Yesterday, today, work and other thoughts

Oh wow! I slept for 8 hours today. I feel great. I can’t take a nap this afternoon or I might ruin my sleep schedule again.

Had yet another disappointment but wasn’t surprised, as usual. It’s like people could be anything and they choose to be jerks. I don’t understand. If you hate me or despise me or whatever, don’t keep me in your life. That’s all I ask. And yet, some people want me on their life for some reason and yet treat me like crap. Luckily, there’s only one person in my life that fits this description. I’ve been steadily cutting off people like that. It’s the best thing you can do for your mental health. And it saves you a lot of trouble.

Today, if someone annoys me or starts bs, I’m going to tell that person to fuck off. No matter who he/she is (unless it’s my mom or dad or another family member or a close friend). I feel like some people tested my patience and it’s nowhere to be found. And every time someone is mean to me, I isolate myself more. Which sucks and they go about their lives as usual, while I feel sad and down. And that pisses me off even more, you can’t imagine. Those people don’t care. And even claim to be spiritual and searching for enlightenment and so on. Come on. I know that I don’t get to decide who should or shouldn’t be spiritual but it’s so odd how someone can claim to be on a spiritual path and then be completely unkind and even malevolent. Buddha never said “go on, hurt people as you’ve been hurt”. He suggests a path of good actions and even good thinking, in order to bear life better. A way of looking at life that is very concrete and sobering. Accepting that life is suffering but that there is a way to suffer less. Never to add suffering to other people’s lives. Nor did Christ say that. Unless your spirit is dark and you want to it to remain that way. That’s one explanation. But I’m not going to think about it anymore. Let those people go and best of luck to them.

You know, saying fuck off is empowering. It’s a great way to end a stupid conversation. It means that you will not tolerate some remarks. It means that you don’t appreciate being treated like that. It’s a way to assert yourself and resort a very old instinct. I bet we told each other to fuck off since the beginning of time. I digress. Don’t be afraid to end a conversation that is not benefiting you or is making you uncomfortable or sad. A conversation that crosses the line. We’ve all had them. Something inside of you tells you that it isn’t right, that you are being mistreated in some way. That has happened to me in the past and I accepted it for love. Oh god, never again. People who love you and know how to love you don’t hurt you. Loving is not enough, you’ve got to know how to love. If you’re damaged in some way and not being treated or healing, you may hurt someone. I am guilty of doing that in the past. I had too much baggage and trauma. I hurt people unintentionally and that still makes me sad to this day. But I’ve also come to somewhat accept that it was a part of my journey and a way to learn how to be a better person. And I believe that I’m a better person now, nowhere near very good but, at least, neutral. That makes me feel content but I know that I can do even better. Baby steps. It’s all about the baby steps.

I have yet to call to my therapist, though I need it a lot. I’m such a slacker. I procrastinate so much. What a disaster. I don’t know what to do. It’s hard to get anything done, except writing and house work.

My friend messaged me today. He said that he wanted me to call him. I did. We talked things through and we will see each other tomorrow. I miss him. Talking to him was good. I just can’t get close to him. We have to talk more sporadically. I hope that I’m not making a bad decision. Something in my gut tells me that he doesn’t mean harm.

I have been feeling more empowered and I have more energy. I’ve been showering every day, like I should. I’ve been taking care of my spaces, washing dishes. I made chocolate pancakes for me and my mom. They were delicious. I cooked lunch for my father yesterday, as well. I’m laying the foundation for a better future. A future where I’m active and lead a productive life. I know that it’s possible, I’ve done it before. It’s just a matter of time, of studying and meditating. Getting out of my comfort zone and do what needs to be done.

Yesterday, I took two of my cats to the vet. They had a cold and one of them had bronchitis. They are heavy so my mother asked me to go with her and so I did. It wasn’t easy. We spent about 45 minutes there. It seemed like three hours. The room was very small. But I felt proud and empowered afterwards. I helped my mother with our pets. I don’t mind helping her. It is my duty as a daughter of a loving mother. She has done so much for me, it’s the least I could do.

I need to do some bureaucratic things next week. Maybe because it’s August, there will be less people in line. Going there at around 7 am is also a possibility. Gotta love the services we have here. Well, tough it up, butter cup. There are worse things in life. I also need to do my eyebrows and I should do them tomorrow. It’s interesting, once you start to take care of yourself, you don’t want to stop. It becomes a part of you. I should cut my hair, one of these days. My nails are done, they are red and short. I love black nails. I also love other colors.

3 am. Woke up at midnight. I can’t fall asleep too late or else I’ll ruin tomorrow. Or should I say today. Technically, it is today already. A few hours away from dawn. I still have time. It’s the biggest luxury I have, besides a house and my basic needs met. I never forget. Sometimes, I look around, look at my life and my friends. I’m pleasantly surprised and grateful that I have what I have and that they are a part of my life. I’m grateful for my evolution, in terms of maturity and mental health. My evolution as a meditator and how balanced my mood is. It’s the little things that become bigger and greater things over time. I just have to remain active, keep pursuing my dreams, while trying to get in the mindset of finding a job out of my house. A part-time job, for example. In a supermarket or something like that. I think that I could be a cashier or someone who stocks the shelves. I have to keep pondering on that idea, visualize it, make it a part of me. That would give my parents great joy. And that is something that can motivate me, I’ll do anything to make my parents happy and proud of me. They mean everything to me. I also have to focus on the money I’ll earn, the fact that I will be out of the house, interacting with different people. I think working will be great for me. I’m so scared that I will feel suffocated by having to go 5 days a week. I hate feeling stuck. It should be 4 work days and 3 days off. I’m serious. It would be ideal to everyone, except workaholics but maybe they could work 5 or 6 days a week. There would be a week day off, where you could take care of issues with banks and so on. Another day (Saturday, for example) for resting and cleaning. The third day would be for doing a little more cleaning, plenty of rest and preparing for the week. People tend to get stressed out with five days a week, why should we subject people to that? It’s very detrimental to our physical and mental health. Sometimes, your supervisor might ask you to do overtime, several times a week. I’ve worked like that and I know exactly what it can do to you. It wrecked me. Wreaked havoc on my health. I was so sick that I had to quit my job. I was in a good team, working for a good company. People were talking about promoting me. I stood apart from the rest of the colleagues that were trained at the same time as me. Now, it’s too late. It doesn’t matter anymore. Only the future matters. Only today. My words in the past, blowing in the wind. Fragments of moments that won’t be forgotten, for they are immortalized.

I feel so good. Things make sense, the stars are aligned. The future could be bright. Brighter, as it is bright right now, despite how I feel sometimes. I need to control my feelings better and get a thicker skin. That is essential for my survival. I can’t take everything so seriously. Not online or Irl. I have more of a troll attitude of not taking most things seriously. But I don’t actually troll, I just shitpost on a group that I like, on Facebook. I try not to get offended by things, unless they are vile and terrible. But I don’t think I’ve ever seen an awful post there. I stay away from toxic content. I don’t make mean comments and start fights. That’s not who I am.

I’m hearing a lot of noises at my house today. It isn’t very normal, though weird things happen from time to time. But I won’t get into that. I’m used to it by now. It’s a matter of mindset. I refuse to have fear. I’m scared only for a few seconds. I breathe in deeply and keep calm. And it passes. Peace returns and I am back to my relaxed self.

We all have burdens: the burden of existence, kids, parents, relatives and other people. But some are good to bear. You feel accomplished by doing it, you do it out of love and compassion. But for me, by far, the worst burden is the burden of existence. I’ve been getting some existential dread from time to time. But I also won’t get into that reality tunnel, not now and not today.

It’s raining so much. In August. What the hell? It shouldn’t be raining. At least it’s not cold. The sound of the rain is soothing. It feels like heaven in my ears. But it’s very unusual. Every year, by August is really warm and it doesn’t rain. Sometimes we even have too little rain and it harms the crops. It rarely rained in the summer, climate is surely changing. I’m not the most informed person on this issue. Most of the scientific community accepts that climate change is due to mankind. Other people say that this is normal and the weather always changes and has always changed from time to time. I think the truth is somewhere in the middle: yes, pollution and other hazardous activities are accelerating climate change. And yes, weather always changed from time to time, we have proof of that. The conclusion should be: recycle, don’t buy too many things you don’t need, use a reusable bag for groceries(you can even use little cloth bags for fruits and veggies), buy second hand, trade, sell or donate what you don’t use. There are so many things we can do to help the environment.

I am now preparing to go to sleep. I’m listening to chill out music and writing my last sentences before I go to sleep. But before sleeping, I always have to meditate. I’m doing a meditation course on an app I have reviewed called Serenity. I also do two daily meditations: a mini meditation (it’s about 3 minutes long, on average) and the daily practice (it’s 10 minutes long, on average). The course tales around 10 or more minutes, a session. It also has meditations for sleep and other occasions. Having an app that allows you to have a daily practice that you can track is always a plus. You can always go back and do daily meditations that you didn’t do on a certain day. I sometimes get angry and I shouldn’t. It isn’t very common but I don’t want it to happen. Meditation is very helpful in that sense.

This was a long one. If you’ve come this far, I salute you. I hope you are okay. ❤

Today

Oh God, I had the biggest meltdown today. I had lunch with my parents and uncle. Everything was going well but I was feeling sad and overwhelmed. Almost started crying at the table. I excused myself and laid on my bed. I was feeling restless, uncomfortable, having that “I don’t feel good anywhere” feeling. Then came existential dread. And I started crying. I cried and cried for about an hour. Then, I decided to talk to my mother. She comforted me and I decided to take a sleeping pill, in order to rest.

And I slept until 1 am. I woke up feeling like a new person and in a really good mood. I guess that all that crying was cathartic. I feel more at peace now. I guess some meltdowns have a purpose. The brain is intelligent after all. An amazing biological machine.

I fell asleep at 4 am and woke up at 6 am. Charming. Just what I needed. How I wish I could sleep for 8 hours straight. I’ve only achieved that during the day, never during the night, no matter what time I go to sleep. I’m not tired now but I will be in a few hours and I would love to go out today. I’m going out with my ex. It’s going to be great.

I’m so tired now. It’s been 2 hours since I woke up. Being always tired because you don’t get enough sleep is very annoying. I’ve meditated for 30 minutes an hour ago. I will meditate for at least another 30 minutes after I write this. It’s one of the activities that actually calm me and allow me to feel more peaceful.

I will be doing some changes to the layout of the site. I think it’s not optimal and I want it to be better. Any feedback about it is greatly appreciated.

See you laters, my lovely gators ❤

App Review: Serenity for Android

I talked extensively about Insight Timer for learning how to meditate and to try different types of meditations. Now the only way to have a subscription is if you pay once a year. I wanted to pay for an app, in order to have more motivation to meditate. As I can’t pay Insight Timer’s yearly subscription, I found Serenity. It’s a simple looking app, with a course to learn how to meditate, daily mini-meditations and a daily practice. You can do the ones you missed, in your own time. It also has meditations for different purposes, like sleeping or relaxing. There at achievements and new content is being developed. Right now, it has enough content for on to be entertained for hours.

I pay about 7 euros a month. When I pay, I feel more obligated to do things. I rarely miss a day because of it.

After a week, I can say that I’m pleased with this app and will continue to pay for the subscription. It’s an excellent way to maintain a regular practice and that is enough for you to see results. I can already see results after a week, I feel better and more focused. It’s been a 15 minutes a day practice. That’s all you need. It helps me my creativity immensely.

It has challenges which is also a cool way to get motivated

Of course, it’s not Insight Timer, with their 20000 meditations. I still use it because of their guided meditation library. It’s truly diverse. Serenity is for the user that likes simplicity and just needs the right amount of guidance to keep a regular practice.

If you use the free version you have limited features and only 2 hours of free content. In that sense, Insight Timer wins because it has much more free content. It’s ultimately about you and your budget.

This app is for android only.

8/10

Gratitude challenge: Meditation

This week, I’m doing the gratitude challenge from Habitica. Every day, I’m writing about one thing that I’m grateful for.

Today, I’m writing about meditation. It’s something that has been life-changing.

I do Anapanasati (or concentration meditation) and Vipassana meditation (or mindfulness meditation). As someone who is in recovery, it has been very important to me. It has helped decrease my depressive symptoms, regulate my mood, quietened my mind and helped me focus better (it boosted my concentration tremendously).

It’s a quiet space where I can have peace of mind and serenity. Not thinking and just observing thoughts has been proven as very beneficial for the brain. It shrinks the amygdala (the brain’s fight or flight center, which is responsible for fear and emotion, where reactions to stress start). This was only after 8 weeks of mindfulness practice. Studies show that the pre-frontal cortex gets thicker (it’s responsible for concentration, awareness and decision-making). The connection between the amygdala and the rest of the brain becomes weaker and the connection between areas associated with concentration and attention get stronger (according to this article).

Anapanasati meditation is, basically, concentrating on your breath and letting thoughts go as they arise. You don’t judge yourself or your thoughts.

In Vipassana meditation, you focus on the sensations in your body and you observe your thoughts as they arise, letting them go afterwards.

These two types of meditation should be practiced every day, at least two times a day because concentration meditation helps concentration (obviously) and gives us a better mood and mindfulness meditation (also called insight meditation) helps us become more aware of our body, helps us deal with unpleasant feelings and sensations and, can help us in having insights or mystical experiences. We can have this experience of everything being empty and devoid of essence, which can help us see things more clearly. See things as they are and without emotional attachment. It doesn’t mean that when we meditate every day we lose all emotion and become these numb vegetables: we will be more joyful and in touch with our feelings. And see the world as the vibrant place it is.

As Allan Watts said, when we think too much, we get further from reality because thoughts are abstract. Meditation helps us just be in the present moment, without the chatter of the mind. It is critical for people with mental health conditions because they affect how we think, feel and act. Sitting with a negative feeling is a good way of dealing with it, without repressing it. Understanding that thoughts are not you, that they impermanent and dynamic, helps us see them for what they are; for the illusions that they are. That is so powerful as it takes power from them and back to us. We are much more than our thoughts and they can be misleading. I’m not saying that thinking and analysing things is not important. It is very important but, for a matter of balance, it is also important to be in stillness. Too much thought can be the death of us. Overthinking is very detrimental to ourselve. Everything should be balanced in this life. We should speak but also be quiet, to learn from others. We should listen to music or someone speaking but also be in silence, as it is very beneficial for our health. So, you see, it’s all a matter of equilibrium, which is something I’m still struggling with.

I’ve also done mindful eating, which is a very interesting experience. The food tastes better, you chew more (which is good for our health). As someone who always eats in a hurry, it transformed the way I eat.

It’s also possible to walk and do other activities mindfully. I shall try them all, as I’m very curious about how mindfulness can change our outlook on experiences.

Meditation also helps with addiction. Either it’s drugs or tobacco, there are ways to let go of our attachment to these harmful habits. I want to stop smoking, so I will look into this subject as soon as possible and I will share my conclusions with you.

I notice that I’m more kind and more connected. I don’t get angry easily and I feel no need to harm others, as they are a part of this world where everything is connected. It doesn’t make sense to harm a part of you. I understand that everyone has a story and ways that they are hurting. That realization tells me that there’s a reason why everyone reacts the way they do. It doesn’t make sense to get involved in useless fights. It’s a matter of picking your battles. Some battles are just not fruitful and, in fact, are detrimental to us. They are a waste of energy, which is a finite resource. That energy could be spent on more important tasks or activities. It’s like that Indian wolf metaphor, where a wise man says that inside of us there are two wolves: a good one and a bad one. They are constantly fighting. Someone asks the wise man “Which wolf wins the fight?” and he replies “The one you feed”. It’s important to feed our good side and starve the bad side. This is the way to become a better person and to evolve. I know I have been the toxic person many times throughout my life and I want to let go of that side. Being mindful in every day life and observing my actions is the way to go. Always be curious about why you do things and what you can do to change. We have been scarred by trauma and that’s okay but it doesn’t mean that it’s the way it’s always going to be.

In the past, people thought personality was fixed. Now we know that there is plasticity in the brain. Personality is not fixed. We can decide how we want to be and act. So it’s up to us to decide our path, what we want to let go or create for ourselves.

I hope this made sense to you and I hope I can inspire someone to meditate today or in the near future.

I love you all and wish you are all well and healthy.

Image by Cbill, courtesy of Pixabay.

Radical acceptance

I recently listened to a podcast about radical acceptance. It made a lot of sense to me in many ways.

I have to accept the world as it is but try to change. Just like we do in DBT with ourselves: accept ourselves but try to change. I think this is very powerful. Be it to ourselves or the world, radically accepting something can be life-changing and give us more peace in this troubled world.

Accepting myself and life itself is the path to peace. We have to ourselves: “Can I accept what is going on today?” or “Can I accept this reality?”.

When we know challenging things are going to happen, we can think about things in advance and cope ahead. For example, thinking about going outside and anticipate what may happen and how I can cope.

I accepted J’s death radically. It’s helping me let go. In the face of his death, I choose to be mindful. When we avoid things, we are not welcoming emotions and we can’t work with them, which is very important. I’m just leflt with grief and sadness for his departure. I can’t shut down the memories, that is giving them more energy. I’ve grown to accept that ignoring and avoiding isn’t the way.

Radical acceptance is a complete and total way to welcome life. Receiving life as it is in this moment. Accepting all the way from heart, mind and body. It’s an openness to the facts of reality as they are. What I am, where I came from what has happened and what is happening to me. Accepting the ones around me, without trying to change them. They have their own path to experience and evolve. I can help them with their issues but not push an agenda of how I want them to be.

My body isn’t anywhere near perfect but I accept it and love it, just as it is. I’ve learned to look at myself with compassion. Be kind to myself.

We don’t have to radically accept everything. For example, we can radically accept a thought but as a thought, not a reality. When we label as it is, as just a thought, we take the power from it. It has been very important to me to understand that thoughts are just ideas and not my reality. This was a hard concept to grasp when I had full-blown BPD. My thoughts were my reality and I just couldn’t escape. They shaped my moood. Now, if I have an unpleasant thought or feeling, I meditate. The blank mind is soothing and comforting. After a while, the feeling passes because I have accepted it.

I have been meditating for 57 days. Mainly mindfulness meditation (Vipassana). It’s been very helpful. I feel more centered and peaceful, amidst the drama. I just miss my friend very much but I’m not mad at my friend for what he did. I accept his choice. I feel much more calm and less conflicted. My concentration is in a wonderful place, I read a 300 page book in less than 48 hours. The book helped, of course, if you don’t love the book, it’s harder to read as fast (but not impossible, of course).

I definitely encourage you to start meditating, it will help you a lot, especially if you have BPD. We have mood swings and are in weird headspaces many times. It’s a good way to deal with uncomfortable feelings and thoughts. I have made a small guide for beginners that can help you start meditating with the Insight Timer meditation app. I hope I can encourage someone to meditate.

On being judgemental

Like everyone else, I have inner monologues. I challenge my thoughts a lot. I know they are not who I am and I don’t agree with myself many times. Certain thoughts are just so judgemental. It’s natural, they are judgements and the way I interpret the world but I don’t have to agree with them.

For example, a few days ago, I was on social media and I saw a post by a friend. Something harmless that didn’t affect my life in any way. I thought “I don’t respect her for doing that”. I understand where it came from, it was something I wouldn’t do but respect is a strong word. I challenged my thought. I told myself “Why don’t you respect her? Have you thought that people also don’t respect harmless things you do and it’s not okay that they do that? I mean, it’s a natural reaction but it’s still wrong to lose respect for someone because of trivial things”. Now that I’m writing about it, I understand it even better. It has to do with BPD. We idealize people and put them on a pedestal. Then, on a whim, we lose respect. In the case of my friend, I came to the conclusion that it was not right or healthy to lose respect for her because of what she did. Again, it was trivial and it was good for her, so I had no good reason to judge her for that. That made me feel more rational and in control of my thoughts. That thought wasn’t controlling my perception anymore.

People with BPD should be mindful of their thoughts. Challenge and rationalize them. Ask yourself why you are thinking that, does it come from reason or emotion, is it useful or just judgemental.

In meditation, we learn to not judge our perceptions, just observe them. I feel that, because I have a lot of frustration due to my situation, I am sometimes very judgemental and I don’t like that. Since I’ve been meditating, I’ve been more aware of my thoughts and less judgemental. That contributes to my peace and well-being.

But let’s be honest: we all judge. We judge to assess people and situations. That is very important. It’s a way to keep us safe and a way to associate with better people. As we go through life, we notice patterns. We have values and we observe and judge people we interact with. Some we would like to know better, others we want to stay away. When we are younger, we don’t make proper judgements because of our lack of experience. We associate with people that are detrimental to us and we learn from that. We learn to not associate with people with certain traits. But when certain traits are harmless and, therefore, don’t affect us in any way, we make shallow judgements. Judging just for the sake of judging. When we are frustrated, we are judgemental to feel like we’re better than someone else, to make us feel validated. “I would never do that, what is he thinking?”. That’s not where we should get value. We need to cultivate our positive traits that will make us feel empowered and good about ourselves. Things that enrich our lives and make us better people but not better than anyone else. We’ll be just us, unique and complex, striving to evolve.

Image by qimono, courtesy of Pixabay.

After meditation comes investigation

Meditation is a complex and fascinating subject. I’ve been reading about it extensively and, the more I know, the more I want to know. I’m not looking for enlightenment nor do I want to become a Buddhist. I have found that such practice is beneficial for everyone, especially those with mental and physical conditions.

Though it is very beneficial by itself, there should also be investigation. Humans have many habits. Some are healthy and others are not. If we practice mindfulness meditation, we may release negative patterns of thoughts, actions and emotions. I say “may” because some habits persist even when we are mindful of them. This is where investigation steps in.

According to the Buddha, there are seven factors of enlightenment. They are:

-Mindfulness

-Investigation

-Energy

-Joy

-Relaxation

-Concentration

-Equanimity

The difference between meditation and investigation is their focus. Meditation is focused on experiencing the present moment, while investigation focuses on what is behind that experience.

Again, these are the factors of enlightenment (or awakening) but you don’t need to have it as your goal. You can simply seek refuge in some of the practices, as they can be very soothing for the mind and body. They can bring a sense of peace and tranquility to your life, and also be a catalyst for change.

Investigation is sort of being your own psychologist (I don’t recommend you to stop going to your appointments, this should only be a complement of your professional treatment). You sit in stillness and wonder why you do certain things that are not beneficial to you, analyzing your feelings.

“When mindfulness is thus fully engaged, then we have the capacity or opportunity for the second factor of awakening: investigation of the dhammas or dhamma vicaya. Vicaya means to investigate, to scrutinize or analyze. We can take this to mean an intellectual analysis, or we can regard it in a more meditative context as a non-intellectual scrutiny.

Depending on how we regard the analysis, the word dhamma here can mean something as precise as a very particular mental state, or can more broadly mean anything of significance in our lives.”

Source: https://www.buddhistinquiry.org/article/the-investigation-of-what-is-important-the-second-factor-of-awakening/

When an unpleasant feeling arises, sit in mindful stillness. Simply ask “what is this?”, without trying to fix or alter that feeling. Sit or lie with it and let it be, while being curious about it. Focus on your experience of this feeling and how it reflects on your body. See if any memories come up that could shed light on it.

This should be done in a very light way and with curiosity . Pressuring yourself to get answers is not helpful at all. Try to let your mind relax, that is the perfect state to receive whatever answer you are looking for.When you identify the underlying emotion, it’s time to accept it and to feel how it reflects on your body.

The Buddhist law of conditionality (or causal interdependence) is the most important of the Buddhist teachings. It states the following:

“The progression of causes and conditions is the reality which applies to all things, from the natural environment, which is an external, physical condition, to the events of human society, ethical principles, life events and the happiness and suffering which manifest in our own minds. These systems of causal relationship are part of the one natural truth. Our happiness within this natural system depends on having some knowledge of how it works and practicing correctly within it, through addressing problems on the personal, social, and environmental levels. Given that all things are interconnected and all are affecting each others success in dealing with the world lies in creating harmony within it.”

Source: http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhism/B%20-%20Theravada/Teachers/Ven%20Payutto/Dependent%20Origination/Dependent%20Origination%20The%20Buddhist%20Law%20of%20Conditionality.htm

With this knowledge and if this resonates with you, it is also possible to ask: “what is this dependent on?”. It is important to keep in mind that you might not get an answer instantly, so don’t worry too much about it.

It’s very useful to investigate our thinking and what motivates our actions. Once we realize why some thoughts and actions come to be, they can dissipate and you will have room for new (and healthier) ones.

As someone recovering from BPD, I have to say that this has helped me immensely. You have truly useful insights and it helps you grow as person. Understanding your emotional landscape and your actions are the key for change and improvement.

Image by qimono, courtesy of Pixabay.

How to start meditating with Insight Timer

Hello everyone! I’ve been meditating every day for the past 18 days. I feel more at peace with myself and I have less negative thoughts. I don’t worry as much but I’m still focused on my goals.

If you would like to start meditating and you don’t know how to start, I suggest the Insight Timer app. It’s available for Android and Iphone. I’m not being sponsored by this app, I am just very excited about it and I think it provides incredible resources.

You have access to guided meditations, talks and binaural beats. You can follow teachers and topics you are interested in. By following teachers and topics, you will be notified of any new content. There’s a 365 day playlist so you can do a different meditation every day, for a year.

I started my practice with the 2020 meditate peace challenge. Just search for “Day 1 of peace”. These meditations are voiced by Michelle Zarrin. It starts by a one minute meditation and it builds on itself. Every day you meditate for one extra minute. It’s important to start in a humble and short way, as it takes a while for the brain to get used to being concentrated. You, basically, have to concentrate on your breathing and let go of any thoughts you have, without judging them or yourself. I assure you that it may seem hard but it gets easier with time.

When you are more comfortable doing it and sitting in stillness, there is a timer you can use. You can add bells and music to it, which is very useful for being focused.

After you complete the Meditate for Peace challenge, there are other challenges by Michelle Zarrin, for gratitude, surrender, the heart and others. There is also a free course by Sarah Blondin to learn how to meditate. If you search by “Day 1”, you can find other challenges, from other teachers, that might be interesting for you. It’s only a matter of browsing the app. There are over 9000 audio tracks for you to explore.

It’s also interesting to learn about Buddhism. I recommend Dale Borglum’s talks and Dan Rotnem’s Examining the Precepts series. They are very eloquent and clear on their talks and they are a pleasure to listen.

There are also groups about various topics and practices. If you have a question, you can always ask it there.

Every time you listen to an audio track there, in the end, you can see how many people were meditating far the same time, which gives you a sense of community. You can see who was meditating around the world and in your area.

If you are like me and love stats, Insight Timer has detailed info about your practice, which comes in handy to keep track of it.

There is a short guided meditation that I enjoy very much called “Head Massage” by Andrew Johnson. It’s a self-massage and it’s truly relaxing. There is also a short talk about Vipassana meditation. Vipassana is the original name of mindfulness meditation. The talk is called “About Vipassana Meditation” and it’s 4 minutes long.

If you needed a sign to start meditating, this post is it! Start today, it only takes a few minutes and you will have a chance to relax and enjoy the present moment. Often, we are stuck in the past or the future and we forget to enjoy the amazing gift that is the present.

I find it so relaxing that I have even stopped taking a sleeping pill. It’s a natural way to falo asleep and one less pill is very good for us. I’m not advising you to quit taking a sleeping pill, if your doctor prescribed it. Some sleeping pills can have terrible side-effects, if you stop taking them abruptly. See how relaxed if you become by meditating and always talk to your doctor about stopping to take a sleeping pill. You will probably have to ween it off.

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed sharing this information with you.

Image by Alexis, courtesy of Pixabay.

Still going strong

I’ve been recovering. Meditation has been a part of my life for a few years but I stopped meditating every day. I’ve been meditating for 12 days and it’s helping me so much. I went outside two days ago and yesterday. I will try to go out today. I feel like my perception is changing. I don’t feel as much fear or existential dread. I feel more positive, I even felt happy yesterday. It’s been a while since I felt happy.

I’m still sober and proud of it. It’s a huge victory for me. On the 10th of May, I will be weed-free for three months. I never thought I would make it this far. Cravings are decreasing, I have no desire to use. I look at my past and it seems so crazy to me that I smoked every day. Looking back, things don’t make sense to me but I have compassion for who I was. I understand that my reality tunnel was different and that made me do questionable choices. I remember last time I stopped smoking, I was so mad at my past self. I don’t feel that way now and that’s a good thing. I hope I can write soon. I love you all.

Image by sasint, courtesy of Pixabay.