Meditation Notes Week Ending 29 August 2015 – Steady now

Sunday, 23 August 2015

03:18

Week 3 of the reboot.

Small reunion of old friends yesterday from a time when I wasn’t that well. Lots of bad hash all week and alcohol each weekend. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence but I woke up sweating a lot, and much earlier than usual. Two-something. Sitting was very awkward, squirming on my cushion. I wasn’t consciously reliving any of those times but my body seemed to be. Was able to stick it out for 35 mins.

Monday, 24 August 2015

04:08

The now familiar routine but always subtly different. In order:

Lips pouting, then mouth stretched open, then intense piercings in the very edge of the lips, sort of like pins and needles but much sharper.

Right hand clawed, then flexed, culminating in white hot piercings in the finger tips and around the nails.

Stomach drawn in, up, tight, some digestive pains, mild.

Head shaking fast side to side.

Thoughts and emotions based on rejection, isolation, dependence on others to feel fully okay and validated. Then going through events of the previous day and recent days.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

06:45

Actually slept until 05:45! Not that long in total as I didn’t sleep until almost midnight. But longest for the last couple of weeks. Also sat for 43 minutes, about ten minutes more than the recent average.

Not easy. Pin point sharpness across tops of shoulders. Stiff aches in sides of neck. Grotty stabs in the lower digestive tubes. Tummy tightly pulled in. Some head shaking. Some arching forward while the belly was contracted for long periods.

Are these underlying sensations and tensions in the body what makes the mind so flighty? It is clear that I don’t want to go near them, to feel them more fully. Well, the curious meditative aspect does want to, but habitually I don’t want to. The trails lead in the other direction, well trodden and smoothed. It’s seemingly easier to flee. And maybe that is what I’m doing most of the time. Using lots of energy in: away away away! Staying gently in the vicinity is less energy consuming and leads to other possible destinations than the well trodden paths.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

06:23

Signs that the body is settling down, two and a half weeks in. No great movements; the head was shaking rapidly side to side at times, but short lived; some arching forward. But mainly, and for a full 45 minutes, sitting still, erect, relatively at peace.

With the body more stable, attention turns to the mind. And it’s clear there’s not a lot of stillness there. That’s okay. I would touch upon an area of the body and thoughts zoom away. Subject to subject, idea to idea, fear to fear. But not obsessing, just doing what it’s been able to do these 44 years. It knows little else. Underneath or over the top, not sure which, and probably neither, there’s a sense of growing stability beyond the flighty thoughts. I am refusing to control thought and get into that game. Anyway, the me who wants to control would be a part of the same flighty thought pattern. No, meditation seems to be nothing to do with me as such. Or at least nothing for me to do.

During the day, glimpses returning of a core self, kind of saying ‘hello once again, I’m still here waiting, all is well.’

Thursday, 27 August 2015

07:07

Yes, definitely calming down. Body wise, it was token gestures today: a minor lip pout towards the end, a little head shaking and some initial belly tucking.

Mind wise, very active, which is totally fine. To push for a quiet mind is not meditation. Moments come when there really is nothing to think about, and the space and stillness that present themselves are unrelated to what’s gone before. Whereas the train of thought and feeling seems to be always related to that which was previous.

In stillness or relative stillness, an energy then can do what it needs to do, wants to do, or naturally does. This is most apparent in the spine. I can feel the energy meet resistances in the body and mind, and the impact of energy meeting stuckness causes the jumping shaking body movements of the last weeks. If there’s no resistances it rushes and embraces in entirely its own way, resulting in blisses and tingles and who knows what.

My nights are steadier too, sleeping through to around six today. Quite different to earlier week’s three or four. And less tired on finishing a session. More than ‘less tired’ – energised. Although it is nice to have a good lie down a while. Further integration.

Friday, 28 August 2015

05:17

More awkward again today. The wheat from yesterday’s lunch? The old mushrooms of yesterday’s supper? But was able to stay with the body, after some initial daydreaming at 4-something in the morning. First light of dawn now as I write.

Lips pressing forward, upper jaw a bit tight. Right palm tense. A general instability throughout.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

07:11

Three weeks into the reboot and today I touched upon mediation. Or rather, mediation occurred. It’s at once foreign and familiar. Not something that can be remembered in the unusual way, and when it’s going on it’s both brand new and very ancient.

Breath was naturally deep and fluid, with some slight purposeful lengthening for the first minutes. I then began to move over the body, at first swiftly and haphazardly as was the state of my mind; despite just resting in sleep it was scattered and diverted.

After a few trips downs and ups from head to feet and back again and back again, more connection was felt to sensation and, again naturally, attention lingered and moved more slowly. As this happened the scatteredness of thought started to decline, the web of thought tightening like a net being gathered in. I don’t know if there was a gatherer; it just happened as the disparity became obvious.

More connection with body more attention of mind. I lingered on obvious sensation in shoulders, right hand. Head shaking came out of the blue and was intense and sudden and freer, and stopped as suddenly as it started.

Some tingles and bliss and, at last, rest.

Meditation Notes Week Ending 22 August 2015 – All weather meditation

Sunday, 16 August 2015

05:37

So, I’ve been a fair weather meditator. Or a fair month meditator. Doing it for a while until things got too much in my life or inwardly, then taking the option of meditating lying down, or doing yoga nidra instead. Both are better than nothing and allowed some continuity. But it’s not the same. And now here I am feeling frustrated outwardly and the temptation is to skip it, to stay in bed. But one week in, I am continuing come what may, even if for only half an hour like this morning.

Remembering the guidance of awareness AND equanimity. I’ve been under the other guidance of doing nothing to what is and so exploring some kind of pure awareness. Trouble is my ‘pure awareness’ isn’t pure but riddled with pushes and wants and dislikes subtle and not so subtle. So I’m learning there is something to bring, and this really calmed things down when feeling the neck for example, and I was able to go deeper quicker and more steadily and with much less flitting about of the mind.

Monday, 17 August 2015

05:17

Mind racing and stimulated after conversations last night until midnight. This racing of the mind didn’t stop the body continuing whatever it is it’s doing. Head shaking rapidly. Right arm stiffened. Right hand flexed seemingly more than I can flex it myself. Tummy in and up tight back towards the spine. Not all these things at once and this is probably the order they occurred. Again the early morning waking, even when sleeping late. I certainly need less sleep these days.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

05:38

All the sensations of the last week turned up to 11. But each for a shorter duration. And the addition of a new one, in the chest. Much of the 45 minutes I was bent forward, tummy pulled in, chest compressed, tight. Then coughing. As I’ve said many times, it’s not me doing these things in the usual volitional way but the body itself. All I’m doing is bringing attention to that place, somewhat systematically, as evenly as possible. And even if not bringing attention to that place, it’s happening. Ended the session in the right lower jaw where teeth meet bone and gum. This arose as I travelled back up across the face.

05:44 now, so a little later today, and also sleeping at 10-something not like the previous night’s gone midnight. Now I have some time for rest until needing to get up around 08:30.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

05:29

I hurt a friend by not telling them something as I didn’t want to face the consequences of possible anger and violence if I told them. Of course they now know anyway and so now there’s the anger along with the disappointment and mistrust stemming from my keeping it quiet.

The difference is that when something major was going on I would quit the sitting and the yoga until it had calmed down . This time I am continuing whatever.  This is really new territory for me.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

06:02

It’s hard to know I’ve disappointed someone; someone who already seems to have a mistrust in most of mankind. I’ve probably confirmed this and now join the 95% of people he hates. And because of a cowardly non-action. This was my mind as I sat quietly with the lightening sky. The first bird song was around 05:45. Neck quite tenses, and shoulders. Right leg unhooked itself from cross legged. So, I’m learning to forgive myself and learning that not everybody has to like me. I have led a pretty quiet life this last decade and so it hasn’t been hard not to upset anyone. I guess issues like this is why mediation is so unappealing to many. The notion of sitting quietly with one’s own self in all its forms can be horrifying. It might be possible to neutralise this horror, or feel it fully.

Friday, 21 August 2015

06:03

There really is no stopping it. My body is alive and has movement and action independent of me. But of course! After all I don’t know how to covert glucose to whatever the body converts glucose into. But I mean the parts I normally have the say over, like when to move my arm and how. But no, the right arm hangs free with its partner, the less kinetic left, and within moments it is off on its shaking gripping twisting adventure. The lips too and all around the mouth, grinning grimacing pouting, generally contorting left right and centre. Tummy too, pulling right back at the naval and up under the ribs. I don’t try to stop it. I know I could if I HAD to, like in an emergency, but whilst sitting quietly there is no need to get involved. And today playing with how little I can be involved and the less I am, i.e. the more the mind was still, the freer the body was to do its thing. I do wonder when it will stop; this is nearly two weeks into my sitting reboot, so that’s at least 8 hours worth. I suspect, hope, it’s not just undoing stuff from the previous 24 hours but is releasing older and older holdings and knots. That’s what it feels like.

The relationship issues of the last couple of days have faded.

Awoke with the last call of the owl as the dawn came; somewhere around six I heard the first bird song.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

05:44

The end of week two. My sense of progress would like things to be changing, to be able to sit without all the body stuff going on. It will change and for sure it is changing, just in ways the impatient sensor of progress can’t feel, and it’s changing in its own tune, not mine.

Systematically I went from head to feet and each part had its own tale to tell, and even while that part told it, other parts clamoured for attention: neck, lips, belly.

Awoke around five, slept around eleven. Yesterday I practised some yin yoga for the first time. It really suited me. It was mainly about the hips and hamstrings this sequence, so not as total as the Sivananda but certainly less next next next. I don’t have to do the practice the way it’s done in the recording, I could do it at a slower pace. But good to mix it up and the yin yoga seems great for when I’m caught up in a kind of post-work hyper mode.

As we move into late August sunrise is now after six.

Meditation Notes Week Ending 15 Aug 2015 – Starting Again (Again)

Back to the mat after a long period (a few months?) of yoga nidra instead of vipassana body scan meditation. Here’s some of something like what happened:

 

Sunday, 9 August 2015

05:23

One at a time:

Head shaking immediately on sitting.

Hands flexed, tingly tightness all over.

Shoulders hunched.

Head wanting to look right.

Mind reeling through yesterday’s party, a lower upper class, upper middle class BBQ at the cricket pitch; neighbour’s birthday.

Lasted for 42 minutes of the 45 set. The sitting that is; the party two hours, which was too long into the awkward arrival stage and too short before people really started to enjoy. Also very hot. Feel a bit of a satellite circling around society but not central to anything. And now I’ve even moved from the community at BP. Where actually I was also a satellite. I guess a lot of people like me have a more outgoing partner and that kind of balances out, but C is also a satellite which can make us even more aloof detached socially outcast happy in our own space. Actually did have another offer yesterday, a sea paddle in Dorset with an old friend. That would have been far preferable but I thought I should do the proper thing and c wouldn’t have liked to have gone alone. Ah, the unsatisfactory compromises!

It’s now gone 0530 having woken at 0430. Maybe sleep till 0800…

 

Monday, 10 August 2015

04:56

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the idea of progress and lack of it, assessing how one is doing in mind and body. Why does that still ache, why am I still thinking about this, I thought I was over that by now, I’m more peaceful than I was, stronger, wiser. And so it goes, the game of comparison. And not just in oneself, but with those around.

It’s not a competition, there’s nothing to win. There is a movement away and towards but it doesn’t need to be assessed.

Sivananda yoga session every other evening and now I’m back to the mat in the mornings, 45 mins is the set time. The last two mornings it’s been very early, pre dawn and then going back to bed with earplugs and face mask, which I’m about to do as c will be getting up at six.

In touch with a good old friend first time since the 90s, who was there when I was making the big changes from married with a flat to hedonism to a more spiritual life. Woke up to a whole string of messages from him. Seems he’s taking the opportunity to reflect, as I shall do. Without the assessment, or too much of it.

Palms still tight, stretching out. Lips super pouting in yoga yesterday. Shoulders undoing. Neck too. I hear the first call of a bird, at 5:05.

 

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

05:39

The body knows what to do once I get out of the way or put it in a position or place where it has space. Within minutes the lips in a mega pout. Then the neck arching forward. The right hand shaking. Then below the jaws, and back along the right lower jaw to the wisdom teeth, deep aches. Touching upon them and staying with it until the body moves on, and when no apparent sensations, scanning through from head to feet and feet to head. Then the palms and fingers, extended fully and opening out to their max. Then the abdomen pulling in tight. Then the shoulders. Lower back. Legs passive but feet tight too. Ended in an arm stretch, up up; didn’t choose it, just happened. I can readily see why they say the yoga postures came from those sitting in meditation. The body really does know what to do. At some point in the sitting the edginess of the mind could undo too.

 

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

04:57

It’s getting quite specific where the body wants to tense up then release, today including the webbing between each finger, one at a time. Right hand of course. Another time the entire hand spasticated. Points in the neck. Shaking. Once again, first to go were the lips, immediately on sitting, like the body just knows. All of which means this week there has been very little inquiry into mind thought emotion and the psychology of meditation and of self. But my organism at 44 is well as it has ever been. I can feel it in my day, in my walk, in my presence. And in going about the day, the mind is less troubled, caught, frightened.

 

Thursday, 13 August 2015

05:22

Five days of this now, the tensing up and sheer awkwardness in much of the body. The result of not sitting for a month or months?

Woke from twisted dreams of very sick people on chat shows, a couple even eating on camera, as their problems were thrashed out, pale fatty skin dripping off them, hardly able to storm off stage as their bodies didn’t do ‘storm’. Again, four-something when I awoke. It feels like I need some days off for complete rest. Perhaps alone.

 

Friday, 14 August 2015

06:34

The further I went from the head, down towards the feet, the less my mind fretted and demanded and fantasised. Woke with frustrations, envies, stickiness, desires. As I moved consciously from part to part – no vague scanning today – all on its own the brain calmed down, desires dropping away. There may be nothing to do but sense. The doing of the mind or thought seems to be of the very same nature as what it is trying to fix.

Such agonies and awkwardness riddled in the muscles, skin, nerves, even the very bones. But I sit and I sense and there it is, how I am right now, the reality of the situation. The modifications of the mind seem to be an attempt at a response to this body and its sensations. An inadequate response. By sitting quietly and sensing, an adequate response is emerging.

 

Saturday, 15 August 2015

06:34

Best to stick to every day. I’ve gotten confused with notions of a day off before. One day off and then it’s very easy to say ‘how about another?’ So I think that’s a week completed now. It’s getting less arduous in terms of the body. Right hand is still flexing, extending, then becoming a fist. Neck is still tight, along with shoulders. Head shaking for a while every session. Also, stick with the sitting instead of lying down. Which is easier, but is just not the same. And a day or two of lying down instead can easily turn into weeks, months.

Meditation Notes Week Ending 2 May 2015 – New meditation cushion and the best meditation timer app

27 May 2015

Energy coursing upwards once the thoughts get out of the way. I kind of wake up with the sensation I which was aware of through layers of thought, and now it’s a direct connection. Then the energy is freer and as it moves it meets the actuality of the organism, resulting in awareness of bliss, tingles, tensions, constrictions, and great pleasurable feelings from the pelvic floor spreading upwards.

 

28 May 2015

New cushion much more supportive. Firm yet not hard. This is the one I bought, highly recommended.

It takes me the best part of an hour to move steadily from head to feet. Then at the end there’s a much quicker, looser, smoother journey back to the top of the head, then time to spend a minute or two in the areas of most obvious sensation before the bell rings. I use Zen Friend to clock the hour. Again, recommended as perhaps the best meditation timer app out there.
Today’s major sensation was behind the eyes and deep in the back of the thighs towards the buttocks. That ancient nervy feeling there, somewhat sciatic. I could easily notice the increasing strength of the body to sit well, from four straight days of yoga, an hour each evening before eating.
Woke naturally with the light just before six and it seems natural to go to the cushion. The fear of doing so seems temporarily or permanently to have dissipated. I relish the connection and validity of this practice.

Meditation Notes Week Ending 25 April 2015 – Using energy in a different way. A deep reset.

21 April

To be able to use the manic ‘browse internet for hours’ energy that’s scattered into one hundred things, to be able to use that energy to observe the body, and feel the very same energy in the body. Left to its own (conditioned) devices it is shooting up into the head and creating so very many thoughts. With the moving of attention from part to part with a neutral attitude towards sensation and thought, somehow the energy transforms, each part felt as near to its actuality as is possible. And in each area it is seen that the attention is one or more steps removed and in this seeing this removedness can naturally undo. And then there is connection, immediacy, actuality, without modification by the mind, and the sensation felt in the area undergoes a change, no longer what I thought it was but more like what it is. So within the hour spent attending to the body, the manic energy transforms to a more total, directed energy, without any control as such and certainly without any force. Really interesting and valid ‘work’, this.

 

22 April

Goenka Vipassana Meditation is a reset, perhaps even more than a night’s sleep in terms of letting the brain rest. Quite clever really, there’s no mention of thought in this technique of awareness of sensation. Naturally thought realises its place, that it isn’t really needed at the moment. Naturally thought goes through it’s loops, even small dreams. Come out the other side of these and thought is naturally spent. No effort to control thought needed. No criticism of thought (by thought) needed. Just a small effort to actually do it, to sit or lie down and move attention over the body. I like minimal.

 

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge – Day 29

Today I made Day 30’s and tomorrow I’ll make Day 28th’s – mixing it around mainly because I didn’t want another cucumber and celery combo today. So, today’s was the Liver Detox Smoothie: Cranberries, mango, cucumber, kale, ginger, cinnamon and almond milk. Another good one. I should have gave them star ratings so I can easily see what my favourites were over the days. Well, here it is, with my ailing potted herbs behind:

Liver detox smoothie

Alarm went at 0620, too early and I slumbered an hour before getting up for meditation. This was the highlight of my day, even though it was tough. Me and my body and its pains and my learning  about my reactions to the pains and sensation, the mind quietening all the while and learning about division, or the reality of division, between me and what I feel. Such a simple and genuine and healing activity. I wish I’d dared do it years ago. Better late than never, as they say. This evening was Iyengar yoga class over near Winchester. Twists standing, lying and seated, with the trademark Iyengar precision and care even whilst working strongly. A cold winter’s day, bright sun, and minus 4C on the drive home. Merino was worn all day, including in class.

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge – Day 28

Whups. I guess I got bored of photographing and blogging smoothies, so I missed a lot of days here. But I did have a smoothie every morning, and sometimes in the evening too, and I’m still in love with them. So I have reached Day 28! It isn’t the app Day 28 because I went back to a recipe I missed earlier, the Apple Basil Inflammation Buster, no less. Pretty good, although quite summery for the middle of winter, with it’s apple, basil, almond milk, cucumber and celery. Here it is post blend:

apple basil inflammation buster smoothie

Kept me going easily until lunch though, which is now back to its rather late 1330 term time.

Meditation one hour in bed. Not the same but warm! Yoga one hour after work, then twenty minutes sitting. Body and mind feeling good. Feeling like I need quite a lot of rest, and I suspect we try to do too much when thinking we have the same energy in the winter as in the summer. Semi-hibernation would be so sweet…

Peace

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge – Day 21 & 22

We are into our annual staff week and so I have had less time to post what smoothies I’ve been having. Yesterday was the Dark Blueberry Booster. Ingredients are: blueberries, blackberries (replaced with frozen summer fruits), kale (replaced with chard), coriander and almond milk (replaced with rice milk). Looking deep and mysterious: Dark blueberry smoothie I drank it during a clean out of hundreds of Krishnamurti video tapes and the centre library. We kept the English ones to give away in the bookshop and I chucked out four bin bags full of dubbed ones, a format just too out of date now. Everything will be included in a searchable, browsable digital video library instead. Of course, in the meantime we had the DVD and preliminary media players, but the new system is much more user friendly. This is at the Krishnamurti Centre in Hampshire. Today I made the Simple Mango and Greens smoothie: mango (frozen), lettuce, ginger (first time in a while), hemp seeds, coconut water. Mango & greens smoothie Very good! Drank it during setting up the sitting room for a video showing, using the centre’s new 50-inch TV. I’ve been so clear-headed during this year’s staff week compared to any of the last decade. The smoothies, sitting, and regular yoga are really working wonders. I’m moving beyond my known realms of health into, for me, uncharted territory. I don’t know where it will lead. We can experiment with these things and others can somewhat guide the way, at least in bodily health, but it’s our own life which changes and there is no blueprint for that. It’s tremendously enlivening. We’ve been dialoguing in the afternoons, discussing ‘freedom is at the beginning not at the end’ which points to the crux of where Krishnamurti differs from nearly all other spiritual disciplines, practices or philosophies. There’s nothing to get. The statement puts one in a beautiful bind: I am not free and freedom is not something to work towards. It means the next action must be in freedom or not at all, more of the same. It was a lively discussion as minds grappled with something you just can’t think about. Today’s dialogue was about the limits of knowledge, where thought has its right place and where it is an impediment. In the mornings we’ve been watching 1970s discussions with staff at the school in Ojai. But I prefer a good public talk where Krishnamurti can unfold the new at his own pace, without the interjections of those guessing and theorising. Good stuff! Probably not a typical staff week. And not a bonding session in sight. Peace

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge – Day 20

I’m finding that any smoothie including pineapple is going to be sumptuous and scrumptious. Today’s was the Kiwi Pineapple Vitamin C Booster: the obvious, plus celery and parsley and the now obligatory coconut water. Delicious, with a nice parsley and celery kick.

kiwi pineapple smoothie

 

The plant pot teapot in the background of a lot of these smoothie pictures was made by my friend Samuele. He makes one-off pots and pottery and here’s his website.

After a quiet day in the office, a yoga session. I’ve returned for the moment to a favourite sequence of mine, what I call ‘New Zealand Yoga’. It was made a few years ago and used to be a DVD but is now online here. I don’t need to look so I extracted the audio and just play it through my iPhone, and have edited out the intro, starting the practice at 0:03:45:

It has unintentionally hilarious stilted and stiff presentation by Greg & Al, but is very informative for each pose and the sequence is very good. At one point, preparing for locust pose: ‘the guys will have to adjust the placement of their tackle to a position that is comfortable,’ and ‘congratulations, you have reached the relaxation.’ I also don’t find the voices annoying, like I do in so many yoga videos.

Peace

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge – Day 19

After a couple of days of spinach-based improvisations I am back on-piste, having been to the supermarket to get the next five day’s worth of ingredients. Today’s (this evening’s) was the magnificent Berry Supreme:

berry supreme smoothie

What’s in it? Berries, rasp and blue. Supposed to be pok choy but they had none, so it has lots of romaine lettuce, some coconut water and some almond butter (supposed to be tahini if I could remember to get).

So, that’s 19 and a few days of smoothies for breakfast and I am still enjoying it. I’m feeling healthier, all in all, more balanced, more stable somehow, and certainly clearer-headed. I haven’t lost any weight but that wasn’t the plan. I shouldn’t as I’m already 5’11” and only 10.5 stone. I’ve been the same weight for about 20 years. Well, I’m quarter of a stone more than a few years ago so that’s good. So weight loss isn’t a thing for me, it’s about nutrition, more of the green stuffs, more food in it’s natural food (although blended to high heaven) and to have a variety of breakfasts instead of the usual cornflakes (Doves sugar-free, honey granola (Dorset cereals) and grapefruit juice (pink), which I was having for more than a year. I’ve sometimes been having one for supper too. For sure I’m going to contnue way beyond the 30 days of the challenge.

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge – Day 18

Today’s smoothie was the Strawberry Orange Iron Booster. Here’s the pre-blended ingredients, with spinach, hemps seeds and coconut water in addition to the obvious:

P1020437

In the mix:

P1020438

The delicious result:

P1020439

 

This was definitely one of my favourites. Unlike the other two times, I didn’t substitute strawberries for something else, opting for Moroccan strawberries at £2 for like ten of them. A bit concerning how they didn’t seem to perish in the slightest. We’ll let that slide. Apparently, having vitamin C foods together with foods containing iron, it increases the body’s ability to absorb the mineral.

Today was the last day of my mini-kind-of-retreat since new year’s eve, choosing to start the year alone. I don’t think I realise at the time how deeply I’m working with the meditation and yoga when there’s no one else around to pull me out in between. A bit like when a ten day meditation retreat is on its last day and everyone can talk again, and so we think we’re back to normal, not realising how deeply we’re still working.

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge – Day 17

Behold: the Pineapple Mango Digestion Soother:

day 17

I held back on the coconut water to create this gloopy agaesque chlorophyl-tastic masterpiece. The green comes from the kale and the only other ingredient but for those in its title is ginger.

Went for a walk along the Itchen from Martyr Worthy, through Easton, and under then back under the M3, in glorious winter sunshine. Here’s the church at Martyr Worthy:

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge – Day 15 & 16

New Year’s Eve’s smoothie was the Peach Cobbler: Peaches, lettuce, ginger, cinnamon, hemp seeds and almond milk. Pretty good, mild in taste and appearance, aided by the party straw:

Peach and lettuce smoothie

Today’s was the Digestion Cleanser: Blueberries, pear, lettuce, ginger and coconut water. I used frozen blueberries which weren’t bad at all. Perhaps more of a watery result than fresh ones. Look at this dark, mysterious beauty, quite the contrast to yesterday’s:

Blueberry and lettuce smoothie

 

A quiet and restful New Year’s Day. What better way to start the year? Slept as long as I needed, meditated an hour, made smoothie breakfast, leisurely drank it over about 45 minutes, listened to music (Ghostface Killah), had a snooze, then stir fry and rice for lunch, watched Graham Norton recorded from last night, got some logs in (my only step outside on this wet and windy day), browsed a bit, another hour’s snooze, then an hour’s yoga, twenty min evening meditation, then posted this. Tomorrow, perhaps surfing. A healthy and wholesome new year to everyone!

 

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge – Day 14c

Another make my own smoothie day, but I have now been to the ‘super’ market so normal service resumes tomorrow. Today I used: pok choy, banana, orange, a little almond butter, hemp seeds, coconut water, mint and parsley. Just whacked it all in the NutriBullet and as usual it tasted great.

pok choy smoothie

 

Check out the super frosty morning outside – nice!

It’s like I’m getting a head start on the new year, with over two weeks of breakfast green smoothies under my belt and in my veins and cells and whatnot. And lots of flowing yoga, full breathing, reaching gently, touching all parts. Stronger and looser. And an hour and twenty minutes of meditation every day for months now, even if for the most part lying down, centring and understanding the mind. Come the new year I’ll not lie down but make that initial minimal effort to sit. I actually want to do these things, having finally found practices I like and daring a bit to work through the awkward feelings that can come as things get uncovered in yoga and sitting.

This eve’s meditation, after yoga, noticing all attempts at direction or doing, getting subtler and subtler. Then like a gnarly area of tension in the brain and it being gently bundled and carried away someplace, without my doing. Fighting anything does not work, nor resistance. A sense of burning away of the unnecessary very apparent.
Got my new wetsuit. After disappointing results with a zip free Rip Curl I sold it and bought an Xcel Infiniti 5/4 2015:
Xcel Infiniti 2015
It’s a medium tall and fits very well. Looser under the armpits than I’m used to but nothing to worry about. Really soft neoprene, very secure chest zip system, and the lining is something else with its Thermo Dry Celliant technology and infra red print:
Xcel Infiniti 2015 Lining
I can’t wait to try it out! Maybe there’ll be some channel swell over new years, otherwise it’s waiting for a spring trip or perhaps Morocco.

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge – Day 14b

Ah, well, umm, didn’t have the ingredients I needed for today’s smoothie, so am improvising. For a couple of mornings, until I can get to the shop tomorrow evening. So, using up leftovers from previously, I made a pineapple, lettuce, hemp seed and almond butter smoothie, with a little coconut water. My first concoction and a delicious success! Can’t really go wrong I reckon. Here is the pale beauty:

Pineapple and lettuce smoothie

The now-usual clear headedness all morning. The little nut butter kept any hunger at bay.

Back to the yoga this evening after not doing any over Christmas. A great after work work out with the Strala ENERGISE routine. Then twenty minutes of mediation, returning fully to centre, ready for the eve – watching What We Do In The Shadows with some friends.

Lunch was rice and chilli beans and supper was baked potatoes and baked beans. The only sugar-free baked beans I’ve found are the Whole Earth organic. Why is sugar in almost everything shop-bought? I can handle fructose and honey no problem but refined sugar sends me loopy a while, then crashing big time for a day or two, achy muscles and lethargy, pale skin. So I learnt quite a while ago just to ignore anything with refined sugar.

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge – Day 14

Such a good one today: the Calcium Booster. It contained: oranges, banana, kale, tahini and almond milk. I didn’t have the last two ingredients, so substituted almond butter and rice milk. Nut butter in a smoothie is a revelation! Highly recommended, especially if you want the full feeling to last a while or need a bit of a calorific boost. It also looked a treat:

Calcium booster kale smoothie

So, I’m two weeks in, going strong. It doesn’t feel like a ‘challenge’ at all and I look forward to breakfast every day. Even in the cold winter, I don’t fancy anything else for breakfast. A reminder that I’m following the challenge from the Young and Raw app, which seems to vary from the one on their website, for some reason. It’s giving me a lot of ideas from when the challenge is over, and I’ll probably settle into a dozen or so of my favourites.

 

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge – Day 13

Today’s smoothie was the Strawberry Creamsicle. I’m not sure what a creamsicle is but the ingredients for the smoothie are: strawberries, orange, celery, cucumber, hemp seeds and coconut milk. I didn’t have any strawberries so I used frozen raspberries. I didn’t have any coconut milk so I used (again, vegans look the other way) organic whole milk and a little coconut water. So mine was much changed from what it should be. I didn’t taste the raspberries beforehand but I suspect they were rather weak in flavour, as the smoothie lack punch, kind of watery despite the milk. Well, it was okay, just not great. It looked smashing though: Raspberry smoothie This was at 10am as I’d been up at 0245 to give C a lift to Heathrow. Here’s my facebook status once I got back in around 0600: Up before three, drive into the morning over and around fallen wood, no one on the road until the bread lorries of the motorway. Hovis. Taking the racing line, the road is mine, to the shining airport. A fond, loving farewell after check-in, tears my side, nearly always my side. Then back three hours after leaving, the homes still sleeping and the greengrocer in town setting up for his Saturday as I drift gently back to sleep.

Later I went into Winchester on the bus, having walked into town from Old Alresford. I used my Narrative Clip and here’s a selection. I’m not sure I’m going to keep that gadget long. As for the NutriBullet, for sure I’m keeping it as it’s doing me the world of good. 2015 I intend to spend my money only on those things that allow for wellness.

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge – Day 12

Behold the Apple Pie Smoothie:

Apple Pie Smoothie

 

It tasted as good as it looks and sounds. Apple, banana, kale, cinnamon, ginger and almond milk. Vegans look away now: I replaced the almond milk with organic whole cows milk. It made a really filling and nutritious breakfast, boosting my levels of acetylcholine and flavonoids.

A bit of a hangover day from the Christmas foods, but the usual familiar sluggish feeling has been kept at arms length by these healthy smoothie breakfasts.

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge – Day 11

The Christmas Day smoothie was the mighty Kiwi Omega Booster, which consisted of a delicious blend of, yes, kiwi, with spinach, cucumber, coriander (forgot to put it in) and hemp seeds (making the other part of the name). It was very good, may have been even better with the coriander.

Kiwi Omega Booster

So, not so very Christmassy but a very good way to start the day, having been up until 0200 for the midnight mass, and also to cure the headache from my first caffeine a few years, one cup of green tea. Was truly buzzing on that in the church last night. While waiting for the service I meditated for a while. The vibes were pretty good. Interesting to observe the Christian rituals of my youth once again. The best bits were the singing and the sermon, during which distance and division between me and the vicar seemed to vanish and there was a pure listening. The petitioning prayers I think we can all do without. We may go again.

The actinidain in the kiwi will help my body digest protein molecules. Good because I have been having more than usual, given the Christmas fare.

30 Day Green Smoothie Challenge – Day 10

The Tropical Vitamin Booster was great! Pineapple, mango, lettuce, lime. I didn’t need to add any liquid thanks to the juicy fruits and I like my smoothies thick.

Tropical Vitamin Booster Smoothie

I had to take my time drinking it, so rich it was. Usually I take about 45 minutes. Today I took it with me when we went to get a few last minute Christmas things in town, and wandered round The Long Barn shop sipping it through my straw. The small town Christmas feeling was homely and spirits high, and we got a good walk from where we parked. Swedish style, we had our Christmas dinner today, on Christmas eve, and opened a present each, the rest will be British style in the morning. Tonight we’re going to midnight mass at Portchester Castle’s church, near my brother’s.

Merry Christmas everyone! Peace.