KRISZTA11   55,092
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Good book and walking meditation

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I read a fascinating book this week:
10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True Story (by Dan Harris)
www.amazon.com/10-Happier-Self-Help-
Actually-Works-A/dp/0062265423


I considered buying it a few months ago, but told myself " hey you have enough books about mindfulness and meditation" and it was true.
But KANOE10 recommended it, so I gave it a try.
It is a funny and thought provoking story of the author's Odyssey through the sea of information about how to live a happier life. He is a journalist who used to live a very busy life and worried a lot.

It inspired me to try walking meditation for real.
What I normally refer to as "walking mediation" is in fact a combination of moderate pace walking and open awareness meditation.
I always knew I should walk much slower, slowly enough to feel one leg raised, moved, put down on the ground and feel the weight of the body transferred. Then repeat with the other leg. Gaze at the ground before me, and focus on the bodily sensations of walking. Preferably to be done at home where nobody can see you, on a 10-15 steps long route, then turn around.
If people see you they will think you are crazy or a zombie.

Now, my preferred mindful activity is yoga (every day).
Second is the body scan (2-3 times a week)
I rarely do formal sitting meditation, and never tried the walking meditation.

We have a 4-day weekend, so I have plenty of time.
I went for a walk in the forest, and decided to give it a try and slowed down my steps. Very very slow. Nobody saw me ; )
I liked it a lot. For me it is easier to focus on my steps than on my breath, and I was able to keep my focus and quiet my mind much better.
This is NOT an exercise, it is really very very slow.
I ended up doing walking meditation for about 3x10 minutes, and spend another 90 minutes walking normally, focusing on what I see and hear.
It was very calming and blissful at the same time.

The book also inspired me to do sitting meditation, I already did 2x10 minutes yesterday.

I intend to incorporate 1-2 short walking and sitting meditations in my everyday life.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MJREIMERS 10/24/2014 9:53PM

    I love "meditation," but I'd have to really concentrate to slow my walking down. I may have to try it!! Thanks for the blog.

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JANTHEBLONDE 10/23/2014 1:40PM

    What an awesome blog! Thank you for sharing the book with us! I think you are doing fabulous! I'm so proud of you! You rock girlfriend! I hope you have a fabulous day!
Hugs and love,
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LESLIESENIOR 10/23/2014 1:35PM

    Dan Harris is so inspiring. He has shared some very personal low points in his life and I love his honesty. He does what you do, Kriszta! He shares his challenges and his solutions. I've enjoyed seeing many interviews as he promoted his book.

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KANOE10 10/23/2014 10:44AM

    I liked that book and learned any insights about meditation . I have not tried the walking meditation yet. I so glad you liked the book. It is well written with humor.

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ROXYZMOM 10/23/2014 9:39AM

    That book is on my "to do" list. I think it's making it's way around Spark!
Hmmmm...I will have to move it up!!

Thanks for the review!

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JEANKNEE 10/23/2014 9:14AM

    emoticon

I used to sit regularly to meditate and allowed that practice to go. Still do it from time to time. Reading your blog is a reminder to me to slow down.

The speed at which I go through life is generally not supportive of a mindful experience. Although, this time of year does seem to support a more mindful experience for me.

Glad you enjoyed your experience in the forest.



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SMILINGTREE 10/23/2014 9:02AM

    Wow! I've never heard of walking meditation but it sounds interesting. When I have trouble sleeping, I focus on breathing and my heartbeat, so I've always struggled with sitting meditation where you focus on your breath. It just feels weird because in my mind, that means it's time to sleep.

But steps? I could maybe do that!

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MIRAGE727 10/23/2014 7:33AM

    emoticon
I love it! In keeping our minds fresh & healthy, we can achieve anything! Namaste.
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Maintenance without Scale - Week 7

Thursday, October 23, 2014

This update is two days late, normally I do this on Tuesdays, but I had very busy work days. I even broke my 60-or-so day login streak.

Eating was not so good: mild overeating almost every evening, even during the day in the weekend / work at home day.
Good thing I skipped dinner when I ate too much during the day.
I would certainly gain weight if I continued this way.

Exercise was good, limited to running and walking (ie. no yoga) on the two busiest days.

Weight estimate:
I look good, feel good and clothes are loose so I guess I'm within range, hopefully around center.
I don't remember anymore how I exactly looked in the mirror 7 weeks ago ; )
Two more weeks to go and the truth will be revealed!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WENDYANNE61 10/23/2014 4:01PM

    As Mrs. Doyle says, I am really looking forward to hearing the results of your experiment! All the best for the next fortnight!

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MRS.DOYLE 10/23/2014 1:35PM

    I'm following this with interest. Good luck for a good result in 2 weeks.
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KANOE10 10/23/2014 10:46AM

    I sorry your work is so busy. It sounds like you are doing well with the way you feel and with your clothes fitting.

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ROXYZMOM 10/23/2014 9:41AM

    I bet you are right on target. I can always tell how I am doing by how my clothes fit.
How do you "feel" skipping the scale?

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JEANKNEE 10/23/2014 9:06AM

    Thanks for the update.

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NEW-CAZ 10/23/2014 6:43AM

    emoticon emoticon

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MIRAGE727 10/23/2014 6:40AM

    Stay strong and focused, Kriszta!
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Comment edited on: 10/23/2014 6:40:27 AM

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Maintenance without Scale - Week 6

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This week was good.
Lovely sunny autumn weather, good walks and runs, and yoga outside on the terrace.
Eating went well, cooked 3 times.
A friend grows tomatillos in their garden and gave us some, and I made roasted tomatillo sauce - turned out very well, my first attempt.

Dinners are still my weak point, though.
Once I had potato chips for dinner, with lots of carrot sticks - crappy choice but amount was OK and at least I had the carrots.
The last 2 nights mild overeating: salty crackers after dinner at my parents, and fresh white baguettes last night at home.
Oh well... I can maintain if this is the worst thing I do, 1 or 2 times a week.

This may be a result of getting confident not knowing my weight.
I feel good, and I wore my skinny jeans during the weekend and to work on Monday.
I bought it about half year ago, and it fits well only when I'm at the lower end of my range. So I put it on rarely, because - obviously - usually I'm above the lower end.
Now it fits me well : )

Another good sign is that my meals are less automatic
I mean when I have lunch at home (usually more than the packed lunches at work), I tend to skip afternoon snack or dinner, once I skipped both. I may get my natural sense of hunger back one day.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SETTIMIA 10/17/2014 4:56PM

    Oh wow yoga outside that sounds lovely. Thank you for your very kind comments on my hair x




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MYLOVELYCURVES 10/15/2014 3:02PM

    Congratulations! Sounds like you are doing great. Maintenance can be tough but you're really aware of your choices and that's a good thing in the long run! :)

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HADESKITTEN 10/15/2014 1:36AM

   
Yay!!! I am so excited for you!!

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LESLIESENIOR 10/14/2014 10:59PM

    Congratulations on another week of intuitively knowing what your body, heart, and spirit need. You are truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing your progress!!!!

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TEMPEST272002 10/14/2014 12:45PM

    If the skinny jeans fit, then it doesn't matter what the numbers would be on a scale. I admire you for taking on the challenge of learning how to maintain your weight without being obsessed with the scale.

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HONEYBEESBLISS 10/14/2014 12:26PM

    The Skinny Jeans are great Non Scale Proof that you are doing well!
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JANTHEBLONDE 10/14/2014 11:22AM

    Woo hoo! Congratulations on wearing your skinny jeans! I think you are doing awesome! I am so proud of you! I hope your day is full of lots of love and happiness!
Hugs and love,
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SMILINGTREE 10/14/2014 9:22AM

    This is an encouraging post. One of my fears is that (if I ever begin losing) I'll be tied to the tracker and the scale forever. Seeing your progress in the areas of mindfulness and maintenance gives me hope :)

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JEANKNEE 10/14/2014 8:58AM

    Sure sounds like you are aware of your choices and how your body is feeling. Awakened natural hunger would be wonderful!

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ROXYZMOM 10/14/2014 8:49AM

    Are you eating dinner by yourself this week? My hubby wouldn't go for chips and carrots for dinner! I guess he is keeping me in line with making it!!

Sounds like you are really getting in tune with knowing when you are hungry since you aren't using the scale and that you are doing well.

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KANOE10 10/14/2014 8:48AM

    It sounds like you feel confident in your eating plan. I have to watch dinner also. You are doing very well!

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EDENZMOM 10/14/2014 8:01AM

    Fantastic job with the skinny jeans!
i hope you get the dinners under control, not that you are having difficulty, but rather just to know that you are fueling your body with nutrition and not salty crackers ;)

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WENDYANNE61 10/14/2014 7:53AM

    Glad your jeans are fitting you well and you are eating mainly clean, healthy food. Hope the lovely weather keeps up and you can enjoy yourself outside too!

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HOLLYM48 10/14/2014 7:01AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BROOKLYN_BORN 10/14/2014 6:52AM

    You are dealing with your choices honestly. Good for you!

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NEW-CAZ 10/14/2014 6:08AM

    Doing good emoticon good healthy habits take a little while to become second nature...you're getting there emoticon emoticon

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SWEDE_SU 10/14/2014 5:37AM

    sounds like you have a good handle on maintenance without the scale. it's good to have a measure like those skinny jeans to tell you that you're on track. i recognize those chips and baguette issues, so easy to have dinner that way. gotta focus! emoticon

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Upper body strength

Saturday, October 11, 2014

I used to do weight lifting with a barbell, but I replaced that with yoga, which I enjoy much more.
So no lifting for about half a year.
The only way I work my upper body is yoga, and it is enough to maintain the muscles:



We have a warm and sunny October here, I enjoy every minute outside.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MONA791 10/13/2014 7:40AM

    emoticon emoticon

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EDENZMOM 10/13/2014 1:00AM

    Beautiful! You're doing something right!

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STRIVERONE 10/12/2014 10:59PM

    I may have to go that route eventually as thumb tendinitis is making working out with the kettlebells on a regular basis more difficult. I wanted to say something about your photo but couldn't find unambiguous words. So take this as a compliment.

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TEMPEST272002 10/12/2014 12:20PM

    I also admire that you've been able to find a workout that works & that you love. Your back is beautifully toned. It's a warm October here too & I'm also enjoying being outside.

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LESLIESENIOR 10/11/2014 2:51PM

    Oh, I couldn't agree more! I was unsuccessful at incorporating strength training on a regular until I began yoga for the first time 6 months ago. What a blessing!
As always, you motivate me!!!

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JANTHEBLONDE 10/11/2014 1:20PM

    That is wonderful you are maintaining your muscle mass through upper body yoga!
I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
Hugs and love,
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LIVINGLOVINLIFE 10/11/2014 11:42AM

    Good for you for finding a way to workout that you enjoy.

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NEW-CAZ 10/11/2014 11:20AM

    emoticon emoticon

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ROXYZMOM 10/11/2014 9:26AM

    Fantastic! You are maintaining muscle mass and distressing all at the same time!

emoticon namaste

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Mindfulness and lovingkindness meditation

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Mindfulness is a good place to be.
When I first read about it (here, in SP articles about mindful eating and walking) I thought "oh dear it sounds really boring, thinking all the time" and dismissed the idea.

Now, 3 years later, several books and many hours of practice later, I can see I got it totally wrong.
Mindfulness is not about thinking. It is about not thinking.
It is about staying in the present, paying attention to what is and what I am doing right now, and not thinking about things that are not there: past and future.
One can breath, walk, eat, wash the dishes or do any simple everyday activity mindfully.
Meditation, like focusing on how breathing in and out feels, helps to stay present, and - as one of my favorite books smartly puts it - helps to clear up the "thick fog of subconscious thinking", by creating a pause in the continuous flow of thinking (I searched my books for this quote but could not find it).
I try to remember this often during my day.

Three times a week I walk outside in the morning, about 20 minutes feeling how my body feels moving, how my steps touch the ground, what my eyes see, how the air feels on my face.
Another 20 minutes on the way back I practice a lovingkindness meditation, that I put together from the examples I read in books.
It is about sending loving thoughts to myself, to someone I like, to someone neutral, to someone I love, and someone I have a difficult relationship with.

This is how it goes:
"May I be peaceful any happy, may I live with ease
May I be safe and healthy, may I be safe from harm
May I be free from anger, anxiety and fear
My happiness depends on my own thoughts and actions, not on my loved ones - I don't blame them when I'm not happy
The happiness of my loved ones depends on their own thoughts and actions - I cannot make them happy - I accept and respect their life journey and I don't try to control them"

and then I repeat the first 3 lines for someone I like, for someone neutral, for someone I love, and for someone I have a difficult relationship with, adding actualities if there are any.

I have ran out of real people on the last category, so I send loving thoughts to incompetent and corrupt politicians ; )

Sometimes my mind is preoccupied and drifts away, but usually I manage to stay focused, and this practice is really uplifting.
Going through these good wishes, I almost always realize that right now, this morning I am safe, I am healthy, I am free from anger, anxiety or fear - and compared to this, the petty inconveniences of life don't really matter.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEMPEST272002 10/10/2014 1:06PM

    Love this! I walk every day, but usually my mind is on overdrive reviewing past, thinking about future. The only time I find that I'm entirely in the present moment is when I'm working with my horse, but I want to be more present, so I'm going to give this a go on my walk today. LOL on the politician comment.

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LESLIESENIOR 10/10/2014 1:05PM

    I love and affirm everything you have said in this beautifully composed blog. It is a practice worth committing to each day.
I feel outgoing love reading your words!!!

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KANOE10 10/10/2014 8:54AM

    You might like the book 10 percent Happier by d Harris. He talks about meditation and his journey. I admire you for the mindful walks and positive affirmations. I am trying to do the same thing. emoticon

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NEW-CAZ 10/10/2014 2:53AM

    beautiful blog, emoticon

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SETTIMIA 10/10/2014 12:41AM

    Beautiful blog from a beautiful lady. If I might add also mindfulness connects with gratitude. We have so much to be grateful for x

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JANTHEBLONDE 10/9/2014 9:09PM

    Wow! That's awesome you are doing mindfulness and lovingkindness meditation! Sounds absolutely beautiful! Wishing you a day full of lots of love and happiness!
Hugs and love,
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ROXYZMOM 10/9/2014 4:44PM

    I love this! I tend to use music to get to my happy place. I guess because I grew up with it all around me. And, another time that I - ironically - clear my mind, is when I clean!! This morning I was stressful at work, so I climbed the attic stairs and started cleaning it out!!

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EDENZMOM 10/9/2014 3:54PM

    That is just beautiful.
Like I've said before, one day i will get to be where you are.
I have had a lot of emotion the last couple of days... and trouble sleeping with too much floating around in my head. I think meditation will be good tonight for me :)

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