Sunday, June 10, 2018

Where'd My Life Go, Part II ... ADHD & Me!

"Yeah, well - let's see what I'm saying in another three months, ok?" (The last line from my last blog post, FIVE YEARS AGO!)

My oh MY, do I even need to point out that time truly does fly much faster as we get older? I think not. However, between a full time job, and the addition of my sparkling granddaughter, Clementine, my absence from this column is pretty self-explanatory! 

And ... I recently moved on from my work as a recreation coordinator for the elderly - it was simply time. So - I am now VERY fortunate to have time (and energy) to entertain thoughts about writing and art and music and all that fluffy creative stuff that is really essential food for the soul, and so often is pushed to the back of the Spiritual Closet!

I'm also very happily expanding my Reflexology practice again!  Details are on the Classes & Services tab. Please do contact me if you'd like to feel the MAGIC!

And that leads me to my next exciting topic - 


Yes, my friends - I have ADHD, with a HUGE emphasis on the H for hyperactivity!!! Do you find that as absurd as I do?! I have debated sharing this - too much information, perhaps? But I've decided that it may actually be helpful to others. In the last few months since finding this out, my understanding of myself - my habits and strengths and problems - has grown exponentially. Life patterns that I used to think were spiritual shortcomings are actually largely explained by my brain chemistry. WOW. I'm SO excited by this!

In short, my hyperactivity went unnoticed for 57 years because 1. it takes place primarily in my head, 2. I appear quite organized and calm, and 3. I developed numerous coping skills to calm and organize my brain without realizing it - the most obvious and consistent being that I began meditating at age 15.

I have always thought that in sharing my excitement about meditation, my target audience was the average person on the street who said "I don't know how, I don't have time, I can't sit still".  Little did I realize that all of my meditation practices and 'mood reset' habits were actually aimed at people like me - people with VERY BUSY BRAINS. True multi-taskers. Aha! The moving meditations, the happy dancing, the chanting, the counting ... sitting under the hairdryer ... even my artwork - I now see it all through this amazing lens of hyperactivity, and my instinctive attempts to feel good ... or to at least train myself to feel good! And it has really worked on many levels!

It also explains why I am happiest when I have numerous areas going in life - art, writing, music, social, etc. And why it is difficult for me to stay in any job more than five years, no matter how much I love it.  Finding out that I have ADHD has taken the self-judgment and criticism off the table, thank heavens! I feel now that I can move forward much more constructively and stop trying to be something that I simply will never be. And - I can learn more about the many advantages of having a high speed brain!

I am exploring amino acid therapy and diet, and reading a good bit.  I'm educating myself. The main thing that I wanted to share here is that my ongoing (and possibly annoying) observation is that I STILL find that meditation, above all, undoubtedly best supports the core of my well-being (physically AND spiritually), my balance, my connection, my creativity, my coping skills, and my ability to go forward into the unknown.  Crazy, isn't it?!

I hope this may have run some bells for some of you; please contact me if you have thoughts on this topic!

It feels good to be back in the hammock!

Hugs, MJ

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Where'd My Life Go?!

Ok, I'll make this brief.  I'd like to tell you why I didn't write a column last month.

Have you ever had a period in your life where nearly every single aspect of life as you knew it changed, quite suddenly?

The reason I didn't write a column last month is that I have returned to being a recreation therapist for an adult daycare center.  Yes -- it's true.  I have gone from being a reflexologist and meditation facilitator to being something like a cruise director/standup comedian for eight hours a day.  Yikes.

I used to joke that it was 'my job to be relaxed'.  And it was true!

Now, it's 'my job' to be energetic, uplifting, spontaneous, and creative.  All day.  Whether I feel like it or not.  The question that I have to ask myself at the end of every day is "did I have fun today?"  Because if I didn't have fun, I can guarantee that the 30+ elderly people I spent the day with didn't have fun either!

The really odd thing about all this is that I now could easily be on the other side of the Meditation Fence -- saying "Look, I just don't HAVE TIME TO MEDITATE!"  And I really don't have much time.  Plus, I'm living in the land of High Energy, all day long -- not so easy to come down from.

Still, an interesting thing has happened:  I've realized that I simply don't have time to get too far out of whack, or it will show up at work immediately, like an avalanche.  So, yeah, maybe my Happy Dance has been cut back to 5 minutes -- but I always do it.  And I take those 3 minutes at lunch to put my legs up on the couch and chant.  Or I go in my office and take five deep breaths and clap my hands.  I've found a hundred new ways to 'push my reset button', almost instantly -- and yes, some of them involve chocolate.  I also find that I'm using my time super efficiently -- because I don't have time not to.  My huge intention to live a joyful, centered, intentional life seems to have carried through into this Giant Change, and is leaking out all over everything -- even though outwardly, it would seem that my life is now the antithesis of what it was two months ago.  Pretty interesting.  

So, I'll say it again, with even more conviction -- don't tell me that you don't have time to meditate!!!  In truth, you don't have time not to.  Yeah, well -- let's see what I'm saying in another three months, ok?

Love, MJ

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Best Job Ever

Adam's tiny traveling house
On the heels of Mother's Day, and with Father's Day just ahead, it seems a good time to reflect on parenting. 

A few days ago, my only child (who is not a child at all) drove down the road pulling the awesome trailer pictured here, heading to Oregon with his fiancee -- and I feel certain of only one thing:  being a mother is the best and most important job I've ever done or ever will do, and everything else is just frosting.

Mothering is probably the only area of my life  that I've always had complete confidence in; don't mess with my kid, I will eat you alive, I am a lioness!  I would stand in front of a train for my son, without a thought!  I have made a number of dramatic decisions and changes in my past life, which were all run through the filter of parenting.  It was always clear to me what was best for us -- what was not acceptable -- what needed to be done -- what needed to change.  I've done some really brave things that I would never have had the nerve to do if it was 'just me'.  I never wanted to look back and regret that I wasn't there for Adam, or that I'd exposed him knowingly to something that might hurt him in some way.

And looking back, I have no regrets at all.  Now it seems to be the time for me to turn that mother lioness eye on myself -- and wonder why I'd ever consider allowing anything in my own life that I would never have allowed for my son, for a minute.  I also now have the unknown territory of making decisions that are truly just for me -- and I'd thought I was already doing that!  So, I'll just keep practicing, and calling up that mother-lioness-feeling of what is best for me -- and I invite you to do the same!  Meanwhile, I'll be planning my first trip to Oregon ... 

Love from the hammock,

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I love how it feels when ...

So, let's talk about affirmations! (affirmation: a present tense, positive, personal statement that is repeated frequently to oneself)  Even if you've never purposely used an affirmation, you can well imagine how ridiculous and fraudulent you might feel if you were saying to yourself "I am thin, I am healthy, I am prosperous, I am successful at xyz, I am relaxed and peaceful, I am super-fantabulous" -- especially if you were feeling about a hundred miles away from any of that stuff being the truth!!  

Here's an easy way to bring yourself much closer to actually feeling that all that positive stuff could possibly be true for you -- simply add the words "I love how it feels when ..."!  

Feel the difference between these two thoughts:

I am healthy and eating mindfully.  (Yeah, right!  Self-worth plummets as you reach for a Twinkie.)

I love how it feels when I am healthy and eating mindfully.  (Yeah, I really do!  And I've felt that way before!  Grabbing an apple as you head out the door to walk the dog.)

Cool, eh?  Adding "I love how it feels when ..." allows for the fact that you may not feel that way at the moment, but also acknowledges that at some point you have felt that way.  Now, if you know me at all, you know that I like to cover as many bases as possible with my meditations and mindfulness habits, so I have of course turned this into a fabulous phrase that takes care of absolutely everything:

I love how it feels when all aspects of my life reflect who I really am.  Yeah, baby!  The great thing about that phrase is that it comes into my head when something really good happens -- and when things don't seem to be going so well.  Bases covered, yippee!

And why do we even want to bother with all this stuff?  Because we get what we expect.  So, I'm keeping a darned close eye on what I'm expecting.  I'm fond of saying that "I'm in a highly anticipatory state, despite the lack of physical evidence for it".  Hee hee.  

Happy Spring!  Redwing blackbirds -- forsythia -- skunk cabbage -- ah, yes!  
Love from the hammock --

Monday, April 1, 2013

Chocolate Kiss Mindfulness

Mmmmm.  Sounds good, eh?  We did this little exercise in my meditation group last month, and it was, not surprisingly, yummy.  It takes about two minutes.

First, you'll need a chocolate kiss, or small piece of chocolate, or anything sweet that will melt in your mouth.  Just one.

Now, look it over admiringly and inhale the fragrance.

Place it purposefully in your mouth.  Close your eyes and let your lovely morsel roll around on your tongue.  NO BITING!  Let it melt, taking as long as you can to enjoy and savor the fabulousness of it.

Take a deep breath.  Maybe add a smile.

Mmmmm.  That's it!  If you have sworn off of sugar, you can try grapes or small pieces of fruit (just make sure you chew slowly and mindfully!!) -- anything delectable will do.

A very good example of how "a little goes a long way", hmmm?  Yikes, I hate to admit how often I find myself jamming food mindlessly into my mouth!!  Ah yes, opportunities for mindfulness abound!  And it's a darned good excuse to eat some chocolate, too.  Being in the present moment is somehow a little easier with something sweet.  

Don't forget, you are all most welcome to attend my next Adventures in Meditation group, Thursday, April 11th, 7:15 pm at the Shoreline Center.  It's free!

Happy Spring!  Yippee!  The hammock is coming back out next weekend, yeah!
Love, MJ

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Mona-Lisa-Smile-Instant-Mood-Changer

Here is the simplest little mood shifter you'll ever come across:

Please take a good look at the Mona Lisa's smile.  Got it?  Now, all you have to do is allow a tiny half-smile to spread across your lips -- not much more than a smirk -- and then, shift your eyes slightly to the left (that's the most important part).  Hold that for a few seconds, and maybe take a few deep, slow breaths.

Did you feel that?!  Kind of like having a really great secret and being in love with the whole world, just for a minute?  

I find it almost absurd that this can make me feel so great, almost instantly.  And so odd that looking straight ahead and smiling does not produce the same feeling at all!  Perhaps there is some grand scientific explanation for this ... but meanwhile, it is my simple gift to you.  And you can take it with you everywhere, and do it anytime you like -- how great is that?  

Maybe Mona Lisa really does know something we don't -- but we can practice it!  Life is often soooo much simpler than we make it, don't you think?

Love & (nearly) Springtime Hugs,

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Happy Dance

Hi ho, winter warriors!  I'd like to share a little bit about my Happy Dance -- my own particular morning meditation, which involves listening to certain uplifting songs and dancing and flailing my arms about wildly, until I'm in a rather ecstatic state of what I like to refer to as 'spiritual hysteria'.  I do this for about twenty minutes every morning, NO MATTER WHAT.

Basically, what I'm doing is practicing where I'd like to be, and how I'd like to feel, more of the time.  My musical lineup has changed a lot over the last 14 years -- when I first started doing this (rather accidentally), I listened to the same song every day for 10 years, no kidding!!  Now, I'm more likely to tire of a song after a few months -- and I just keep my ears open for the next wildly uplifting song, because I know that a new one will be on the way!  

It's almost like a form of hypnotherapy -- I find a song that I LOVE, and that I can't wait to listen and dance to, and then by listening to it repeatedly, I essentially train myself to go straight to a blissful joy place without even trying.  And it works, no matter what is going on in my life.  Not necessarily a conventional form of meditation, but woo hoo, does it work for me!

Thanks to my new Australian friend, Joseph Green, for bringing my latest Happy Dance song to my attention -- take two minutes to listen to Peponi by the Piano Guys and Alex Boye by  clicking here -- and feel free to jump up and wave those arms wildly, of course!  And remember, a happy dance for you is a happy dance for everybody.  Or something like that.

Love & Giant Hugs,