Nine Nifty Things I Noticed in 150 Straight Days (and counting!) of Meditation

As I write this, I just hit 150 days of meditation in a row. That is a big accomplishment for me. My longest meditation streak ever. The day I started this streak, I participated in a meditation workshop and the teacher suggested that all we needed to do was noticeduring our sits, be mindful of our noticings. So that’s what I’m doing. The biggest thing I’m noticing is that I’m in a constant state of re-learning what I already knew, but somehow forgot or thought I had changed. Or I’m discovering that circumstances have changed and what I learned no longer applies. Or I am the circumstance that’s changed and therefore needs to learn anew.  I don’t got this, but…


What Happens When I Meditate On Fear

This morning I meditated on fear, as I have been doing for the past five weeks (more on that in a minute). My meditation app (Insight Timer) allows others meditating at the same time to share messages. The standardized message looks like this: Profile Photo (or more likely a mandala, a flower or a babbling brook) Betty from Newark, NJ wrote:  “Thanks for meditating with me.” **** (stars indicating how many milestones the person has reached) This morning I got a message from Mara (no town listed). Weird. In Buddhism, Mara is the demon of temptation, who uses sensory pleasure, mockery and violence to divert us from our truth and essential goodness. How fitting that Mara should send a message…


How To Build a Meditation Practice: The Little Fish and The Fisherman

Five months ago, I started a meditation streak. I set out to meditate for 10 days in a row. Then I upped my goal to 30. I just hit 150 days and I don’t have a specific goal anymore. I just want to see how far I can take it. One day at a time. Little by little. Baby steps toward Buddha’s feet. A practice we can extend to much else in our lives, especially in moments when the possibility of change or progress feels very far away indeed. Jean de La Fontaine captures the spirit of our task here, with his talking fish: Little fish grow big, if the universe allows. But to release one in the meantime, well…


Upping Our Environmental Game: The Swallow and The Little Birds

Earth Day was this past week, a time for stepping up our environmental game. I was at my favourite falafel joint with a friend for lunch yesterday. We had both dutifully brought drinks in our own re-usable bottles and when we ordered our take-out, we were careful to say, “No bag, please.” We waited, holding our eco-sac at the ready. The woman popped our falafel sandwiches in a bag and handed it to us. My friend took the sandwiches out of the bag and handed it back to the woman at the counter (very politely and without attitude). The woman grabbed the bag, crumpled it up in front of us and threw it in the garbage. Why wouldn’t she listen…


What Is Feminist? –The Dragon With Many Heads and The Dragon With Many Tails

I’ve been talking and thinking a lot lately about feminism and feminist actions. Most vividly, the topic came up around a play I wrote (Because I Am Your Queen). From the beginning, I wanted to create and foster a feminist project that empowered women both in its development and doing, as well as in its content. In other words, I wanted a play that practiced what it preached, without preaching, of course (I hope)! What are feminist practices in the creation of a play? In its production? In its rehearsal process? For that matter, what are feminist practices full stop? Canadians, for example, have been wrestling lately with the question of what constitutes a feminist government. One might not think…


The Half Marathon I’m Dreading

One month ago, I signed up for the Shape Half Marathon in New York on April 14. I haven’t run a regular road half-marathon in about a decade. I do still participate in the occasional trail running event, but some years ago I decided that I’d run enough road races. To compound my dread going in, I knew I wasn’t even going to be able to start training until March 14th(literally only 30 days before the race). Sure, I would be cross-country skiing for the weeks before then, so not out of shape, but certainly not in running form. I only signed up because a friend asked me to. The race is on her birthday, so … Before I could…


How Many Years of Life Is The Thigh Gap Worth? –The Melancholic and Death

I watched the television show Fleabag recently (an excellent mix of funny, poignant and wrenching) and was struck by a scene in which a feminist speaker asks her audience, “Would you give up five years of your life to have the perfect body?” The protagonist and her sister raise their hands, but no one else does. We, the television viewing audience, are invited to think the sisters are shallow. We woke viewers understand that life is more important than having the perfect body, as much as we may complain about the latter. This fable of Jean de La Fontaine’s came to mind. A wretched man called out for death to save him every day. The melancholy man said : O…


A Glimpse Behind The Veil: Coming To Terms With Our Connectedness

It’s day 107 of my current meditation streak. It took until day 90 for me to notice an internal difference. Change is subtle. Time takes on different proportions. The distance between a thought and its expression gets longer. For example, I want to talk less about other people for gossip’s sake and to not say things about people that I wouldn’t say to them directly. You probably never gossip, but I have to make an ongoing commitment to be mindful of what comes out of my mouth (or my fingers on a keyboard). Backseat driving other people’s lives is such good sport. Diagnosing what other people could be doing better in their own lives is so much easier than steering…


I Bought Running Tights First After A Year of No Shopping

In 2018, I challenged myself not to shop for clothes, shoes, handbags and jewelry for the whole year (I wrote about it here: Making Room In My Mind: A Year of No Shopping). Throughout the year people kept asking, “But what about sports clothes? What about running shoes!?” My answer was that I would make an exception, if I had to. After all, running shoes are a matter of physical health. I wasn’t going to risk an injury running in worn out shoes. As for sports clothes, well, it’s amazing how long one can keep on going in tights so stretched out the crotch is bagging down around mid-thigh. Never mind running bras that make a snap-crackle-pop sound when you put them…


I Feel and Think, Therefore I Am: The Head and The Tail of The Snake

I’ve had several conversations recently with friends who are taking actions that feel wrong in their gut. Literally. Whether it’s knots in their stomach from stress or new intolerances to foods. Yet, their decisions, from the outside, look rational, reasonable and prudent. We are, as a society, far too Cartesian. Remember, René Descartes (17thcentury French philosopher) and his, “I think, therefore I am”? He famously thought our bodies were mere machines.  I bet he wasn’t much fun in bed. When we ignore the knowledge that our bodies carry, by refusing to include that wisdom in our decision-making process, we intentionally deprive ourselves of useful and relevant information to guide our actions. To find insight into this puzzling behavior, we can…




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