Are We Evolving?

Are We Evolving?

Have you noticed how people are reaching out to others more? Have you noticed how people are sharing their vulnerabilities and how others respond to those who are struggling? Have you noticed how people are checking in daily to see how their loved ones are doing?  

Yes, there are always going to be assholes out there twisting and destroying humankind, but for the most part, I see and hear more people than ever asking how I’m doing, and total strangers are offering to help if I ever need it.  

Is it that obvious that I need help? I mean, I have gained an extra 20 pounds. Maybe it’s because I celebrate National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day with a cookie in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. Or perhaps it’s just me being overly sensitive to my vulnerabilities, and people just care and truly want to know how I’m doing.  

I see humankind evolving despite how unsure we are of the future. We are evolving into more caring individuals. We are showing more vulnerability, and people are learning to step up to ask for help as they never have before. How can we see our lives as so narrow and dark if others are reaching out all the time? It’s very hard when people are looking out for you and rooting you on. 

As I begin to study Abundance Meditation, I’ve started to take inventory of all that I have and practice being satisfied with what I have. This is not an easy thing to do, and it takes time to practice, but I will give you an example of all that I am grateful for today:  

My and my family’s health  

My cuddly kitties always cheering me up with their cuteness  

The smell of summer rain  

Time and space to practice outdoor yoga  

A roof over our head  

Healthy food on our table  

Good friends I can confide in  

Meditation apps  

The flexibility to work from home  

Planning my husband’s birthday celebration Covid-style  

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!  

I don’t have to look very far to find abundance in my life. I just have to be able to open my eyes and choose to find the silver lining. With the help of my family and friends, I can do this, and so can you. After all, I am in the middle of evolving along with the rest of the world.  

We can evolve, or find the abundance, the silver lining, or whatever you want to call it, because we are all in this together and no one will let you drink alone.  

If you are looking for a good meditation app/podcast, I suggest the following:  

Insight Timer

Meditative Story Podcast

21 Days of Abundance Meditation with Deepak Chopra

Waking Up app with Sam Harris

Can Habits Make You Happy?

Can Habits Make You Happy?

Today, I sat down to meditate by listening to my favorite podcast, “Meditative Story”. This episode was titled, “There’s No One Way,” by Gretchen Rubin. She discusses how habits create happiness. Of course, it depends on what kind of habits I create, but the bottom line is, if something works for me, it does not always mean that it will work for everyone else. There is no one right way to become happier, healthier, more productive, or more creative. We each have to know ourselves. I can relate to a lot of what Gretchen is saying, when she says, “outer order contributes to inner calm.” For example, I always become instantly happier when I tidy up my house. My favorite thing to do is purge clutter! (Yes, my husband is very annoyed by this habit.)

But why is there still a lot of inner clutter despite the outer order in my house?

It’s obvious to me that habits help make life happier–not perfect, but happier. When I’m busy, I don’t have to think about how our world is suddenly turned upside down. Perhaps that’s why I am constantly sticking to my habits and constantly running around the house to keep it neat and tidy. My husband is the complete opposite. My constant picking up of stuff around the house annoys him, yet seeing a clean house makes me happy.

I can identify with how Gretchen points out that one way we express love to others is by trying to tightly control everything around and inside us. Thus, I try to control my surroundings. I have recently realized that is why accepting what is happening, instead of controlling it, is so hard for me.

Gretchen points out, “A central tension in a happy life is that we want both to accept ourselves and expect more from ourselves. Only we can decide what we can accept from ourselves and what we can expect more of from ourselves. And what that means–no one can decide that for you.”

So how do I calm my monkey mind during these crazy times? How do I relax my struggle, my burnout and find some sort of way to be present? How do I decide what I can accept from myself and what I can expect more of from myself?

Meditation allows my mind to roam free and let it all go. By creating a daily habit to meditate each day, I can invite my body, heart, and mind to relax and be free. I can watch, instead of trying to obtain the impossible goal of controlling what is happening all around us. Noticing why and how my mind is not free will help me to get better at letting go and deciding what I am willing to accept and what I can expect more of from myself.

Can I still improve by letting go, even though I meditate daily? Of course I can!

I will continue the daily habits that help me feel in control, like cleaning up around the house, working out, cooking, and taking care of my plants, while also keeping up with new habits that help me relax and let go, such as my daily meditation, yoga, getting outside more, reading, and maybe a glass of wine or two at night for good measure! We are all in this together, and finding new ways to adapt and survive is vital!

Please share how you are adapting and if you have found any habits that have helped you to be happy during the Coronavirus!

If you would like to listen to Meditative Story, There’s No One Way, by Gretchen Rubin, you can click on the link below:

https://meditativestory.com /gretchen-rubin/

How Emotional Connection Between Pets and Humans Help Us Cope

Sharing an emotional connection with all living animals is something I am reflecting on this morning as I listened to yet another Meditate Story podcast, this one entitled, #32. Loving Our Living World, by Carl Safina. With my little Belle by my side as I start to meditate, she brushes her soft kitty whiskers on my hand and licks it to remind me that she’s here for me. She proceeds to rub her forehead into the palm of my hand. A big full body stretch and yawn is followed by tucking in her tiny white chin, her plump fluffy belly, her shiny black tail and her tiny little paws in order to get comfortable, preparing for her daily cat nap. This predictable ritual makes me laugh out loud! As I laugh, she looks up at me and then falls back down into a deep slumber. Eventually I see what appears to be a smile on her face as she starts to purr softly, cuddling close by my side. Usually, Belle’s sister, Izzy, is the one who cuddles with me during meditation, but today, Belle wanted to see what this was all about. I think it’s more like sibling rivalry, but I’ll take what I can get.

As we both get settled in, I suddenly stop and think about studies continuing to develop on the human to cat transmission of this virus and then some slight panic starts to set in. What does this mean for our beloved pets? Why are other mammals not effected by the virus? A few tigers and lions were recently diagnosed with the Coronavirus from a Bronx zoo, but why are humans so easily infected and mammals not so much? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I would be a total wreck if Izzy or Belle were infected! Of course, being an animal lover, I would be devastated if millions of other mammals were infected! But the one thing that helps keep me calm during this pandemic, is being able to curl up on the couch and feel my kitties’ “pure love”. I try not to think about it and continue to listen. “Stay focused, Julie!” I tell myself. Carl continues on to tell a story of how animals show us as what he refers to is “pure love”. He describes this love from an animal that doesn’t want anything from you in return except wanting to show you affection by being close to you. Showing their human companions that they truly love us unconditionally by sprawling out on our laps, our arms, our necks and even our faces to try to get as close to us as possible as they trustingly sleep turning their guard completely off, knowing we are there for them if they need us.

This “pure love” reminds me that we all need to love and be loved-humans and animals alike. No one wants to feel alone, especially during isolation as we quarantine ourselves from each other.

Do you see “pure love” displayed by your pets? How so? If so, please share a story or photo of how your pets help you cope through this stupid pandemic. I’m sure all of us could use a heart-warming pet story to cheer us up!

If you are interested in listening to Meditative Story Podcast#32 Loving Our Living World, by Carl Safina, go to:

http://podcast.meditativestory.com/p/2

Adapting to a world of unpredictability

“Through failure, we become more successful when we learn how to become more adaptable to the challenge before us”, says Forrest Galante.

He continues on….

“With each and every phase of our lives, we cultivate a unique skill set for being adaptable and being communicative and slowing down and being respectful and taking a breath. That allows us to see everything from a bigger picture and navigate what ever comes our way. This is how we are meant to evolve as humans. This is how we adapt.”

Now I know I’m not a professional wildlife biologist and adventurist with my own show on Animal Planet like Forrest Galante, but I can’t help but ask when I’m outside, surrounded in nature, “What is here to be known and enjoyed”? I am always noticing new plants, new habitats that animals have created, new foliage and sometimes new damage such as a whole or pipe or some kind of foreign object put there by us humans that disrupted a part of nature. But as I look closer, nature continues to adapt by growing lush new greenery surrounding the whole or the pipe or what ever damage there once was. After all, birds build nests on man made objects such as utility poles and basketball hoops. Who is to say we are not as adaptable as well as the nature that surrounds us?

This motivates me to get outside when I feel down or defeated by this depressing virus and just looking around, observing how nature adapts and works around its surroundings to keep on moving, is very inspiring to me.

How are you adapting? What inspires you to adapt through this unexpected life changing virus that effects all of us? If you are not finding ways to adapt, I challenge you to find one specific thing that motivates you to adapt to this change this week. What was the result? If you would like to share your ideas, please do so. I would love to hear about them and hopefully, we can all help others around us get through adapting to a world of unpredictability.

Photo by luizclas on Pexels.com

Finding Flexibility In A Time of Crisis(yes, it is possible!)

As I’m fighting anxiety and fear from this pandemic known as COVID-19 or Coronavirus through eating, drinking and baking(not successfully). I realize just how close our mind and body are connected. The more I fear, the more my body tenses up. The more anxious I feel, the more aches and pains I feel. The more I watch the news and get upset about all the politics behind it, the more nervous I get and can’t seem to sit down. If I’m feeling this way, I have to think there are others out there with the same thoughts and actions as myself, right?! At least I have to think that, otherwise, I’m just going crazy, which my husband reminds me is very possible.

So, here is my first attempt at doing my very small part in helping others to get through this together. Despite our differences and where we see ourselves on the other side of this pandemic, I hope we can all agree that we are all one in the universe. I listened to a podcast today that helped put these thoughts into context. I listened to Meditative Story, the one titled, “Our tiny meaningful lives in the vast universe”(March 21, 2020) with astronomer Michelle Thaller. She reminded us how vast the universe is and how tiny we are. The universe doesn’t care about our trivial worries or fears. It just moves on and continues to evolve through the death and rebirth of the stars. And this death and rebirth creates Earth and everything around us, including us as humans. It made me realize how I need to be flexible and move with the universe in good and bad times. To create a sense of awareness, but yet still trust in the universe to show it’s goodness. I know this is very difficult to do, but Michelle Thaller reminds us to give ourselves permission to be human. After all, we beat ourselves up, thinking we can control everything sometimes, but this episode in Meditative Story grounded me even if it’s only for a few minutes today. I hope you can find some grounding yourself and the flexibility to remove yourself from worry and fear, to realize we are not in control and to give into the universe. Otherwise, you might be baking up a storm, trying to fix your anxiety ridden sugar cravings like I did the other day, only to realize your chocolate chip cookies are adding to the frustrating weight gain and extra emotional baggage this virus is leaving us all with!

May you be happy

May you be well

May you be healthy

May you be free from suffering

May you stay away from the cookie jar!

If you are interested in listening to the podcast Meditative Story-Our tiny meaningful lives in the vast universe”(March 21, 2020) with astronomer Michelle Thaller, here is the link below:

https://player.fm/series/meditative-story-2527252/our-tiny-meaningful-lives-in-the-vast-universe