Awakening, Coaching, craniosacral therapy, Health & Fitness, Meditation, Mindset

The Attention Reclamation Project

Well hello there!  My apologies for being MIA for the past couple of months.  May was bonkers, which I’ll get to later, and I just cannot remember April for the life of me.  So.  There you go.  Life gets weird and fast as you get older.
Now on to May! 
In May I did something new – something I’ve never done before but have wanted to do for 10+ years – I attended a 5-day silent meditation retreat.  The retreat was held in gorgeous mountains just north of San Francisco at a place called Spirit Rock. 

For 5 days, my life consisted of waking up, meditating (either seated or walking), eating, not talking to anyone, more meditating, more walking, vacuuming a resident hall, meditating, walking, eating, listening to talks from very wise and honest teachers, chanting, sleeping.

  • 5 days of slowing down
  • 5 days of watching the machinations of my brain
  • 5 days of being surrounded by 100 other people who are also trying to figure themselves and the world out
  • 5 days of silence
  • 5 days of being outside for several hours a day
  • 5 days of actually SEEING with my eyes, FEELING with my heart, being IN my body/being my body
  • 5 days of living simply – no books, no TV, no mindless distractions

This gave me a glance into a different way to live. Yes, I have to work.  Yes, I need to communicate with other people.  Yes, I do need to live IN the world. I can’t stay on a gorgeous mountain-top in California forever and still be true to my other values


I can invite more slowing down and simplicity into my “normal” life.  I can JUST DO ONE THING at a time.  I found that eating my morning oatmeal, when that is the ONLY thing I am doing, is a whole different experience. I get fuller faster. I feel gratitude for heartiness of it and the work of the cooks and volunteers who prepared it for me. 

I can bring mindful awareness into my daily life – watching my thoughts and CHOOSING which ones to follow, which ones to believe.  One of the teachers mentioned that our minds secrete thoughts, just like the pancreas secretes insulin. It’s just what the mind does.  It doesn’t mean I have to believe those secretions. I can just watch them.

I can be more careful in my speech.  Not being able to talk for 5 days helped me realize how many meaningless things I have an impulse to say (and usually just blurt out).  But on Retreat, I noticed the impulse to speak, realized that no one really NEEDED to hear my insightful commentary about the chilliness of the morning, and let the thought pass unvoiced. 

I can bring compassion to my own thoughts, feelings, and sensations, and I can hold space for others to explore their thoughts, feelings, sensations.  There is magic in compassionate curiosity – I wonder why I think that….  Of course I would think that…

I can keep remembering:

  • Life is not a problem to be solved.
  • When I am snagged by the thought stream, I am often fantasizing/planning, problem-solving for some future event that may never happen. I AM LIVING AN IMAGINARY LIFE.
  • We are not meant to SURVIVE.  We are meant to LIVE.
  • I can let go of the ILLUSION of control.
  • “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” Dalai Lama
  • Even when I feel as if my meditation is a failure (e.g. I just cannot stay focused on my anchor), I know that with this practice, I am planting a seed of awareness that definitely will sprout in the right timing.
  • I am happier and feel better when I am outside A LOT.  Without my phone. Noticing things. Appreciating the beauty of nature.  Just BEING instead of DOING.
  • I can quit pushing and striving so much, and trust that things will work out.

There is so much more I could say and will say in future letters, but I am also trying to practice the lesson of “less is more.”

I hope you can create some space for some consciously lived moments today – even for just one breath in and one breath out – and notice that sense of freedom that comes from being right here in this moment, mind, body, and spirit united.



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