I was planning to write a post today about holiday gift-giving and how we're all under so much pressure to buy presents that we forget what it's like to be generous. Except on Saturday I started to feel pain around my right eye. I thought it was probably from grinding my teeth (I have TMJ) but by Sunday afternoon the pain had increased and redness appeared underneath my bottom eyelid.
As a child I was often told that starving children in China would be happy to have the mushy peas I carefully picked out from the Campbell's vegetable soup and left in the bowl. I felt bad for the starving children, but that wasn't going to make me like the mushy peas -- or the occasional lima beans that kept them company after everything else was gone.
Insurance companies aren't known for taking risks on unproven methods. So when Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini -- who had personal experience with the healing benefits of yoga and meditation -- wanted to spread the practices to Aetna's employees, he looked for data. As David Gelles describes in the New York Times' article, "At Aetna, A CEO's Management by Mantra," Aetna did its own research.
More than 13,000 Aetna employees -- just over a quarter of the company's 50,000 employees -- have taken the free yoga and meditation classes, and Aetna offers those programs to businesses that contract with it for health insurance.
I've been reading about Ruth Denison, a Buddhist teacher who died Feb. 26. I'd picked up a book about her, Dancing in the Dharma, because I liked the title. I had not heard of her. That's a shame, because Denison's work deeply influenced how Buddhism is taught in the west.
Living with pain can sometimes feel like half living. A part of you is always tied up with the pain, strategizing how to beat it or bracing against it. Imagine not having to micromanage your pain, or have it be surrounded by stiffness. Imagine being able to rest in your body as it is now.
I am hating most everything in my life and I’m finding it almost impossible not to make that, or me, bad. I didn’t realize I was making it bad and pushing it away until I sat down to write – at which point I heard my therapist’s voice and my meditation teachers’ teachings echo through my head with their ever-helpful and ever-loathsome message: try to just be with the feelings. Fuuuuuuuckkkkkkthaaaaaatttttt it’s so god awful hard. Why must theyyyyy be riiiiiiiightttttt? (This is my keyboard trying to represent my mind on whine.)
I sat down to write a post about my grandmother, and as I started to look for photos to use, I got sidetracked by other photos. Then, I attempted to organize the pictures so that I could come back to them at a later point and ended up scrapping the whole show for a different – but not entirely removed from my grandmother’s influence – post about things my family makes.
Sitting meditation is practice for living meditatively. When I train my mind to concentrate -- gently focusing on the breath, recognizing when I drift off, and inviting my attention to come back -- while sitting in silence, I'm developing the capacity to do that in the rest of my life.
It’s almost impossible to find content for my children that isn’t focused on the female body. Everywhere I look – whether it be in classic children’s literature, movies, toy store shelves, or catalogues from major retailers – girls and women are presented as objects.