Fableogs

I’m Struggling, Can You Help Me Figure Out My Challenge for 2021?

Welcome 2021. We begin the year of how-the-fuck-do-I-make-a-plan? And I’m not even talking about grand plans; regular old-style plans and small wishes and intentions feel hard. For me, it’s six days into the year and I’m still trying to figure out both my Word of the Year and my challenge. I usually have both well in hand by now. This year I struggled mightily to find a word. As for the challenge, I’d love your help. A bit of background. My cousin introduced me to this Word of the Year practice more than a decade ago. As I wrote last year in my January post, “The idea is to distill your hopes, dreams, ambitions and challenges for the coming year…

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I Chose Not to Have Children and I Belong Here, Too

Today, I hit 2 years straight in my daily meditation streak. When I started, I set myself the goal of 30 days. As time passed, I kept moving the goalposts. I feel good about my accomplishment (and I’ve written elsewhere about what I’ve learned). And yet, as soon as I sense those first inklings of pride, I hear the voice: “Well, you don’t have children, so it’s easy for you to meditate every day.” That’s the collective voice of women I’ve known, friends even. It’s also the voice of our society, which has insinuated itself into my psyche, passing itself off as my own judgments of myself. Every accomplishment I might celebrate is diminished by this subtext, “You don’t have…

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Inching My Way Back to Canada On A Spin Bike

I finally made the big decision. Put the Bowflex C6 in my shopping cart. Cate Creede, a fellow blogger on Fit Is A Feminist Issue, raves that this spin bike is her new best friend. And even though it won’t arrive for 3 months, I’m ready to commit. Montreal winter won’t be over three months from now, nor will pandemic restrictions (or in any event, I don’t see myself going to an indoor spin class for quite some time. 2022?). I put in my new Montreal shipping address and ticked the box confirming that it was not the same as my billing address.  Which, it turned out a moment later, I could not even enter. Only Canadian billing addresses allowed.…

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BIXI Queen of Mont Royal

In early September, my partner and I decamped from New York City to Montreal for the rest of the year (and maybe longer). I’m a McGill alum (and Canadian). Ever since I left Montreal, I’ve had a hankering to come back. Pre-pandemic, we’d started talking about coming for a month to see how we liked being here. Then the turbulent spring paused our plans. When we poked our heads above the parapet again to think about the future, Montreal sent up smoke signals. Despite the fact that we were quarantined for the first two weeks, and now we’re subject to red zone restrictions, a month into our sojourn, I love being here. I didn’t arrive in my best-self mental state.…

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Meditation Hands

Re-reading Sharon Salzberg’s Real Happiness recently got me thinking more about the specifics of my meditation practice. Posture, for example, is one of those things I hadn’t been paying close attention to anymore. I don’t mean that I was meditating in slumped over disarray. More that, after some years of practice, I have established my posture. Cross-legged. Seated on a cushion. Back straight. Neck long. Pelvic energy rooting down and my upper body’s energy rising, as if a string were pulling me gently up by the crown of my head. As for my hands, most often, they rest on my thighs, palms down, close enough to my body so that my shoulders and heart can open. Somewhere back in the mists…

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Mountain Bike Meditation

I love mountain biking. In these COVID-times, with all the additional stresses, the sport is a meditative source of grounding, focus and joy. This was not always so. It took me a lot of years to arrive at the relationship I have with the sport (and my bike). I dabbled in mountain biking for many years; i.e. a couple of decades. The first time I tried out mountain biking was more than 30 years ago. I bought a mountain bike to replace the city cruiser I had, figuring that it could do double duty—replace my dilapidated cruiser and be a source of off-road fun exercise too. I couldn’t quite achieve the off-road fun bit. I didn’t trust myself or my…

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30 Minutes to Expand Your Emotional Intelligence

We are tuning forks; constantly responding to the lightest touch of an emotion from within or coming at us from someone else. How can we better attune to our vibrations and those around us, so that we don’t hit the sour notes? Tuning our emotional intelligence is a tricky business. To start with, what does it even mean to be emotionally intelligent? There’s no metric that measures whether we’re there yet, though some have proposed them. What would there look like? You as a Zen monk on a mountaintop, except you are actually on your last nerve in the middle of a high energy urban environment, measuring in at 10 out of 10 on some EI scale? I exaggerate. There…

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500 Days of Meditation … Am I There Yet?

500 uninterrupted days of meditation in a row. Am I there yet? I don’t know. No. Turns out there is nowhere to go, except be. A message that meditation delivers and redelivers over a long haul. A note that is particularly poignant in this current moment, when we want nothing more than to get back to normal and not be in this moment. Meditation asks us to notice. To notice how and what we label—this is a crisis, that’s normal, I don’t like this, I like that. Since meditation is nothing but a practice of noticing; here’s what I’ve noticed: When will I remember? I’m now almost able to remember to sit without a prompt. I still try to leave…

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COVID MoodCoaster

Not that my moods didn’t swing from time to time before, but now they are subject to the shelter-in-place amplification factor. On any given day the non-stop voice in my head drags me along on her wild ass rollercoaster ride, hands flung up in the air, hair a streaming tangle in the wind … You’re so ridiculously lucky to be able to play out here in the snow on these beautiful mountains. Look at that view. Breathe that air. Oh *&%@, who could possibly keep their balance on this ungroomed mess. You’re the biggest loser on skis. Don’t ever ski again. You are so Zen after that new breath meditation. You’re cruising right down the middle of The Middle Way.…

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Love in the Time of COVID19

We are living a societal crisis. Our survival instincts threaten our better nature. Hoarding, profiteering, getting a gun—these might help you individually in the short term, but at the cost of our collective wellbeing. Just as violence does not solve violence, nor will our survival instincts help society survive. We live in community, because we aspire to something far greater than survival. More than ever, we have to lead with love in all our decisions and actions. Love is an individual and collective imperative, if we are to get through this moment with grace, compassion and a flourishing society. A key tool is the practice of embodied mindfulness—tuning into all five channels of intelligence available to us, instead of the…

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