-while-writing that Jennifer Elam suggested to me: Where did I see--when did I spend time with--God today?

I also want to do all of Tara Brach's Meditations !  
Amanda is spending a weekend on her:  
Just listened to Tara Brach last podcast on anxiety and self aversion. Wow that hit home. I'm going to take her up on the challenge she offers there. I still haven't registered for her de conditioning the fear body workshop because... I'm afraid! But it's this weekend. Anyone interested in going?
Tara Brach's talks are HERE

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Starting November with a Mindfulness Intention

I'm starting to meditate 5 minutes a day with Amanda Kemp again.  I started here:

I started here and let it move into the next meditation too.

My intention this month is to use this--or let this use me--as the starting point of a daily discipline of prayer which will include making some notes here.  Something is moving and changing within me--moving and changing on every level.  Here I want to acknowledge the rising and the falling of that--the Light and the Shadow of the move into presence and a different kind of living.  

It is not trite to say the American cliche "Today is the first day of the rest of my life" and with Buddha "Each morning we are born again.  It is what we do today that matters most."

I fall quite often.  Perhaps I have made an art of falling and an art of talking.  Here I will attempt an art of rising and of listening--getting up and hearing.  Mindfulness is being present.  Assertion of self was necessary to earn a living against all odds and to have earned this time for self and action as God led.  Now it is time to trust in presence rather than what has worked for me in the past.

So may it be.


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Free-writing with Jen: What makes me feel free?

Dance.  Equality.

(I’m recording positives rather than what made me feel non-free.)

With a father and a grandmother who were both gods in their own homes, my freedom grew to be interior and alone, what I did not say at home or in crowded areas.  I had my own bedroom only for one summer and for my senior year of high school and then I had room-mates all the way through college.  So freedom was within me and away from TVs and radios and gatherings.  I must have been 35 or older before I realized that a childhood of being outdoors in gardens and woods was what started to form my free spirit and imagination.  My teachers and my mom loved my imagination from the get go, but I felt freer in non-scrutinized, non-critical space.  I repressed my own imagination.  Mom knew I was going to be a writer, and I suppressed that too.

In college, I felt powerful fighting for peace and education and free love, so I didn’t often give myself up to experiencing the freedoms that could be in dance and writing and lovemaking and being alone.  I dived into all three when I made time, but I believe now that I was afraid of not having a God around like dad or grandmother or even mom.  Then in rapid succession came a marriage, divorce, car and meetings with incredible women.  Freedom came over me and the spirit entered.

I began to learn Judaism—which was familiar from dad’s family—but now its amazing history, poetry and ritual were reshaped in women’s hands. Then I experienced being outdoors again, but nude!  I found witches and a coven.  Weight fell away from me.  I became taller standing on mother earth.  I was a Jewish Pagan until I met Quakers in the peace movement and learned how to be free from struggle in the midst of struggle (as long as I stayed far away from the complications of family).

By writing this freely, I am beginning to see that I feel free when I can get elemental and open like a day lily—yes, like an artichoke.  I found a little freedom on each spiritual and physical unfolding. Spirituality and sensuality have been elemental twin openings that I can’t describe without poetry and metaphor.  Imagine me on the seashore digging my feet in, letting my feet be enveloped by wet sand and me be sucked out of myself.  Right at land and sea where no expectations exist, equality abounds.  There where I cannot get pulled into working on equality like I need to do in social settings.  At the seashore all is equal.  Or hugging a tree like I did the other day in Avis’s cemetery.  And driving, sometimes driving with music. 

I’m feeling freer and freer as the surgical work on my body slowly takes effect and I have much less pain than I can remember.  Also, for once, I have a little more money than I need to live on as Nancy continues to pay rent for downstairs.  And I have mobility. 

With this freedom, I begin to feel I can be naked again in front of my Jewish-Pagan-Christian God.  I don’t hold back when God speaks and moves through me.  I am free to be in the world but not of it.  I have weights still, but I find that they are also blessings:
1. mom and dad and family and friends    2. books and poems to finish and publish   3.  worlds to bring equality to 4. environments to better
I don’t want to lose these weights.  I like them.  They are privileges and they set me free.  I won’t give them up unless they no longer exist.

Am I telling the truth? 

I got irritable at a friend this week for not using the plates I asked her to use and because she took my salad off the table to make room for her soup.  Why so irritated?  Do I want to be free from my friends and worship groups and free from potlucks forever?  No.  I am free amid these to travel paths I’ve never traveled before and to accompany incredible people.

Do I not want to be free? 

My students used to call out “freedom of speech!” when I called them on obscenity and hate speech, but I said, no, there’s no freedom of speech in school.  And then we debated.  Proposition:  No one wants absolute freedom for themselves or for others.  My point:  Wouldn’t you prefer having the freedom to choose limits to freedom you agree with in order to have the society around you in which you feel free? 

I want freedom of movement, freedom from all consuming health concerns.  I want to give myself more freedom to walk and see friends and art and the ocean by setting a schedule and making sure these are in it and equal to other events on it.  I want to be free from my book by finishing it.  I want to build life as a retreat where I am free to indulge in my spiritual and sensual life—just like I’m trying to do during this Pendle Hill year.

I don’t mind working for freedom.  I love feeling capable of doing that.  I am feel freer now than I ever have before in my life.  I’ve found me and I am with a God that I have not made in my own image.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

PART THREE: The home stretch of Amanda Kemp's 30-day Challenge

Yesterday I tried three times to meditate but my mind was on what I had to do--not that I was about to do it!  Today, I must--or it was a gesture and undeserved publicity about my activities and depth.  I repeat a promise to myself that I will not play on Face book until and unless I am meditating.  I hope that meditation will still my mind too much to spend time there at all, too much to be happy with such fake news and fake community.  

So now, I am looking for a guide to help me--
I picked one randomly from the internet: 

Meditation for Inner Peace

It took about ten minutes, and had me do it for the purpose of developing good qualities for benefiting myself and others.  So on the inhale I allowed myself to think "for self"  and on the exhale "for others.  I alternated this with "inhale" or "ocean" and "exhale" or "shore."  I kept pulling myself back from the chore list, from associations.

I think it helped that I wrote the poem "Natural Order" first, working with inspiration from Richard Rohr's meditation that I read every morning.  

I feel great. I will keep the idea of benefiting myself and others all day long.

Friday 9/25: Decided to use the same meditation helper today as yesterday, and then see if I can keep it all day.  I should ask Amanda if one of the goals is to do this without aids.  Earlier this month I worked a few days like that.  

Oh--I also want to note that I've now had 2 days of not using Facebook first!  Bravo me!  It's sort of like quitting smoking.

Saturday 9/26--Meditated this morning to 

10 minute Lovingkindness Meditation with Trudy Goodman

and I LOVED it!  

But I have to admit that I spends a few minutes before finding a meditation looking for that 5-minute Loving Kindness Meditation that Amanda loves.  She sent it out again in an email this morning:  
P.S.  My Insight Timer Favorites:
Development of Lovingkindness (27 min)5 minute lovingkindness meditation (5 min)I LOVE Bodhipaksa's voice, his accent, and of course the invitation to practice lovingkindness toward myself, difficult people and the world. 
I may have found it once, but I cannot find it again.  I'll have to ask Amanda for the Link.  

I loved getting a morning email from AManda reminding me to meditate, and:  As we approach our auspicious end point, which occurs on a Super Moon & Lunar Eclipse, take a few minutes to send me an email or a recording (audio or video) about your experiences so far.  So I will.  She also asks how we might continue to stay connected in meditation.  I admit what I want is a 5 minute meditation tape in HER VOICE.  We have all those minute ones from her--how about a meditation in her voice and whatever embellishments she might like to add.

9/27--Again started with a search and found this for busy people:

I liked it--but it was a woman's voice not the Bodhipaksa's voice.  I liked it's attention to the breath and its guidance from body to mind to center and then to tell self what I need to hear.  

I also found this that I have not tried yet:

I think I did this one once before:

So:  Have I made a change in my life?  I note that when I do this my day goes better--just like if I do my physical therapy (and don't eat after 9 pm) at night my sleep goes better.  Will I do it?  Yes. And even, maybe, more and more during the day as a preparation for stopping and seeing and being mindful of God guiding me at all levels and inside and outside.

What do I mean by God?  My connectedness to everything--but not as I usually feel it--so swift and busy.  More awash in a gentle pool and discovering I can breathe underwater after all.

I like this in Bodhipaksa's voice, as it feels that he knows what goes on with me in this peripheral vision exercise:  

I love that I did this 30-day challenge as part of my year of retreat--indeed--at the very beginning of it as a way to assist everything else I do from now on.

Monday 9/28--The Day After.
I did the River Meditation above, and didn't realize it had ended--kept right on going!!  Perhaps not for long, but still. I like that it has no bells at the end and that eyes and all senses are open.  What a way to walk in the woods.  What a way to walk outside at all! Love.