7 minutes

I make it a point to meditate for seven (silent) minutes after a morning yoga session. It’s a great way to workout any lingering cloudiness before you head into the office. I must say, then zen is here today. I’m completely unbothered and calm, but I’m still a work in progress; Only a couple of emails have received a slight side-eye today. If any of you are familiar with corpse pose in yoga, that’s a great position to meditate and process in as well. 

Be zen, 

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Upside Down Paschimottanasana

Tonight’s time on the mat was needed to process my rage towards the rogue button that popped off my jeans at work. I haven’t the slightest clue why I was so annoyed – but I was.

Super short story time:

The button on my jeans broke today. I’d had the pair for going on a couple weeks and had already returned and replaced a previous pair from the same brand a few weeks earlier. I wanted to adjust my shirt properly, so I took a few steps toward the men’s room mirror. Lightly tugging at that the denim, I was enraged to hear the button hitting the floor; landing inches from my feet.

Working through each pose, focusing on connecting my breathing with each movement, I decided that the little things can’t get to me like this moving forward. I was genuinely annoyed, but harboring that kind of hidden negativity can be so terrible if it simmers too long. In upside down paschimottanasana pose, I purged the last of my peeved thoughts – concluding that things are finally calming down and all I need is some rest and focus.

If you’re hanging on to some non-sense for no reason. LET THAT **** GO. Take a moment for yourself, get it together, and get ready to squash the next thing that gets under your skin.

I’m usually following a video on Tim Senesi’s YouTube channel if I’m not going through Bikram poses. Tonight’s session:

Be easy, everyone!

Namaste n’ Chill

S studies in the loft while I debate any further activity. “I should workout. I should do something… not dishes.” My shoulder seems to be healing alright, but it’s still a little sensitive at times. Leave it to me to injure myself in a way that requires what feels like all the time in the world to recover.

“Yoga it is, sir.” I think to myself as I consider hitting weights in the morning. “No. Patience, Jamal.” Having a free workout facility is a perk many don’t have at their workplaces, but to be honest with you I’ve been feeling a tad anti-social in the gym. I’ve always preferred working out alone and being on the injured list these past couple months has reinforced those feelings. The times  I did make it into the gym at a crisp 7-o-clock in the morning, there seemed to be another body flexing in the mirror; using the equipment I needed. Blerg.

I resolve that S will probably be in the books for another hour and a half and set my yoga session up in the living room.

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I spark-up a simmering cider incense – because I’ve killed almost all my large candles – roll out my mat, and turn on some mellow tunes. Iman Omari has been haunting my earbuds and speakers around the house for a few weeks now. I can’t get enough of the guy! This session would be somewhat of a date with myself. Good music, subtle lighting, a peaceful atmosphere and a little bit of sweat.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss my husband while he’s busy studying – working so hard during the hours we usually spend together after work – but this evening was about me, myself, and I. My yoga sessions are usually a little more intense and happen before 6 AM. I wanted to take my time in each pose tonight to boost my focus in breathing while moving on the mat. I’ve been working up to handstand poses, so a little bit of crow pose action gave my arms and shoulder a safe test.

Remember to take some time to yourselves. I get so busy at work and tend to hit a wall (of boredom) if I don’t have anything to keep me busy at home – especially if I’m avoiding chores. Tonight I chose to hit the mat and I feel awesome. This will be a more regular occurrence while I heal and while S completes this last semester of classes.

Alright. Time for some headphone music in bed before the Zs catch me.

Labor Day Meditation

I feel like I’ve been talking a lot about how busy S and I have been. Okay, that’s still true, but I’m over it. Let’s talk a little bit about rising above stress and maintaining healthy zen levels.

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In the past weeks, I’ve been really focusing on working meditation back into my daily routine – and encouraging S to do the same. Most hear “meditation” and immediately think they have to sit on a mat and do hours of breathing exercises. That method is used by many – and a session can go as long or short as you wish – but isn’t the sole way to regain a calm sense of self.

 

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My morning started with some coffee and taking care of my houseplants. I have a collection of succulents and a couple bamboo clones that I’m slowly building up, and a couple of them needed repotting. Stepping away from my laptop and phone always gives me an instant boost of clarity and lightness – a moment to process whatever is on my mind at that moment – so getting my hands dirty really breathed life into my morning.

 

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Cleaning is a great opportunity to put on some music – or one of your favorite YouTubers, shout-out to Shameless Maya – and adds a visual aspect to the cleaning you’re processing in your mind. I decided to continue riding my zen wave with sweeping and cleaning our bamboo floors. Jimi Hendrix knows they needed a good cleaning and I felt as if a ton of weight had been lifted after I’d polished the dark surface.

 

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I ran out of incense to burn, but I never run out of candles. This maple hazelnut candle has the loft smelling so delicious. There’s one of my jet bead succulents in its new home on the coffee table.

 

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Having a clean space enhances your ability to maintain a clear head. The last thing you want when you’re coming home from work is a dirty bathroom, cluttered living room, and a gross kitchen. Today after I’d done a huge chunk of our regular chores, the sense of accomplishment amplified my relaxation to a point. When we cook on the grill tonight, the kitchen will be clean – there’d be no mound of lazy-dirty-dish-skeletons. When I come home from work tomorrow, the space will feel open and light; we’ll be able to breathe.

Now, it is high time for some wine…

Poker Face: A Mini Monologue

I miss being just far enough away from my team to embrace any zen moment that presented itself. You see, when I moved departments, I was sitting away from the nucleus of my team. When you’re a team lead, staying in the know is important, but sitting away from the chaos (that is the majority of team) is relaxing when you deal with customers the majority of your day. When I was tucked away in a far corner – away from constant interruption of whatever media I may’ve been consuming at the time – I was able to interact at my leisure. It’s been about two weeks since the move to my new cubicle, and I wonder what kind of facial expressions I’ve unconsciously delivered to those who around me. I’m a nice guy, but do you have to hang over my cube wall to talk to me? Do you really need to be sharing that NSFW story at audible and very clear levels, mister supervisor? I put on a cheery face, listen, and interact, but I’m sure I’ve thrown some shade with my tone or lack of responses. I don’t care, though. Some days you just don’t want to be bothered.

Our Father’s Anger, Our Lessons.

The men in our lives can shape us in ways we never realize. The recognition, and understanding, of the lessons their most honest energy projects, can strike as sharp as a burn to the finger. As a child you’re too young to recognize any damage adulthood has inflicted upon your father. As a teenager, you’re not allowed to comment on anything that is said between two adults. “Be seen, and not heard… Don’t speak unless you’re spoken to…” were regular instructions throughout my upbringing, and little did I know the effects of these instructions would only sharpen my understanding of my father’s unshared emotions.

In the world of adulthood, you tend to catch comments, expressions, and reactions of older members within the family; especially those of fathers.  My dad was an Army man with a tough exterior, social superpowers, and a strict confidence that ruled our household. He knew how to have fun, and we felt his love, even though we never really used the “love” word growing up. At the age of sixteen I watched him morph into another being. Divorce had blackened his insides, and bitterness flowed infinitely. Not knowing how to fully process this new man – a poisoned shadow that danced inside my father’s body – or his reasoning, I was forced to grow up and assumed that he was just setting a negative example for my siblings and I. We’re on good terms now, but it took us a while to get back to a settled place where we could begin to understand each other; although I still don’t get him all the time.

S’s father is a warm, honest, and gentle soul. I tried to offer him some of my hippy-dippy zen advice – after hearing enough complaints about something he and my mother-in-law had been left out of by his family – only to receive a sharp, and deeply planted response. “I don’t care to get over it.” My advice was to find a way to get over the issues he had with the family, for his own health. “Well, everyone handles things differently, I suppose. It definitely doesn’t help if no one is communicating” was my exit from the conversation. I know my boundaries, respect my S’s parents, and realize that you can’t help everyone, so I stopped responding to any opportunity to share my little bit of wisdom.  I still don’t have full details about what happened, but what was it that was causing him to hold on to that dark energy?

My dad is fifty years old, and S’s father is in his sixties. What I’ve learned from these two, completely different men, is more than I can fit into any closing paragraph. I’m only twenty-eight years old, and I know there are people out there that will say that I’m too young, and that I haven’t truly experienced life. Everyone has dark days, grey moments, and pitch-black thoughts in life at some point, and in mine, I’ve learned to let go. I search for the lesson in all of life’s curveballs and strikes, and try to move forward as positive as possible. Harnessing anger only turned me into someone I didn’t want to accept lived inside of me. The feeling was that of being stuck in quicksand with a speeding semi truck seconds away from barreling right through me; fear, uncertainty, and uncomfortable welcome. These gentlemen are a reminder to try. Try to accept, grow, and move forward. If happiness is faint, reward yourself in that happiness, and challenge yourself to gain more.

Miffed Auras

It appears that S and I both have tempers. Those of you who know me have figured out that it takes a pretty good amount of nonsense to push me over the edge. We have a WiiU at home, and it is the source of fun and decompression – along with our pup, Reynold – after a long day of work.  I’m not sure if the amount of hours we’ve spent playing Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon is embarrassing or impressive. Yes, the machine actually tracks the amount of hours you play each game, and provides dates and times; in case you wish to deny your gamer status.

We both have gamer rage when something doesn’t go our way during a race or a battle session. “JESUS CHRIST…. COME ON… GOSH” are regular exclamations when we’re both on the couch. I tend to be more of a slow-cooker when I’m getting frustrated with a game, while S will vocally rage during the first minutes of playing. I find this hilarious and I had to think to myself, where has this been? This fiery, competitive, passion that had manifested just a couch cushion away from me had gone unnoticed, by me, for the longest time. Whenever he’s playing a game and I hear outbursts of objection, I quietly chuckle and ask “…are you okay? It’ll be okay.”

Let me apologize to you now if you’re a biking enthusiast, or regular cyclist. It drives me beyond crazy when I get stuck behind someone on a bike, traveling on a one-lane road, and there’s no possible escape. Whenever this happens to me, there are always cars coming in the opposite lane, and I can’t get around the individual on the bike. Apparently it’s a law in Indiana that no bicycles are allowed on the sidewalks. Are you kidding me? I appreciate the fact that these people are out exercising, but jeez! I just want to get home at the end of the day. Are there no other biker friendly routes? My car horn is broken, so there’s not even the slightest bit of a chance that I can angrily honk at the unaware nerve-crusher. I usually scream profanities in the car or send rude Snapchats to my friends to share the annoying moment.

Where does our rage come from? Was it our parents that did this to us, or are we just those people who are instantly set off in these specific situations? After sending my angry snaps to my followers on Snapchat, I laughed at myself. “Wow, is it that serious?” Rushing is usually what gets drivers into accidents, so the fact that I was forced to focus on something other than getting home, was probably a blessing in disguise.  From now on I’m going to make it a point to focus on my zen, and harness the rage. When it comes to S… Well, I’ll just leave that alone for a while. He’s entertaining as all get-out when he’s screaming at the television screen, and teammates who can’t hear him.