All posts by moodmagnitude@gmail.com

I am a human who is interested in what makes myself and others happy and sad. I work as a nurse in psychiatry and am currently doing my yoga teacher training (300 hour) in Victoria. I see so many people at work and in the world who are depressed. I also see people at work and in the world who become so happy it is unmanageable (aka manic). Moods are amazing and learning about them is part of my life work. I am blessed to live in beautiful British Columbia on a tiny island in a colourful community called Lasqueti. When I'm not researching and contemplating the concept of joy, I spend my days walking through the forest with my dog or playing in the garden or ocean with my friends.

Badass Black Bean Brownies

black bean brownie
black bean brownie

This is a classic recipe for my cookie shack. And everyone asks me for the recipe. So here you go! Gluten free, sugar free (opt) and still somehow mindblowingly delicious!

Put all of these things in the blender or food processor:

  • 1, 16 oz. can of black beans. Rinsed well.
  •  3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp veg oil of your choice. I used melted coconut. You can use anything
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup (use 3/4 cup if you want them sweet)
  • Splash of vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

Blend it up! Pour it in a pan, 8×8 works, or sometimes I put them in a silicon muffin pan. If you like, add nuts, dried cherries, chocolate chips…

Bake at 350′ for about 30 minutes or until it looks done. Put a toothpick in and if it comes out clean it’s ready!

TIP: Let them cool completely before taking them out of the pan or you will end up with a gooey mess. (I know this from experience.)

Badass Russell Brand

Badass
Russell Brand

Russell Brand! Undoubtedly fits all definitions of a bAdAss.  This dude is controversial without at doubt.

He is admittedly far from perfect. A successful addict of attention, sex and substances Russell raced to the top of fortune and fame in a fairly short period of time.

He lived a true rock star styled life, finding fortune and fame as a comedian and actor. He knew from an early age that he had to be famous. He saw no other way. Well, he got what he wanted! And found it completely unfulfilling.

Unfulfilled and famous, he went searching for something more. He began asking himself questions. Like, “Why if all  my dreams have come true am I not at all happy?”

From there he found  Transcendental Meditation and yoga and started doing both regularly.

He learned about his flaming ego and took steps to humble himself and live with it in harmony. Russell currently is enjoying a slightly more low-key life with a wife (Laura Gallacher) and a young babe named Mabel. He’s now going to University to get a degree in Religion in Global Politics. He now produces podcasts about political issues.

Check out his newest podcast series “Under The Skin” 

What I love about Russell is he speaks his mind and he goes for what he wants. He doesn’t hold back… I don’t think he knows how.

He is always pushing to learn more and to share what he has learned  with the world. He is a truth seeker.

Not only is he hilarious, bold and sexy, he is determined to make positive changes in himself and in the world. And that’s bAdAss.

Click here to learn more about Russell Brand

 

Got the News Blues?

Is keeping up with the daily news giving you the blues?

Well then, stop it already!

One of the key ways to feel happier is to stop focusing attention on things that make you feel miserable, fearful, overwhelmed… like the news!

Naturally, we humans seek what is new and tend to ignore what is old and familiar. The news uses sensationalism to provoke excitement and interest in people (which increases their ratings) at the expense of providing accurate information.

We know that the news is most often skewed one way or the other. Keeping up with inaccurate information that is fed to make people feel afraid and vulnerable is ludicrous.

Why do you want to watch the news even though it makes you feel awful? Well, because you, like all of us are probably addicted to dopamine!

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that makes us feel good, really good. And wanting to continue to feel that way makes us crave this brain chemical.

Dopamine is the source of all of our addictions. Cocaine, coffee, sex, news… they all give us a hit of it. Even checking our text messages and social media sites give us a hit.

So what? If we like it, lets just keep doing it. I’m always advocating that people do what makes them feel good so what’s my problem with dopamine?

Well my problem is, is that long term, continuing to chase our next hit of dopamine will fuck us up! Big time!

The more we chase the next dopamine hit, the less control we have over ourselves. The more we walk down that shortcut to the dopamine feel good centre, the more our other, more scenic and leisurely paths overgrow.

beautiful path
beautiful path

It’s those scenic and leisurely paths that lead us to creativity and will connect us to our spirit. The more we wander on these more wholesome paths, the happier we will be. The more time we take on these paths,the more able we will be to respond to the situations in our lives that are effecting us directly with compassion and care.

Leave the news off. Focus on yourself, your immediate surroundings and making the small changes you can make on a daily basis to make these surroundings more harmonious, beautiful and fulfilling.

That’s the news for today.

 

Music Monday

This week’s song is by one of my new favourites. “Nightmares on Wax”, otherwise known as George Evelyn. George is a DJ from Leeds, England. Inpired by Curtis Mayfiled and Quincy Jones in his early years, and by hip hop and rap artists such as Rappers Delight later on. His style is groovy, seductive and soulful.

The lyrics are simple (simple is good):

Better days are comin’ you see
Visions of you and me
Elevate your soul
Fly, come with me.

Listen for yourself

 

 

Recipe of the Week – Nut Balls

A quick, easy and healthy treat!

NUT BALLSLast summer I served these at the Lasqueti market with fresh pressed juice. Balls and Juice. Or a BJ combo. Sales were good.

  • 1 cupish of nuts. Almonds, cashews or walnuts or a mix.
  • 1/2 cupish of dates. Add them into the food processor slowly so they don’t get all stuck
  • Fat squirt of maple syrup
  • A bunch of chocolate chips, use your own discretion (cuz everything is better with chocolate)
  • 1/2 cupish dried fruit. I like dried cherries. Craisens are good, dried apricots are good too.
  • Shot of vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • Add anything else you desire! Cocoa powder, spices like ginger or cinnamon or even a tiny bit of cardamon and clove to make them chia like. The options are endless! Make this recipe your own! Add fancy things like guarana powder or hemp seeds, oats, sesame seeds, the left-over bits in the bottom of your sink, or dried coconut flakes! Literally — Anything!

DO WITH IT WHAT YOU WANT!

And then post your wicked awesome unique ideas for this recipe in the comments!!

Always Get What You Want and Achieve your Goals

How to never let a goal go unaccomplished again –> Don’t set any  goals.

How to get what you want –> Want what you get.

Every one knows the classic way to set a goal right? The classic “SMART” goal formula?

Specific
Measurable
Action orientated
Realistic
Time based

Well… I don’t know about you, but I’ve set a fair amount of these kind of goals… I rarely accomplish them, and often I “change my mind” before I cross the finish line and smack the hand of accomplishment as I wiz by singing my own celebratory tune.

bAdAss quick tip: If a tool doesn’t work, don’t use it. 

We all  have brains. Our brains are malleable, and yes, they have more plasticity than we initially imagined. That being said, our human nature is still to stay the same. Our human nature is to go towards comfort and away from pain and discomfort.

And guess what? Typically making positive changes in the direction of living a badass fulfilling and awesome life is frickin’ scary!

Ahhhhhh! Scream loud if you’re scared. Ahhhhhhh!

Studies are finding now that goal setting can actually be detrimental not only for individuals, but also on the corporate level. Large companies that set high goals for producing products can tend to skip necessary steps and use unethical ways to accomplish these goals.

Example: Ford made a goal to build a car that was less than 2000 pounds and less than $2000. They did it! But at what price? They skipped safety testing and later discovered that the gas tank was quick to explode if rear-ended. Fifty-three people died. Oops!

Read Ford Pinto’s defence in the Chicago Tribune Feb.19, 1980

Setting specific goals can affect you negatively! They can

  • Leave you slacking and losing balance in other areas of your life
  • Lead to narrow minded thinking
  • Promote white lies to yourself and others to achieve it
  • Increase sense of ego
  • Decrease intrinsic motivation

Wow! See?! Goals are nothing but bad news!

Okay so now you are left asking “well what the heck? If I want to release my inner bAdAss I gotta do something, and now you’re telling me not to set goals so what the hell?!”

What the hell is right! So what I say always is find out what works for you and DO THAT! If you set goals and accomplish them, by all means keep doing it. And teach me how please! But if you want an alternative, I have some ideas.

If you must make goals, figure out the goal formula that works for you. Do you work best with big goals or small ones? Large concepts or specifics?

bAdAss quick tip: Don’t let anyone else tell you what works for you. 

Personally I like using large concepts and I give them a year to come into my life. I write the concepts down on a piece of paper that is taped to my wall where I look in the mirror in the morning when I wake up. I read the words and watch them slowly fade on the paper as they develop into my life. If I were to recommend anything about setting goals, this would be my advice.

  • Make them awesome, fun and exciting! If you wanna get stronger, then join a class that is fun, like kickboxing, breakdancing or gymnastics.
  • Know in your heart why achieving that goal is important to you. Whatever it is, you must have a reason.
  • Do not make your fears goal orientated. i.e.”Stop eating burned toast so I don’t get cancer”. Never make goals based on fear.
  • Life is for enjoying and having fun. If working on the things you want more of in life isn’t fun then why would you want more of them in the first place?

How about this for a goal: Enjoy today as much as possible.

:)

QUOTE

“You don’t get what you want in life, you get what you are” — Les Brown

FURTHER READING AND RESOURCES

http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/goals-gone-wild-the-systematic-side-effects-of-over-prescribing-goal-setting

 

Do What You Want When you Want

Theory DW-YWWYW-DI

Do what you want when you wanna do it! This includes making changes in your life! Lets play with the idea that you don’t need to force change upon yourself until you are ready.

Imagine you are a flower, closed tight like a tulip bulb. How hard will it be to open you when you are still a bulb? If someone tries to pry that flower open when it is closed, it’s extremely difficult and if you are forced open, it won’t be beautiful petals- that’s for sure.

Waiting for times of natural change is okay. Trust that you will know when you are ready. Hold the intention and have faith that you will change when you are ready.

Making changes hard, and nearly impossible if you are not ready. Most of us don’t like things that are hard and we certainly don’t like doing things before we are ready. We like things cheap, convenient, fast and easy. Well… Good news. I’m here to tell you that change can be like that too!

You’ve all heard stories of people who smoked for 40 years and then one day “just decided” to quit. And did “cold turkey.”

Fun fact: Cold turkey was first used in 1910, and may not actually mean a cold turkey, but rather, the word “cold” is implied as a personality trait of being blunt and matter-of-fact. The turkey part comes from an old slang “talk turkey” which means to speak plainly. It was also later suspected that this saying refers to the symptoms of withdrawal that occur when someone suddenly quits heroin.  Read more about cold turkey’s origins

You know why these people were able to quit? Because they were ready! Screw all of that motivational B.S. about “Start today” “Quit Now”. I say “No way!” Wait! Keep doing the thing you are ambivalent about changing until that day comes when you wake up and think to yourself “Fuck this. I’m done” And that will be that. Plain and simple.

Every behaviour is addicting in its own right. Each time you do a behaviour, it is more likely that you will do a similar behaviour again. For example, if you decide to go to the gym today, it is more likely that you will decide to go to the gym tomorrow.

But, if you choose to hang out and drink beer today, then it is more likely you will hangout and drink beer tomorrow (by the way, I’m am not implying either is the right or choice here, I think both are great).

The truth is, we will not change until we are ready to change. And we, as humans,  are lazy by nature! So we will continue doing whatever it is we are doing until something happens and we NEED to change. And then BAM! Change happens! You just decide.

Why waste time trying? There is no trying, only doing. If you wanna be bad ass, do what you want, when you  want, until you don’t want to do it any more. Then quit. And then release a long sigh of contentment, as you continue on enjoying the simplicity of your life.

:)

QUOTES

“She loves the smell of coffee, bloomed roses, and new beginnings” — Sonia Azalea

“Change is the only constant thing in life” — Heraclitus

“Change is the end result of all true learning” — Leo Buscaglia

and of course….

“This too shall pass”

 

4 Simple Steps to Effective Communication

Who hasn’t heard or even found themselves reiterating the classic expression “Communication is Key”?

Marshall Rosenberg, founder of Non-Violent Communication (NVC), was an American Psychologist and a travelling peacemaker.  He developed NVC to help people hear and express deeper needs and to communicate with one another in a way that harbours authentic connection, based on the principles of empathetic listening and honest expression.

Sounds good hey? Authentic connection and clear communication are things we inherently all want as humans, yet it is still tremendously difficult!

This is a very quick snapshot of the basic principles of Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication.

  1. Identify the behaviour                              

When identifying the specific behaviour that is affecting you, be as specific as possible.  Using words like “always” or “never” will not do.

Example: Person roles eyes at you.

The statement for this example would be something like                                  “I noticed that you just rolled your eyes at me.”

2.  Express the feeling

When expressing the feeling try to identify the feeling in a way that does not involve the other person. For example, rather than feeling “ignored” you might feel “lonely” because feeling “ignored” implies that the person was ignoring you, which may not have been the case.

Always try to own the emotion that you feel. Nobody has the power to make you feel a certain way, so avoid saying something like “When you rolled your eyes at me it made me feel insecure.”

Rather, you might choose to say                                                                                        “When you rolled your eyes at me I felt insecure.

Click here for a List of Feelings

3. Identify the need that is not being met          

This is the “because” part of the sentence. Why did that uncomfortable feeling of insecurity come in when this person rolled his or her eyes at you? Because a need that you have was not being met in that moment. Perhaps in this case that need might have been acceptance or respect.                                                                                                        “When you rolled your eyes at me I felt insecure because I need to feel respected by my colleagues.”

Click for a List of Needs

4. Specifically request what you desire  

Lastly, requesting (not demanding) what you would like to see happen. This may or may not happen, but this way you have been clear about what you hope to see.

“When you rolled your eyes at me I felt insecure because I have a need to feel respected in the workplace.

“If you would be willing, I would like for you to share with me the reason  you rolled your eyes at me.”

OBSERVATION. FEELING. NEED. REQUEST. 

That’s it! Start practicing. You will see and feel results, I promise.

Or…

Learn more about Non-Violent Communication from the official NVC website.

Purchase your own NVC book from Amazon.ca and learn even more about NVC!

Marshall Rosenberg's original cover.
Marshall Rosenberg’s second ed.

Honesty the Best Policy

We all learned in kindergarten that honesty is the best policy, so why is it still so hard to tell the truth? With lies running rampant from our government and through our friend circles, no wonder it is easy to get so confused. Most of us are living an extremely fast paced lifestyle and sometimes it’s just easier and faster seeming to lie.

“I would love to help with that, if only I had the time!” (It’s not that I don’t have the time, it’s that I have zero interest). Or, “Oh ya, I do remember that totally ridiculous moment you are referring to” (No you don’t because it actually happened when you were with someone else). “Ya I showered today” (Actually I only shower like twice a week, and yes, that is true for me some weeks). “Oh ya, your new haircut looks great!” (What have you done to your hair?!)

Why bother lying about things? Typically, we lie because they want to be nice. Lying though, isn’t nice. It gives false information about a situation and leaves people making decisions based on false facts. If we can start to create social circles and societies where we are honest, we can make huge positive and progressive change! There is no use for a secret agendas or sneakiness if we are all just upfront about what is actually going on. With any major change though, we must begin with ourselves. So how do we start being more honest?

Where to start

Letting go of the ego

Letting go of the ego is not something that happens overnight. This is a long process of working on ones self, or in-fact, letting go of ones self. However, it is a well worth while process that transforms one into a truth seeker.

Once one learns to let go of the ego, instead of looking for things for one’s own planned personal gain, one tunes into a guidance that is larger and more trustworthy than the self. The most important thing to do to continue receiving guidance from the this source is to be honest with ones self and others so the source can guide things appropriately. It’s a process of giving up your control to something that is bigger than you. It won’t necessarily makes sense until you feel it for yourself, but you probably have felt it. It’s built into your intuition.

Use tactful truth delivery

There can be a difference between being honest and being blunt. It takes thought and practice to first find the truth, and second to paint the truth with pretty colours before delivering it.

So when a friend asks you to do something and you have no interest in doing it, you can say no, but also provide encouragement or possibly suggest someone else you know who might be really excited for such an offer.

Being honest does not need to be mean, if your honesty is coming from your heart it can still be delivered and received gracefully most times.

Recognize the little lies

White lies are the hardest ones to quit. My friends and family  members consider me to be a very honest person, and I am. I still do find myself, with certain friends and family members, wanting to veer away from the complete truth. Unfortunately, telling half truths don’t really make the cut. A half truth is a half lie.

For me, it is harder to tell the complete truth to people who I think will have a difficult time hearing it and to people that I think may respond to my truthfulness with something that is hurtful to me or that brings up feelings of guilt within me.

These people are great to have around because they help me to practice the skill of tactful delivery. Also, it is often these people who need honesty role models in their lives the most. Often too, these people will surprise me with their ability to gracefully receive the truth and I realize I have greatly underestimated them.

Some challenges

Part of my challenge being completely honest with certain people I think must be a lingering ego and fear of hurting someone. I, like many others, like to make people happy and I like to be kind.

I also am an only child who loves to spend a lot of time alone in my fantasy land. It is difficult when my friends want to spend time with me but I feel I need alone time. I have to tactfully tell them that I would rather spend my time in my cabin alone doing absolutely nothing productive.

Slowly though, I’m learning to do it. And because am honest with them about my needs, they are able to respect what I need. They are able to know me on a deeper level and in return they get a shiny awesome and happy me because after I have had my alone time to recharge I come out with bells on… sometimes quite literally.

The Benefits of being honest

Truth giver = Truth receiver
When people know we are honest , they feel comfortable coming to us with the truth, whether it is pretty or not. When you are able to hear people’s truthful opinions you are more open to people giving you useful and constructive feedback. When you live a life based on truth you can make decisions with valid information and therefore can live a life that is more clearly aligned with what you want.

When you are honest, you are able to share your true self with the world. You are friends with people who are able to accept your true self and you’re not friends with people who you can’t be honest with. This leads to more intimate and meaningful relationships and an increased sense of self and self-esteem.

Being honest all the time is also a good way to keep your actions in line because you are committed to telling people the truth about what you have done. If you are doing something that makes you feel shameful, you know you need to own up to it. And by owning up to doing things that cause you shame or guilt, you open yourself up to the beginning stages of changing the behaviour.

Honesty is the best policy. Honesty will lead you to happier life, because by living a life of truth you have nothing to fear.

:)

QUOTES:

“Honest hearts produce honest actions”

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom”

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” Dr.Seuss

“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.” Mother Teresa

***

Please comment with your experiences and opinions!… You can be honest 😉

 

 

 

 

10 Day Silent Meditation – Vipassana

I just returned from a 10 day silent meditation retreat in Merrit, BC. Vipassana meditation… And I have to tell you about it.

What Happened

The facility held 70 students, split about evenly between the two sexes. The female and males students were separated for the 10 days except for in the meditation hall.

We were asked not to look each other in the eye or use our bodies to signal to one another. It is means to mimic a totally solitary experience.

After an evening meal and chit chat the silence started…

I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. I had no idea what to expect.

The daily schedule
400 – First wake up gong
430-630 Meditation starts in the hall
630-800 Breakfast break
800-900 Sit of determination (after day 4, everyone must attend these sits and be as still as possible for the entire hour)
900-1100 Mediation in the hall
1100-100 Lunch Break
100- 230 Meditation in the hall
230-330 Strong determination sit
330-500 Mediation in the hall
500-600 Tea break
600-700 Strong determination sit
700-815 Discourse
815-900 Mediation in the hall

Day 1– I observed the nature of my monkey mind. We were instructed to focus on our upper lip for the entire meditation sit for all of the sits of the first three days. We were to feel the sensation of the breath on the area above the upper lip. It was challenging to maintain focus on such a subtle sensation when there were so many things more interesting to think about! My mind would focus for about ten seconds and then a completely random thought would pop up and take me on a ride without my consent. Once I realized I was on the thought train I would bring my focus back, upper lip, upper lip, breath on the upper lip….thought train again, then back, upper lip, upper lip, upper lip… Very slowly the thought train started picking me up for less rides, less often.

Day 2– While observing my upper lip I had a profound and completely unexpected experience. I felt myself open up with a white/yellow light and break open, a literal breakthrough. And through it birthed the forgiveness for an ex boyfriend who I rode on an emotional roller-coaster with for four years in the past. We’ve been apart for 3 years and I had found a lot of healing and forgiveness in that time; however, there was still some residual bits of distaste for his character. To be honest, prior to this experience, I was looking forward to possibly punching him in the face if I ever came across him again… That’s all gone now. I feel like when I see him next I can run to him, look in his eyes and tell him I forgive him for everything we went through and I can genuinely apologize for the role I played in our dysfunction. Wow! Finally. Freedom.

Day 3 – Creative ideas kept breaking my concentration on my upper lip. Great creative ideas though, ones worth remembering, ones worth pursuing. It was like the mundane thoughts weren’t being welcomed in any longer so my mind was like “fine, I will give her these great ideas and then she won’t be able to resist them!” And I wasn’t, yet. I love the discourses in the evening. G.N. Goenka is so funny and has such great stories. I think I have a crush on him.

Day 4 – This is the day I finally was able to sit for the entire meditation in the afternoon and focus on my upper lip without thought interruption. I felt so proud! I did it! I got it!… And immediately after that meditation, S.N. Goenka says over the speakers “We are doing a new technique now”. Damn, I finally get the technique down and now we are changing it. Now we are doing body scans. We “start at the top of the head” and scan the sensation of the body all the way through to the toes. We are instructed to feel every single sensation on every inch of the skin, “part by part, bit by bit”. And so the new challenge begins.

Day 5– I’m loving this. I am keen, I am focused, I am the perfect little mediation student. I didn’t miss any meditations, I focused all of the time and I could feel people noticing my excellent posture and calm focus. I felt great. I scanned the body, head to toe and now we go from toes to the head also… “Patiently and persistently”…

Day 6 – Didn’t sleep well the night before and slept through the morning meditation. Frick! I’m ruined! I feel so guilty, I’m supposed to be the keen one that makes it to every sitting!… I beat myself up for a bit and then I realized this pattern and this desire in my life to be the keenest, or to be the one that tries the hardest. I also started realizing how much of a meal that is for my ego and how often I compare myself to others and measure myself against them. I had realized this before but something felt different this time. This time something dissolved through me, somehow I had a greater understanding and ability to let it go.

Day 7 – I fucking hate this. I want to go home. I will never do this again. I’m so bored of this. I get it, I will practice when I get home. All I need is a break from all of this. I am going to go crazy, how many days are left? I want to punch G.N. Goenka in the face. I don’t look forward to the breaks any more because all they are is moment to get up, wait in line for the bathroom and then go back in. What kind of break is that and why do I bother looking forward to it? This realization-that the breaks aren’t any better than the meditating and I still have 3 full days to stay in this boredom hell hole with no relief changed something in me. There was a letting go of desires, it was a learning to enjoy the moment. I’ve read all the inspiring quotes and bumper stickers about this and I’ve tried to be mindful and all that stuff but now it felt different. Experiencing this shift makes mindful a byproduct of the peaceful state inside instead of an active and slightly torturous effort to slow down and enjoy each moment for what it is.

Day 8 – Screw this. I am not doing this any more. I am doing full-blown yoga in the hall ways and I’m well aware I’m not supposed to. I want to plan 3 classes for when I teach at home after this. I am going to plan my life. I am going to think about whatever I want. I start thinking of all of the things I want to do. I want to clean up the cookie stand and make great treats when I get back, I want to tell this person this thing, I want to make pins with insightful words, I want to make necklaces from beach rocks… I jumped back onto the thought train in full force. Eventually even my thoughts would get boring and I would start meditation again out of an uncontrollable happening in my brain to meditate. There was a shift now, instead of the thinking being the default mode, now I felt bored of thinking so I would meditate. Cool.

Day 9 – I am still pretty much checked out of being a committed meditator. I start to laugh at my frustrations though because I know it’s all I can do. I don’t want to punch G.N. Goenka in the face because I realize now that’s just my own seed, my own “Sankara” and it would only be causing me pain. I am used to not sleeping at night now. Even though I feel partly checked out, I no longer count down the time during meditation waiting for meals and breaks.

Day 10 – Today after meditation we are allowed to talk. What will my first word be? Equanimity. It’s a main word of the course and is repeated over and over and not only that, it seems fun to say! Equaminity! It has a nice bounce. Other than that though, I’m not sure that I want to talk. I kind of don’t mind the silence. After the meditation is over, the teacher gets up and walks away and we all sit there confused as to what to do. People begin leaving the hall. I walk into the washroom and say “Equanimity” I then walk out of the washroom and say to the first woman I see “We’re free!” And we were free. We started talking. Talking felt amazing. I felt gitty and jittery with excitement. So much had happened in our boredom and in our equanimous meditations observing “annicha” (the ever changing nature of things). I watched the anonymous, blank faces turn to life. People’s spirits were shining out and everyone looked different now that their personality could shine through. I’ve never felt so free in my life. I don’t want anything. I was trying to think of something I was craving, like something I really wanted to eat and I couldn’t. I felt excited to put on my good smells again but other than that I could not think of a craving. I am free of cravings… other than tea, I still do really enjoy the tea. It was the tea, milk and honey that got me through some of the most challenging times in the course and for that I have an emotional comfort connection with it now… And I’m okay with that.

Day 11 – Home bound! I feel so excited and refreshed and pure. I feel like I know myself on a new level :) No cravings, just understandings. Wow, I feel free.

To learn more about Vipassana or to sign up to go yourself, click this link:

www.dharma.org