Thursday, February 24, 2011

a mini messenger and some other creations

 I have had the idea for this simple Mini Messenger bag in my head for a while. It came to me during a meditation and I had to scribble it down quickly after I was done meditating. But I finally got it together and it went very smoothly. I love making things in a modular way. Making each section then putting those sections together. Simple, no fancy flips and turns really. I love the nautical theme print too! There are tiny little anchors on the red section.

I decided that I should take it for a test drive to see how it felt and if I liked all the decisions I made. The only critiques I had were to make the strap a bit longer or make it adjustable, and divide the inner pocket. I kept getting my wallet stuck on the inner pocket because it likes to hang out in the middle of the bag instead of staying close to the side. Its a gaper... like a whale swallowing krill, only it's a pocket trying to consume my wallet, which doesn't fit well in the pocket and makes you stay awkwardly long at the checkout counter....

I plan to have a few of these on my Etsy page soon! And maybe some mini wallets too! Comment if you like em and it might inspire me to whip a few together! I would love to hear your ideas as well! I'm incubating some more apron ideas too....I HAVE to use the nice ruffling foot aunty Jane got for me :)

In that picture at the top you will also see a little Mini Card Wallet. The lovely Stacey had a dream that I should make her a little wallet that would hold her credit cards, because her super cool metal one can't quite fit them all. So I made her one with some stiff material in the middle and it didn't quite turn out how I wanted but Stacey seemed to like it. So me being me I had to make one more to get it right. So there it is!!

This is the cutest thing EVAR! And SUPER EASY! I got a job baby sitting for a wonderful family and mom Kelly asked me if I would make a book sling for Lindsey's room and I got really excited and I had the PERFECT fabric in my own stash so she didn't even have to go shopping! I LOVE IT, I'm totally making one for Dorian and I. We have lots of books and if you end up in the corner spot on the bed you have to play steam roller or tractor to crawl to the end of the bed or roll over the other person. I think I will add a pocket for highlighters....we are compulsive book doodlers. 
(if you want to know how to make one let me know!)
This is my rendition of the full moon a few nights ago. We were working out and I HAADD to go grab my camera. The clouds were dancing around the moon it was so beautiful, but my cameral is incapable of capturing as I saw it. I had to combine two pictures to get both the clouds and the moon to be properly exposed. ...and I may have fiddled with the clouds a bit :) I like it. The clouds seem to be cradling the moon in its hands, feeling the light through their wispy palms.

Just a few things I've been up to besides baby sitting and gardening!

Lots of love! ❤


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It was a warm day....and there were transplants at the Seed Store....

Can you blame us? It was a gorgeous sunny day in the 70s and the seed store said they had strawberries and rosemary.... So we went and came back with not only strawberries and rosemary but a ton of romaine and a few red lettuces! So we went to town on one of our smaller beds. With a slight bit of organization, and a bit more intuition we started plopping the plants in. Dig a little hole, add a handful of composted cow poopoos and tuck em in!

We used some companion planting techniques I learned in the book, "Carrots Love Tomatoes". Essentially there are some plants that when planted together benefit each other. Like in our bed, members of the cabbage family, get along with spinach and lettuce, and benefit from onions because the onion's aroma keeps the aphids at bay. Our bed also contains a  two strawberries, who like to hang out with spinach! Diversity is the spice of life... and apparently very beneficial!

And then there is this bugger! Natalie, one our friends beautiful children brought it over to us. She said if she planted it and took a picture with it when it was big that she could get a $1000 scholarship! And she wanted to plant it in our garden! I was so excited that she thought of us when her teacher talked about the plants! Her O.S. Cross cabbage makes 30-50lb heads!!! Hopefully we can keep it alive and happy! If you can see there is a baby in the picture on the tag next to the giant head of cabbage....this thing is going to be huge if all goes well!
I asked Chris and Paige (Natalies' parents) what they were going to do with 50lbs of cabbage, we decided we would use it like an atlas stone, which might looks something like this only instead of that really heavy cement stone it would be a cabbage.... I feel a Lonnie Video coming on.....

OK gotta go out back and fashion some sweet pea trellises and chuck some poppy seeds around to see if they will come up! And check on the lettuce to see if it has been blown out of its bed was super windy yesterday! There may be some interpretive garden dancing too.

OH we watched a super 70s awesome film called The Secret Life Of Plants. If any of you have netflix, and enjoy time lapse video, Stevie Wonder, polygraphs, and science I highly recommend its an instant play! Also very speaks about plant consciousness... c'mon it cant be any worse than the crap they show on the news.....i know you are intrigued why polygraphs are in there hehehe

Lots of love and warm weather wishes!!


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Big Garden Changes in Less Than a Week!

Our 'mid leafing' shot
We sat outside eating breakfast in the sunshine one mornoon( we tend to sleep in so we eat breakfast around 11 sometimes haha!) looking at our straw covered beds. Dorian wasn't too convinced anything would really grow in the straw. We, after all, have only experienced plants grown in dirt, so the straw is a bit of a foreign concept. I started poking around and found a surprise! Straw was growing in the straw! So our passions were re-ignited! We shifted back into "bulk materials collection mode".
We had used much of our straw and needed some more bulk material to lay down... so we headed off in search of leaves! According to the books I read on sheet mulching the leaves are supposed to be chopped up, but it also says that sheet mulching is very forgiving, so we just went for whole leaves! 

The 'leafing' is finished!
We poked around a neighboring subdivision on super bowl sunday and decided to rake an empty lot! We chatted with the neighbors  that walked past (who were harassing me that I wasn't watching the game...hahah), picked up some trash, recycling, and about five bags of leaves that we packed into my truck. Dorian also picked up an obsession with collecting bricks to border the beds in. The beds look much cleaner and more organized, but we still need a bunch more bricks! We found a gold mine of bricks in some old empty lots with houses that had been demolished. The Truckalier was looking more like it was fully equipped with hydraulics and they were set to looowww! (cue "Low Rider" song,    doot doot doot doot doot doot doot, doot doot doot doot dooooooot!)
On Tuesday we went on some more adventures looking for bricks, after we got some letter stencils so Dorian could make a personal training sign for the front yard. We were tooling around good ole fayetteville, as we stopped at a light eagle eye (yours truly) spotted some bags of leaves! HA! Perfect, we didn't even have to rake them! We stopped by the house and they had a table there too! I had mentioned a day or two ago that we needed an outdoor table to have some space to do seeding and transplanting. It was so amazing, our brick hunt had turned into finding the perfect table and  more bags of leaves than we knew what do do with! Yet another example of how life unfolds perfectly :)

We had eyed up some awesome composted mulch at our local yard waste facility, but as you know a bulldozer load of composted mulch probably won't fit very well in my Chevy Truckalier....(remember this??) We felt a little frustrated and unequipped, and antsy, wanting to get our beds ready.
Recently I had a family contact me about baby sitting (don't worry this actually relates I'm not going on a tangent....). They live really close so its very convenient and the family is so sweet! I happened to mention to the father that we were trying to get large amounts of mulch into our back yard and he immediately offered his truck and help!! I've only met these people for a total of about 3 hours! He let me know that Friday the 18th he didn't have to work and would have time to help us out! (Ok this whole unfolding life things is getting a bit blatant.....These people first SEEK me out, provide me with a wonderful job, and then offer to help us haul a bunch of compost!!??)

Dorian it looks like you are planting nothing...
AH! ok, Yellow Wonder Wild Strawberry seeds! So tiny!

We were hoping to have the mulch a bit sooner but decided that we could look for bricks, and start some seeds in the mean time. We started a bunch of seeds on Friday afternoon, and let the broccoli, cauliflower and spinach out of the greenhouse to bask in the unadulterated rays of the sun for a bit, we were thinking about leaving them outside for the night (they are getting big!). At about 10 or 11 pm Dorian asked me if we had zipped up the greenhouse.......I couldn't remember.......I was feeling confident about our little seedlings and their outdoor adventure, but I checked the weather anyway. EEEK! It was supposed to get to 29 degrees! I ran outside picked up the frosty seedlings, got them back into our chilly greenhouse (which was left unzipped, gar!) and figured that we probably had just killed them...
Red and Yellowish Onions and Ground Cherries!
Peppers!!! Hot and sweet!
We awoke early on Saturday morning to check on our frost victims. Dorian reported they were still frozen and so was the soil in the trays we had just planted....ruh roh.... Since we were awake at such an early hour we decided to get our morning 1 hour meditation in and eat breakfast at breakfast time! 
Almost as soon as our sit was done my phone rang. (this was surprising itself because of my reliance on texting) It was the people I started to baby sit for. I answered and it was the father, he said he would have time today to haul some mulch for us!! (Ok again...the unfolding of life and its synchronistic qualities..... is this becoming more obvious to you too??) So we tossed on some workin' clothes and drank our breakfast (Dorian sometimes prefers drinking his meals in the form of milk, bananas, apple, peanut butter, cinnamon, and oats in a blender...haha!) and headed over to get a bulldozer load of mulch!

Dorian watering the they don't blow away!
 "Bella, what do you have? DROP IT! Stop eating dirt!"
We had a nice full load of mulch for just $10! The unloading was the fun part. We have no wheel barrow.... We had cleverly dumped each load onto a tarp and carried it across the lawn and dropped it onto the beds. Woof! We had gotten about half the garden covered and said good bye to the boys, they were in need of lunch and getting ready for the circus later that day!
We were excited and wanted to finish what we started. We had heard that our other friend was in town this weekend and we may be able to use his truck, and as luck would have it, he was headed over to work out! And sure enough he brought his truck, and we had a bunch of other people over at our garage gym that were going to keep those guys busy for a while. Just enough time for us to get a load of compost! (seriously.... do I even have to say it again? I will, synchronistic unfolding!)
Yay! All finished! There's one of our helpers too! Thanks!

Ta daaaaa! We got another truckload of composted trees, and finished up the beds! It was a lot of work, hauling tarp-loads of composted trees around the yard but it looks GREAT! I hope our plants appreciate it!
Thank you SOOO MUCH to our friends for their help and use of their trucks! We appreciate it beyond comprehension, we couldn't have done it without you! Be prepared, hopefully we have some garden skills and will be sharing our bounty with you!

I will leave you with this:
Nice mustache Farmer D.....
Lots of love, happy thoughts, and dirty fingernails!

xoxo L

Monday, February 7, 2011

Vipassana Cliff Notes

I decided that my last post was ridinkypants, as in wayyyy too long! Sorry about that! I will now put together some of my favorite points for you. If you are at all interested in seeing a bit of what I did please netflix or check out The Dhamma Brothers Dorian and I watched it the other night and it was wonderful.

Now for the favorite insights and quotes:

  • Observe Objectively. 
  • Observe Respiration and Sensation.
  • Remain Equanimous. (balanced and calm)
  • EVERYTHING is subject to the law of Dhamma (nature)
  • EVERYTHING is IMPERMANENT "anicca, annica, annica" [pronounced ah nee chay] (ever notice how things claiming to be perminent are not i.e. permanent markers and permanent hair color!!?? yeah... I know)
  • The four Noble Truths:
    • the fact of suffering
    • the origin of suffering (craving)
    • the cessation of suffering
    • the path leading to the cessation of suffering
  • YOU are 100% responsible for your reactions and emotional well being. 
  • The 3 roots of all mental defilements
    • craving
    • aversion
    • ignorance
The following are some of the things that really stuck with me:

  • Our minds like to live in the past and the future. Times that don't exist. It's obvious that the future doesn't exist and the past has already happened. Vipassana is meant to break our minds of those conditioned habits, to teach us to live in the now. The now is the only time anything ever happens in.
  • Planting a seed of anger in yourself will sprout a plant of anger. This plant will then produce the fruit of anger. The fruit contain many many more seeds than the single seed that was planted. Then those seeds are planted and thus begins the process of multiplication of anger. 
  • Negative actions by yourself means you had to plant a seed of anger within yourself to grow and multiply in order to give that negative reaction to someone else. And you have thus created a deep saṅkhāra [reaction/mental conditioning] within YOU.
  • Just as if someone brings you a gift and you do not accept, the gift stays with that person. So too with negativity. You can choose to NOT accept that person's gift of negativity and it will stay with them. 
  • "The secret to success is continuity of practice"
This last statement carries so much truth. It is easy to be calm and equanimous from the meditation cushion, much more difficult amongst others. 

I have had a difficult transition. I felt I understood the practice and did well while at the Vipassana center, where we sat for 10 hours a day. Now back here in a town that I tend to have a distaste for, it has become challenging to sit for two hours a day.  Luckily I have Dorian to sit with, and I have started to realize how important those two hours are. If I am able to be happy that happiness is very easily shared with others.  Which is in all honestly all I ever really wanted to be....cue tangent:

What do you want to be when you grow up?
 I was in middle school and we were doing all of those fun 'career' testings, projecting what we would be good at in the future. [looking back at this it seems really ridiculous...I was maybe 12 years old and half and half of my lifetime I probably don't remember...] I remember having a really hard time with them. I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. It seemed to change on a whim.... After a while I realized that these career testing things were useless for me. It really didn't matter what I did, just as long as I was HAPPY. Since then I have always told people that I wanted to be happy when I grew up. Now having gone thru Vipassana everything just makes a lot more sense.

Well anyway, now I can't really remember where I was at before this tangent took place so I will leave you with this.

May you share my love, my peace, my harmony and my liberation.

Smiles happiness and metta ❤

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wonderful Vipassana! Observe your breath and focus this is a long one!

Of COURSE during my 10 day Vipassana course I was contemplating what I would write you all...Then I thought, "i have no use for this now, i must learn the technique now!" or else I would have nothing to tell but that I was thinking about what to tell you the whole time..... and that wouldn't be a very informative post.

This statement is actually very accurate of the teachings of Vipassana. You have to be present experiencing reality as it is, without your mind constructing and reacting to things, because you will miss what is actually happening in reality.

The course is taught by S. N. Goenka on video/audio. There are also assistant teachers present for the course to answer questions and check in with you.

 I'll add a list of glossary terms too, such wonderful Pali words. (Pali is the language at the time of the Buddha, it's mostly a dead language at this point but resembles Sanskrit) Do not take any of this as a teaching, if you are very interested in this I insist that you check out the Vipassana site and sign up for a 10 day course it's the best and only way to truly understand the technique. This is just what happened in my personal experience and should have no comparison to anyone else's experience. We all have our own path of dhamma, no two walk the same path.

I apologize in advance for errors and an incoherence.... ask lots of questions! ❤

The Timetable
4 am
I wake up to get into the Dhamma hall for the 4:30 am meditation. I practiced Anapana and observed respiration while sitting cross legged. We were allowed to shift positions when we became uncomfortable. There was usually chanting by S. N. Goenka to start off or end or both start and end this meditation. The chanting was to introduce good vibrations to the room and were encouraging descriptions recited in Pali.
6:30 am - 8 am
Breakfast of oatmeal and stewed prunes, cereals, yogurt and fruit. Then we could head back to our rooms for rest or shower still continuously observing respiration. 
8 am - 9 am
Group mediation in the hall
9 am - 11 am
Instructions are given as to whom (old vs new students) will stay and meditate with the teachers and whom may go to mediate at their residential quarters. I usually stayed.
11 am - 12 pm
Lunch. Vegetarian meals with salad and fruit.
12 pm - 1 pm
Rest time or if you signed up for an interview with the teacher you waited for your turn. I took rest or walked around outside.
1 pm - 2:30 pm
Meditate in the hall or your room. 
2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Group meditation in the hall.
3:30 pm - 5 pm
Meditate in the hall or your room according to teacher instruction.
5 pm - 6 pm
Tea break. We got fruit and tea for dinner.
6 pm - 7 pm
Group Meditation in the hall.
7 pm - 8:15 pm
Teacher's discourse where we watched S. N. Goenka on video explain the technique and give stories.
8:15 pm - 9 pm
Group Meditation in the hall.
9 pm - 9:30 pm
You could stay and ask questions of the assistant teachers if you had them or retire to your room. I usually headed back to my room.

Pre Course

I arrived at the Southeast Vipassana Center in Jesup, GA round about 2:30 pm. Yea sounds about right for GA....( I get a kick out of the back country sound of the word Jesup :) especially when pronounced with a southern accent) The center was down a dirt road which in my opinion is always good. I wasn't sure if we were able to talk to people (I apparently took the instructions very literally and seriously!) but upon arriving in the registration building we were allowed to talk. I was assigned a bunk and moved my things in and surrendered my contraband: keys, phones, listening things, books etc. I was actually pleased to hand them over and excited, there was no doubt in my mind that I would be wanting to leave. 
The location was beautiful, there was a pond and nature walking paths. The men and women were separated once the course began which was later this evening. 
We had dinner and an orientation about how everything is run, like showers during rest times, a little about the Noble Silence vow we were going to take and staying in course boundaries. With that we headed to the Dhamma hall to be assigned our meditation cushions. I was so excited and ready for silence. 
We got in the Dhamma hall and watched a video of S. N. Goenka who explained the five precepts we were going to take and why they were important. 
To Abstain from:
1 killing any being
2 stealing
3 all sexual activity
4 telling lies
5 all intoxicants
We also took the vow of Noble Silence which was very very important. Noble Silence is silence of the body, speech and mind. Any form of communication between students is prohibited such as: gestures, sign language, written notes, etc. Basically we stared at everyone's feet, tried not to make eye contact. I couldn't help myself though, I watched people....You could get such a wonderful sense for people in silence just from how they carried themselves. Throughout the course I could feel which people were struggling. 

The Course

The first three days we studied the Anapana technique which involves you objectively observing your respiration thru your nose. We were then instructed to focus down to the area below the nostrils and above the upper lip and focus on the sensation there of the air moving past or any other type of sensation, and as always observe OBJECTIVELY, meaning without a reaction. 
 I felt a kind of tingling or pulsating feeling that would appear in different areas. Sometimes I could feel the gentle breath passing over the area right below my nostrils. I think this may have been one of the days I struggled to keep focused, I felt tired and was head bobbing and mind wandering. Luckily at one point our assistant teacher announced, "STAY ALERT, STAY ALERT" shattering the dull hum in the hall frightening me awake for a bit. I may have headed back to my room at one point to give my knees a break, so I sat on the edge of my bed and continued the practice which helped (on this day). We were allowed about 5 minute breaks between hours to get up and stretch.
I was a bit frustrated because of perceived 'poor' mediation and that I wasn't able to stay alert and focused, but during the discourse I realized that that tired feeling wasn't a feeling at all. It was my mind whispering, "oh, I'm so tired it would be nice to go lay down. I did not sleep well last night I should take a nap. This is sooo boring!" I was without realizing convincing myself I was tired and distracting my attention from practicing. I felt better knowing this truth and my mind felt sharper better able to catch the lazy wandering habits of my mind.
This Anapana stage works as a whetstone, to sharpen your mind to its ingrained habits of distracting you from experiencing the real present moment. My mind likes to wander and explore creative endeavors and rehash the past and project into the future.
S. N. Goenka explains the habit patterns of our minds live only in the past and the future. Learning these meditation techniques helps you bring your mind to the present reality and into peace and liberation.

Day four was Vipassana day, half the day we practiced anapana then in the afternoon we learned the Vipassana technique. This technique to put it very shortly and while leaving out a ton of important info: you begin to observe sensations throughout the body starting at the top of your head and moving part by part down your body to the tips of your toes. We are also told that there will be three one hour sittings from now on that will be sittings of strong determination or adhiṭṭhāna. Meaning we will not be able to open our eyes, hands, or legs for one hour. This isn't a means of torture but to practice remaining equanimous and balanced in the face of what your mind perceives as "pain" and associates a negative feeling toward as well as adding to our virtues or pāramīs. Because essentially that pain is only a sensation, our minds just construct a negative reaction to it. This too goes for positive feelings, we should not become attached to them and crave them. 
Two of the five hindrances I remember very well are kāmacchanda--craving and vyāpāda--aversion. To me they are like positive and negative, wanting for good and aversion to bad. 
While we learned the technique I chose to not move. I ended up sitting rather still only moving to straighten my back or tip my head for an hour and a half.  I was having extreme intense pain in my knees and lower legs, they were pounding and frozen and on fire and numb all at the same time. There were definitely times my mind told me to move my legs but I was able to stay put.  Because I remembered anicca—impermanence, that EVERYTHING is impermanent and constantly changing.  So too this feeling would arise and pass away, the feeling itself was not solid but moving pulsating arising, getting stronger and then a break. It was so beautiful to observe this sensation as it was instead of breaking down into screams of pain which magnify and intensify the pain.
This day was good, all days were good, all days were constantly changing and challenging. 

Day six: this was one day Goenka said people are prone to 'run away.' I could understand why. I struggled. I woke up already my mind was not wanting to go and meditate. I took some deep breaths and headed to the hall where, I struggled for hours, it seemed my mind was wandering  more than previous and I couldn't keep track of it. I felt frustrated, I was out of balance, tipping in the way of negativity. I was very relieved by the breaks during the day, I tried moving to my room for a change to see if that would help. it didn't. I tried to remember my instructions but I resented the voice of Goenka a bit...I was feeling grumpy. My mind convinced me I was grumpy and that some external circumstance had made me grumpy. No, no environmental circumstance is the cause of dukka--suffering. I knew the trouble was my doing, it was due to my thoughts, my reactions to my thoughts. The discourse that night helped clarify and re-energize me for the next day.

Day seven: this day I felt a little more inspired, the days seemed to pick up pace, ha the numbers were nearing ten! I had to make sure I wasn’t trying to focus on the future and keep my head in my practice.

Day eight: Goenka had told us the night before that we had only two more days to work seriously. This was one of them. Knowing this helped me stay focused and do serious hard work. One of the more difficult thoughts to come in my head was time….when will this be done…I hope Goenka starts chanting soon. I think this feeling was compounded by the fact that I had a lingering pounding feeling in my head and by the evening sit it was migraine-al, including subtle waves of nausea. I focused on the feeling when I was surveying my head but when I was on other parts of my body I focused hard on that part and the migraine feeling subdued a bit, I also focused on my breath which was a bit irregular and kept hoping to hear Goenka.  There was a certain phrase Goenka would say that basically signified the meditation was coming to an end. Though it took me till about the sixth day to figure out the cue phrase and what it meant. Bhavatu sabba maṅgalaṃ—May all beings be happy! Then we could respond if we liked with, sādhu, sādhu, sādhu—well said, well done; we agree we share this wish. And I did :). 

Day nine: Very wonderful!! Our last serious work day we continued with Vipassana and learned either this day or the day before to sweep from the top of our head and simultaneously and symmetrically arms legs etc down to our toes then back up in the same manner. I got this really well on my extremities but lacked sensation on my trunk. So then after a couple sweeps you keep going part by part to try to open up the blind spots.

Day ten: Mettā day!
This day we learned how to share mettā which is selfless love. We focused on the subtle sensations throughout our bodies and filled our bodies and minds with thoughts of love and goodwill to others.  We were then released from our Noble silence. I was very hesitant to talk at the beginning. Most people got up to see the mettā day display, I stayed in the Dhamma hall until the lunch bell rang, I was having a productive sit and didn’t want to stop.  After the bell rang my roommate said hello and it was over! Time to chatter! Noble chatter of course! This day was full of laughter, sharing of experiences, yummy food and healing from our deep operations we had performed on our minds. At the next meditation my forehead flutterd and popped with thumping pressure and I experienced flashing lights when I closed my eyes. The talking and chatter had overstimulated.  It settled after a bit and I fell right into Vipassana. We then practiced a bit of mettā at the end, I could only hold it for a couple minutes so then I went back to anapana. The same thing happened later, I came in with lots of energy and it showed up as a popcorn feeling in my frontal lobe and eyeballs. It was a good healing day. Later that night though we were to refrain from touching each other I got a haircut….a much needed haircut from wonderful Tye! We stayed up a bit late and filled our hearts with love and shared stories of life it was beautiful. And we did the majority of our cleaning. We all had trouble falling asleep…but managed a few hours before the 4 am wake up bell.

Day Eleven: Our last day, so exciting!  I was pleased to know I would be heading back to hug Dorian and pet little Bella Sue. I kept my focus though and knew it would come in time. I was also very excited that I had a buddy for my ride home, Fauna. Fauna’s friend whom had brought her down to the center from Charlotte had left on the first day!(that had to have an effect on her mind all ten days!) So I told her I would bring her home, we worked it out so that her friend would meet us and take her from basically my place to back to Charlotte. We had a wonderful long talk and exchanged much information. The 6 hour ride went by very quickly with such wonderful company! The driving was a little too much to handle….Fauna had the job of reading the signs…I could not comprehend... too much stimuli after being in a dimly lit Dhamma hall for ten days! 
Dorian had left me a lovely message on my phone welcoming me back to the ‘real world’ though he said maybe he should have called it the ‘fake world’ hah. Well, I finally made it home and got my hugs and wished Dorian a happy birthday! I felt exhausted! I shuffled around wearily and got to sitting. After our last discourse earlier in the day and talking with Fauna I realized I had been visualizing while I was meditating, which isn’t neccisarrily bad meditation but not in line with vipassana. So I had to stop the visualizations, I had thought visualizations applied only to religious symbols or shapes, but no it was all visualizations. I had been visualizing my body and a band of light passing over it….still not good. Needless to say, I was tired and really just wanted to sleep so the sit didn’t go well, I was cross. It was difficult to not visualize, a very strong habit of mine from being an artist. I build up and take things apart in my head, dream up artwork and solve sewing situations.  My mind habits appeared strong but I made it!

I have decided to rid myself of the visualizations I should head back to anapana and re-sharpen my tool. I am pleased, I feel calm and peaceful. It's a wonderful feeling, I hope you may feel it too. I hope you have lots of questions!! Leave comments and I will do my best to answer them. May you share my happiness, peace and love!

Bhavatu sabba maṅgalaṃ!

Glossary and some of my other favorite terms (I'll give you my best guess at pronunciation)

Dhamma [damma]: the law of nature; the teaching of an enlightened person; the way to liberation
Buddha [booda]: anyone who is fully enlightened
Adhiṭṭhāna [ahhditaana]: strong determination
Mettā [metta]: selfless love
Anicca [aneechay]: impermanence 
Saṅgha [sahngha]: anyone who has practiced Dhamma and has become a pure-minded, saintly person
Bhavatu sabba maṅgalaṃ [buhwadu sawa mangalam]: May all beings be happy!
Three Trainings:
Sīla [sheela]: morality
Samādhi [samadi]: concentration, mastery of the mind
Paññā [panya]: wisdom, insight that purifies the mind