Tag Archives: joy

Connection, Intention, Manifestation

I have an internet addiction. So, the first step is admitting it right?

Problem is, I’ve admitted it many times before, but that alone hasn’t done much. Because changing habits takes conscious effort after the step of awareness. Like my running plan, I need to come up with a concrete program to follow, complete with a declaration and rewards. The internet definitely is not bad, and in fact it has been incredibly useful for tons of things, like reading about barefooting before buying my Vibram shoes… oh no, wait, that was probably time wasted. Because although now I feel like I know more about the benefits of barefooting, when my dad questioned me about the lack of arch support, I mumbled something about a New York Times article I had read about how shoes are ruining our feet, without actually knowing anything concrete about the matter. (And now, I spent ten minutes searching for the article and getting side tracked…. while writing about the evils of internet distractions… yes, it’s really time to set up a plan.)

On first thought, I had resistance to embarking upon a new challenge now since I’m leaving for my Europe backpacking trip in just a week. However, I think it’s actually worked out perfectly, because I have a much easier time following guidelines if it’s for a specific, predetermined amount of time. In this case it’s even better than that because I really can’t afford to waste time online in the next week as I tie up lose ends and prepare to leave.

So, what’s the challenge? I actually had an easy enough time doing a “digital detox” a month or two ago, but like most people, I can’t afford to completely cut the cord so close to my trip. I just felt my fingers itch to open up a tab and type “overcoming internet addiction” to find an idea. I’m so hard-wired to search online for everything now that I’m probably losing my creativity and capacity to think and read… so good, all the more reason to not to anything else, especially not online, until I come up with a challenge by myself, for myself.

I, Elizabeth Cooper, will practice mindfulness online during the next seven days by using a notebook to write down every task I am doing online, and only do that task. If I feel distracted (like I need to follow that link to that cool site to download that awesome podcast, for example) I will simply note, on paper, the desire, and come back to it in the future during a predetermined online “play time.” I will allow myself only a half hour of “play time” online each day for the next week – less if possible. This will include superfluous email, Facebook, blog reading, and surfing. Superfluous will be defined as anything not related to a specific task/question. I will use this method both at work and at home.

my altar

my altar, which I've set up to remind me of connection in various ways: painting on left - I made at SI - love and growth. candles - received from various important women in my life - sense of creating a sacred space. Mala beads - received during Kripalu yoga teacher training - yoga/meditation. Japanese postcard - received from a good friend - reminder of tranquility and my home. My best friend and I laughing - laughter and joy. A photo from my healing heart hands project, where I took photographs of SI students while leading them in a metta, or loving kindness meditation, for a good friend of mine - beauty and love.

Connection has kept coming up as something I’d like to create more of in my life – connection to life, spirit, others, self – and I have found that for me, that feeling of connection does not come from being online. In fact, being online drains me. Except right now, as I’m mindfully being online, completing this one task, using my brain to connect with my own thoughts, and hopefully others once this is posted.

To support myself in my intention of staying connected and calm this next week, I will renew my seven day meditation vow for the Hardcore Dharma Course:

I, Elizabeth Cooper, with confidence in the benefits of a regular practice of sitting meditation, do hereby commit, for myself and no one else, to practicing at least one session of sitting meditation, for as short or as long a period of time as I am willing and able, for each of the next seven days.

The homework and discussion about not multitasking, training our minds post-meditation, has been part of the inspiration for this post, as a reminder of what I already know. The folks taking the course over at the Interdpendence Project in New York just finished up about an hour and a half ago and some of them are probably hanging out right now. If you’re a Hardcore Dharma student, hi there! Can’t wait to listen to this week’s class. Which reminds me, I should go do the reading… (writing it down as my next task)…

Are you crazy?

Why yes, I am. Thank you.

My sister inquired about my sanity when I got home from a run at 11:05 PM tonight. Maybe for serious runners, or even not-so serious runners, running at night is perfectly normal. For me though, it’s been a shift in my life to even start running, so running at night never really came up as an option for whatever reason.

Last night, however, the hostess at the restaurant I work at went for an impromptu run on the beach after work with a couple of the server assistants. On my last legs of a 12 hour day, I couldn’t fathom going, and plus, I was still working, but their enthusiasm and action instilled the idea in me. Then, today was the very last day and run of the nine-week “Couch to 5K” running program I’ve committed myself to, and I didn’t have time to go before work because I slept in so late. I very nearly gave up on the planned run, thinking that maybe I could push run three of the last week to the next week. And, at the same time I had doubts, the combination of my own determination to finish the program and remembering my friends’ run yesterday gave me renewed strength and courage to try something new.

When I headed out towards the beach tonight after work, listening to Michael Franti, I felt joy bubbling up inside me. Knowing I was alone on the beach, making a conscious choice to live as I chose, I started allowing the joy to emerge in giggles and laughter.

the beach in the daylight. (Imagine it without all the blue, basically all black. Ok, so it's really not the same at all, but at least you can imagine the ground on which I trod. And I just really wanted to have at least one image to brighten up the post.)

The beach in the daylight. (Imagine it without all the blue, basically all black. Ok, so it's really not the same at all, but at least you can imagine the ground on which I trod. And I just really wanted to have at least one image to brighten up the post.)

I felt so present, so alive, so proud, to be outside under the stars, listening to music and breaking some of my mindsets – the big one of “Elizabeth doesn’t run” and the smaller one of “Elizabeth doesn’t run at night,” which I didn’t even know I had in the first place until I was presented with the option.

Some background on my relationship with running

I still regard finishing the cross-country season in sixth grade as one of my greatest accomplishments, because although I’ve accomplished a lot, I like what I do… except with cross country. I hated running, and I still kept with it, as a challenge. And back then I hadn’t yet developed my willful, souless dedication which has taken over my life a few times since then, so it was still a gentle, loving determination.

My next association with running was a few years later when I ran for supposed “health,” but really more to lose weight. That was unhealthy mentally, emotionally and physically, and so when I eased into a healthier relationship with myself and dropped my masochistic habits, running was among the first to go.

“Couch to 5K”

Now that I am in a much better relationship with myself, I’ve had it in the back of my mind to try running again for few years, but the time was never quite right. Then, suddenly, the time was right, and nine weeks ago I started the “Couch to 5K” running program, designed to ease “non-runners” into running. I like programs because they give me structure, and in addition to the structure that the program provided, which was wonderful, I set up rewards for myself, one every three weeks, and signed myself up for a 5K race – all to keep me motivated.

It worked, and despite all the self-doubt and mind blabber, I ran (and walked, as per the program) three times per week for the last nine weeks. It’s even started to be a time of joy, as I felt today (granted that joy is usually at the beginning, as I’m just leaving the house and going into nature, but still, it’s a start, and I’ve felt joy during the run too πŸ˜‰