Archive for the ‘jamie’s meditation journey’ Category

At the moment, I have my Blackberry by my side, my computer on my lap with 6 tabs open to sites such as Facebook, Gmail, Pandora where I’m listening to James Taylor.  (Maybe the James Taylor part balances it all out?)  Today is the day when I say adios to all of these distractions.  VIPASSANA!

I’ve been thinking about Blue who is hitting her hump day right about now there at Vipassana.  I can feel her zen power and I am smiling.  She had sent me a funny text about being a bit nervous the day before she left.  I sent the same to my to Olia and Zak – my two Vipassana friend veterans.  Preparing for peace is tricky.  Thank goodness they give you a checklist for what to bring.  I’m usually a light packer, but my suitcase is stuffed.  Ten days is a long time with no laundry facilities available.  I don’t mind wearing things over and over again, but I also don’t want to be chilly because that would be a distraction.  I’m opting out of bringing an alarm clock.  I know that they have bells, and I will be relying on those and my body to wake me up.  Mornings are a challenge for me… let alone 4 AM!  But, I will be earnest in my pursuit of peace…

How am I feeling today?  I’m feeling positive and strong today.  My expectations are very simple.  Expect a challenge like I’ve never had before.  My intention is to really learn the technique.  That’s it.  I must admit I’m extremely curious to see how I will react in such a regimented schedule.  I have no idea.  A large part of me believes I will love it.  I’m the Bikram Yoga lover for the sheer fact that I am locked in that room and forced to stick it out.  That’s my idea of Vipassana… There is no way out, so deal with it.  Go head, find peace!  Then again, I can see myself feeling tortured, too.  Either way is what it is.  I will report back my findings after May 15th! This is an adventure, an experience like no other.  I could use a little suffering, a little 4 AM, a little butt discomfort, a little hunger, if that’s what it takes to achieve a lifelong tool to know what peace feels like.  I know that peace is within, ready for me to grasp.  The challenge in life is to eliminate those distractions.  I have my list of things to do, just like Blue.  I find myself walking in circles in my apartment sometimes because guess what?  There’s a list on my computer AND there’s a list in my head at all times.  I strive for efficiency, but in truth, it’s all inefficient if it zaps my energy levels.

I will know myself more deeply after this experience.  It’s all about observation… and breath… that’s all it’s about… Oh, observation and breath and silence, that’s all… wait, and, deep focus… Okay, observation, breath, silence, deep focus, that’s all it’s about.  And, discipline!  Observation, breath, silence, deep focus and discipline… Wisdom wouldn’t hurt either… Okay, okay, so observation, breath, silence, deep focus, discipline and wisdom.  Got it?  Check!

Oh boy!


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Watch out for a guest post from Jamie, too… matthewbrownjackson. She’s also preparing for a 10-day vipassana course!

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I started with Matthew Brown Jackson, and I’ll end with Matthew Brown Jackson.  On my 40th day of meditating, Matthew, my beautiful furry friend, climbed onto my lap just as I was counting my blessings and thinking of who loves me.  🙂  An easy smile played on my face as I saw, heard and felt this animal buddy.  I saw all of my animal friends in my mind’s eye. ( I am Snow White, after all.  Tee-hee)  I feel very blessed with my experiences communing with these non-human creatures… They are teachers for us and joy bringers.

So this is my final day, and this meditation experiment has broken open many parts of me.  I have had challenges with this practice.  Sometimes, the distractions and the noise in my mind have won me over.  Other times, I’ve felt refreshed and more in tune than ever.  Once, I made myself laugh out loud for a few minutes when I thought of what makes me happy… See, I even have running inside jokes with myself about this meditation.  For example, this meditation is supposed to be structured for people who wish to lose weight.  It gets you in touch with yourself so much that you make better choices.  Well… that wasn’t my aim, but the funny thing is, every time (almost) I asked the question, “What makes me happy?”  The first thought was, “Ice cream!”  Ha, ha.  So, this one time, instead of ice cream, my mind shouted, “Cookies!” and I cracked up laughing.  The word happy makes me think rainbows, happy meals, puppy dogs chasing after bright orange balls… I don’t know.  Words.  Words can be a challenge on their own, as they bring different images to everyone.  Sometimes words, spelled out clearly as if typed, would come to me.  Sometimes, just images.

I have grown from this exercise, and I encourage everyone to try something they’ve been yearning to try… or even just thought of trying.  What can it hurt?  Nothing!  It’s hurts NOTHING and NO ONE to try.  🙂  This simple meditation practice for me has led me to sign up for Vipassana meditation in May.  That is a bit more intense, but the foundation has been laid inside of me.  I’ve been practicing, and that’s got to count for something.  I’ve been slowly cracking open the backstage door to my soul.

My deepest gratitude goes to Blue for creating this AWESOME website.  I’ve been telling all of my friends about it.  Blue is making a difference whether she knows it or not…  Thank God for leaders… That’s you, Blue!

Peace out.

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Yesterday blossomed a beautiful meditation out of what has seemed to be a sea of dead roses.  I want to share!

I made an important discovery.  It’s very simple really… listen.  That’s it.  Listen.  It’s a gorgeous word and concept.  Yesterday, I listened to myself whole-heartedly.  I was a good friend to myself.  I took time out and sat with myself.  Held my own hand.  Comforted my own sorrows.

Here’s how it went… I started with gratitude, as usual.  This time was different though.  I didn’t try so hard.  Glimpses, moments came to me quietly.  I didn’t force things like, “I am grateful for my work, my clothes, my couch!” etc.  Next, I thought, “Who loves me?” and my dad came to mind.  Many images in montage form came to me… Dad’s hands, Dad’s smile, Dad’s pride, Dad and I sitting side by side on the couch, Dad choking back his tears while telling me goodbye… I knew I was in my heart when I started to cry.  My nose started to sting.  My eyes filled with tears.  Then came the questions.  “Who am I?” was met with a sobbing “I don’t know!”  It’s okay not to know, I told myself.  It’s okay.  (Right, Olia?)  Moving on… “What do I want?”  Connections.  This also brought tears to me.  I long to connect with people in a human and spirit way.  “What is my purpose?”  A single word appeared: Bravery.  Then, I understood that bravery will be there when I need it.  I don’t have to work at it.  Also, the notion of setting an example came to me.  Finally, “What makes me happy?”  I saw the sky and felt the sun.  My imagination ran with those taking me to sunny Tahiti where I could wear less clothing and let my hair get nappy… I’ve always wanted dreds…

I thanked myself for all of these lovely answers.  Then, I kept listening to my breath and to the beat of my heart.  Listening… And then, I got up and called my dad.

It was a good day.

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My husband and I sometimes joke around and say to each other, “Why don’t you just be honest for once!” quoting some 80’s brat pack film, I’m sure.  🙂

Why don’t I just be honest for once and say… My meditations are sucking ass lately.  There.  It’s true… For some reason, my mind is noisier now than ever.  The distractions are palpable.  This morning, I woke up at 5AM for a standardized patient gig at the Medical College of Wisconsin.  It’s a great job, by the way.  I recommend it to all my friends!  I get to play various roles and hone my acting craft while hopefully giving insightful feedback to practicing medical students.  I’ve played over a dozen different roles.  It’s great.  I digress…

My morning meditation took place at 5:40AM.  The apartment was silent and dark.  I was fairly alert for that time of day, too.  However, my heart was faint.  I listened very intently for it to say something – like listening, leaning in and waiting for a small child to speak in response to a simple question.  I didn’t get any answers today.  I got the silent treatment.  On the other hand, my mind produced many voice overs!  It was the domineering older sister today.  I try to follow these tangents and watch them while gently letting them go.  Frustration, however minute, sets in.  Passive anger ready to fling myself out the window.  Not really… Just my brain as if it were a frisbee.  It’s really hard to love a mind that causes you so much misery.  How can you trust it?  (Now, I’m just venting.)

Have I mentioned that I, too, am planning to go on Vipassana  meditation in early May?  As soon as Blue returns, I’ll be on my way.  We’ll be able to high five each other, and that’s about it.  Not literally high five, but spiritually.  🙂  I plan to tackle my mind, roll around with it on the floor and then end up hugging it, hopefully.  I don’t know what to expect.  Torture?  Hallucinations?  I see dead people?  Maybe NO expectations while being open and “honest for once” (ha, ha) is the best way to approach it.

Even though my meditations have been messy, I’m still doing them, dammit.  It’s called a meditation “practice,” people.  Good thing it’s not called a meditation “test”!  Life seems like such a test until I see beyond it.  When I die, I hope I get to watch a movie of my life so that I’m able to put the pieces together.  I’m sure I’ll see then why this and that happened in the order it all happened.  Perhaps this life is just a rehearsal for something larger… That means, we can all goof off in rehearsal!  Hooray!

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Hi, it’s late, and I’ve got a second wind coming off of my favorite ice cream – java chip.  My meditations have served me well as a clown.  However, today’s meditation was sleepy, distracted and forced.  It’s like I just wanted to get through it.  Yipes.

Lately, I’ve been feeling very tired.  It could be that I clowned for 4 days in a row and once during the middle of the night.  I don’t know.  I love what I do, but I feel the wear and tear.  I put everything into what I do.  My mask is on tight.  That doesn’t sound good, but sometimes, I feel like it’s true.  It becomes more true when I’m worn out and I have to show up.  The smile has got to come on.  It’s like becoming happy from the outside in.  Usually, I can draw from that inner pool of joy.  Of course, that’s the ideal way to go.  However, when you’re tired… I feel a tremendous desire to space out and sleep most of the day.  Why is this?

My dream last night had me driving up a mountain with a friend.  The trees, the snow, the winding road were creepy, but beautiful.  I think that’s what I said in my dream, “This is creepy, but beautiful.”  At the top, there was a big gathering of people.  It was some sort of community event.  Then, it turned into an overdone wedding ceremony with lots of dramatic elements like lighting, shadows, costumes, music, etc.  The bride was someone I knew and I judged her as being insincere.  When I woke up, I realized that this person is actually someone I really like.

There was a bit more going on in this dream.  The events were things that people were struggling to get to… In fact, I worried that my husband wouldn’t make it in our Toyota up the mountain road.  My dreams are usually vivid, but I must say, they are becoming more colorful and clear in the last few weeks.  I wonder if our souls are working hard during this sleeping time.  I imagine they are really busy with impossible schedules.  They only have 6-7 hours to re-connect with all of their friends, travel to distant realms and make sense of the information they are getting from the spirit world.  That’s probably why that dog talked to me in my dream a few nights ago.  I was scared of the dog and was running from it.  It tackled me, but it was only playing.  Relieved, I said, “I thought you were going to kill me.”  He laughed gently and said, “Of course not.”  My soul is busy while my eyes are closed – busy riffing on the day, my thoughts, the mental snapshots I take, the emotions that run wild through my veins.  I look for messages when I wake up.  Today, while driving to Children’s Hospital for a performance, I drove up a small hill and was reminded of my dream last night.  The trees were the same.  I drove carefully lest one of the tree branches decided to break off and crush my car.  I wasn’t afraid, just fully conscious.

It’s too late to try to make sense of these dreams.  Too late as in BEDTIME.  I really do believe that we are climbing a mountain as a human race.  There is an important meeting at the top of the mountain concerning us all.  Make sure you get some snow tires though….

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Here’s to an imperfect blog… Ding!

Today I meditated in the car, dressed as a clown, just before going in to a 1 year old’s birthday party.  I thought it would be a bad idea to rush it, but then again, I realized that I always have a type of meditation right before performing anyways.  I go inside and breath to find my joy.  It’s a little pool of joy that sits peacefully in the bottom of my heart (you know, right in the V part).  So today, I sat with that for a bit longer and did all of my questions.  One of the answers that came up (or messages) told me that I was right where I needed to be.  All was just as it should be.  So, then, I do the party… Low and behold, it was the worst party I’ve ever done.  Just kidding.  It was great!  😀

Tonight, I’m killing time until 1AM when I have to put on my red nose again.  This is not a typo.  Let me explain… The local movie theater where I work somehow got a hold of one of my old clown postcards.  It was so old – one I used in NYC from 2006 or something.  The old Funnywinks.  Anyway, I was out with friends one evening, and someone recognized me as my alter ego.  Apparently, this young lady works at this particular movie theater, and she said that I was like a legend there… an enigma.  She even asked for my autograph.  To make a long story short (too late), this theater got in touch with me and asked if I would make an appearance at their staff party.  Pray for me.  I have made it a rule never to perform for adults ever since I had a very awkward experience years ago.  However, they claim that it will all be taken in good humor, and they’re willing to give me 20 movie passes!  Oh, and, I live right around the corner from the theater.  This could be a disaster… I’ll never forget the mistake I made back in 2004, New York City…

Picture this.  My good friend, F.S., calls me up and asks for a favor.  Sure, I blurted!  Well, turns out, her boyfriend was having a birthday, and she thought it would be a treat to have Funnywinks show up at his workplace to do a few magic tricks for him and maybe make him a few balloon animals.  Fantastic.  I hesitated… She assured me that he would be the only one at his workplace besides his secretary, and that he had a great sense of humor.  Did I mention that I had never met this boyfriend of hers?  Also, did I mention that he had never heard of me and was not expecting a clown to present at his office that day?  Of course, I agreed, wanting to please my friend, F.S., and thinking it would be on my way to a gig anyway.  Great!

I didn’t have a plan.  I imagined it would be a quick and innocent “Happy Birthday”  and here’s your balloon.  My friend was wrong about a few things… first one being sense of humor.  There was none.  Secondly, he was not alone.  Thirty male co-workers materialized from their cubicles, the bathroom, the walls – I never saw them coming.  All of a sudden, they were just there all hooting and hollering making every balloon I blew up into some sort of penis symbol.  It probably didn’t help that I got stuck on calling this guy “The Birthday Boy” either.  I was trapped.  I was a stripper who didn’t know the moves with all the lights turned on.  After performing a full magic show and tying over 25 balloons, I exited, feeling like a gutter clown.

My friend told me that her boyfriend really appreciated my visit that day, but the reason why he was so awkward-looking was that he was just waiting for the moment that I would start taking off my clothes.  What did I learn that day?  I learned that performing for adults is brutal for a girl clown who looks like she’s five, sounds like she’s five and relates to everyone else like they are five.  I vowed never to do it again, but I am a pushover for 20 movie passes.  What can I say?

What does all of this have to do with meditating?  Well, I just might meditate twice today.  I’ll have a serious talk with my soul right before I make my entrance to a crowd of about 30-40 sarcastic adults over twenty who all work at the movie theater.  I think the most important thing for me today is my own sense of humor.  Who likes awkward?


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