MARIAN LANSKY

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Click Bait: Mindfulness and the Internet

Remember when, a few years ago, people starting deliberately using click bait? “She opened the carton of eggs and you won’t believe what she saw!” For a brief time, this was quite an effective technique. We no longer need much in the way of click bait, I’ve noticed, because clicking and tapping have become sufficiently addictive and unconscious that it doesn’t even matter. We get our dopamine fix even without any worthwhile content.

Using the internet mindfully is my new goal. Like when I sit down to check my email, I only check my email. I stop there, staying true to my original intention. And if I check the weather, no matter how many interesting news stories or sales pop up, I only check the weather, and only my own weather, not anybody else’s weather!

I can’t remember who wrote this blog article, but it was about procrastination, and he described how he’d sit down to work and suddenly think it was a good idea to get on Google Earth and travel the length of India from the south to the north, just because. I can totally relate.

Now, when I get on the internet, no matter why I am there, I watch my mind. I try to pay attention to the quality of my mind. I slow it down in order to notice if and when my mental feet begin to slip on the slopes of internet seduction.

The internet is a physical-world reflection of our discursive minds. It works by association. More so now that people have figured out how to make money by tracking your interests and appealing to them. So you go to check one thing and seven other things that could potentially interest you appear in the margins. It’s the Law of Attraction graphically displayed.

Mindfulness means not taking the bait, no matter how tailored, or subtle or interesting it may look, unless you are deliberately aware and awake while doing it. It’s a razor’s edge, really, because how many times have you stumbled upon worthwhile things while mindlessly getting your dopamine fix? Several, at least!

It’s the same with thought. Mixed in with the usual sea of crap in our minds is the occasional intuitive impulse from your Inner Self guiding you towards something you’d love, or away from something that might not be so great. We have to learn to tell the difference. Effort and focus are involved in this learning.

People say, “don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry”, meaning that you’ll wind up buying unnecessary items. Things will look good to you that normally wouldn’t because you’re hungry.

The mind, our normal, human, discursive internal dialogue factory is always, always hungry in every way. It is continually seeking for the permanent in the impermanent, believing that it’s just one possession away, one relationship away, one figure away in its bank account, one house, one car, one workshop, one guru, one spiritual teaching, one click, one tap away from feeling fixed, healed, complete.

Our normal human mind is a mindless consumer. It’s a dog in the garbage bin. And it love love loves the internet—the clicks, the taps, the little noises and animations, the tiny surprises, the constant stream of association, the videos of people doing things like squishing jello because it makes a soothing sound… on and on and on until oblivion.

What’s wrong with this? What’s wrong is the quality of mind that results. It’s an addict mind. For example, maybe you woke up today determined to focus on a particular project. Your mind was clear and refreshed with sleep. Then you checked your email. After checking email you felt a little less focused and while you’re there you might as well check Facebook and Instagram, and hey, maybe the news, or your favorite blog, and ooooh look at that, I think I’ll put that on Pinterest, and maybe I’ll mosey over to Youtube and see if there are any new spiritual videos.

An hour or even two hours later you look up. If you could feel the quality of your mind you’d realize that it is no longer focused and clear, even if you found a great video! It’s now flaccid and porous, depleted of concentration, and your motivation to do any kind of meaningful creative work has disappeared. Mindless enjoyment of the internet bloats the mind with unnecessary thought forms and atrophies its ability to focus.

So, what to do. I am not against the internet, in fact I love it. I feel as though this is the natural expansion of the human mind… to learn to be aware of what is happening simultaneously around the globe. And because we are new at this, we suck at it.

Just like when we, in first-world countries, were historically new at having couch-based leisure time in the evening and a surplus of good-tasting, easily available food, we sucked at that as a culture, and became ill and obese and developed eating disorders. Doesn’t mean that abundance and leisure time are bad. It means we need to learn to work mindfully with them. This seems to be happening now, gradually.

At this point in my life, having worked through my own food addictions, I love to go grocery shopping hungry. It enhances the experience for me, and I don’t buy anything extra, because my mindfulness around food has been established and is now effortless. The presence of abundance and diversity doesn’t cause me to lose my focus.

I’m not at that stage with the internet yet. But I’m working on it.

It’s All Good

When seeds scatter from a tree or a flower, not all of them find the conditions necessary to throw down roots and completely manifest a full-grown version of the original.

Some never find those conditions, and return to the earth. Others begin growing but then encounter drought or blight of some sort and become stunted or twisted, or maybe get eaten by deer or bunnies or whatever. And there are others, the minority, that take root and grow beautifully to a ripe old age, scattering more seed before their bodies disintegrate and become part of the earth again.

We tend, as humans, to think of the fully-realized flower or tree as being successful and the one that died young, or became diseased, as being a failure.

In the same way we think of a person who understood the promptings of their inner self at age nine and spent a lifetime perfecting their art or skill as enviable. Or at least I do. Did.

Now I’m starting to see that this comparing mind is completely human—time and ego based—and bears no relationship to truth.

Everything—all experience—is of value. Even experiences we don’t find especially appealing.

Sometimes I think All That Is is kind of like a dog. Dogs have no real prejudices about smells. All smells are interesting, especially smells that we, as humans, find unacceptable. In the same way I’ve begun to believe that all experiences are enjoyable to Source. There’s no resistance to anything because there’s no forgetting that this isn’t real—that this is a dream.

And in that lack of resistance, of course, the experience of the dream improves.

I talked about this in my old blog but I’ll repeat it here again because it was such a key understanding for me.

I used to have recurring nightmares as a child, and one of them was that I was being attacked by a pack of Dobermans. My poor little mom had a terrible fear of Dobermans, which used to be employed as guard dogs where I grew up, and her fear informed my dreams. I always had a vague awareness of the fact that I was dreaming, which stopped short of full lucidity, but was a dreadful sense of ‘Not This Again!’

One night when the dogs were attacking me, I heard a voice in the dream tell me to not panic and just completely relax. As I did this, the dogs stopped biting, backed off, and I woke up. That was amazing to me—my first experience of paradox and how it works.

Within this dream of human life, no matter what is happening, the only way out is to release resistance.

Recently, my son started a business of his own doing a type of craft that is mighty interesting to me, and he’s offered to allow me to participate in some of the stages of creation in whatever way I want to. It’s been a lot of fun for me to be engaged in learning something new but it’s also brought up, at my age, a feeling of ‘oh I wish I were better at this, or had started it when I was younger, or that my old hands weren’t quite so shaky.’

These feelings of resisting the way things are, resisting the actual nature of the present moment, were not only taking the fun out of it for me, but confusing me in other areas of my life.

And then today, thanks to a little bit of mindfulness, I remembered that things are perfect as they are.

The soul seeds itself in time. I think Seth said that. The soul seeds itself in time like a dandelion seed on the wind, to all 360 degrees. Lives take root in the simultaneous, spacious present, in different time periods, all creating and communicating and informing each other. Each life is equally valuable. All probable paths are taken. There is no failure or success, only experience.

And all of it is good.

Owning power and giving it away

There is so much advice out there these days. You could drown in it. There are so many great sources of wisdom… so many Buddhist teachers, so many Eckhart Tolles and Byron Katies and teachers of different types of approaches to the same things… the Brené Browns and Martha Becks and Paul Seligs and on and on. So many! This is an age of teacher overwhelm.

I’ve been wanting to write a post for a couple of weeks now but feeling as though my mind is going in too many directions at once.

Today I started reading Byron Katie’s new book, A Mind at Home with Itself. Wow, it’s good. I had resisted getting it. There is something about the Stephen-Mitchell-Byron-Katie marketing machine that bugged me, but that impression was washed away within the first dozen pages. Mr. Mitchell may be pimping his wife, but, hey, I’m buying. At least so far.

And although I’m only 25 pages in, my mind has begun to clear up. I’ve been trying too hard. I’ve been listening to too many wonderful Buddhist lectures, reading too many books, and in general believing in a whole passel of concepts that are not my own.

As much as I love Buddhist teachings, oh my God, they can really ensnare the part of you that feels like it needs to get . it . right. Or else what? I have my own answers to that question and I’m sure you all have your own, but mine has always been:

I have to get it right so I don’t have to do this all over again. That thought arises very strongly when I study the dharma. And it feels so bad, it can’t possibly be true.

So the smoke and dust are clearing and I’m back to ground zero—to a mind basically okay with itself, taking nothing all that seriously. This seems to be a repeating cycle with me, and I get something new out of it each time.

We so easily, and especially as women, accept external authority as being real, even when it doesn’t feel good or make any sense. Last week, the Louis C.K. drama unfolded. At first I thought, hell, if somebody asks to masturbate in front of you, and you don’t want him to, just say no. Walk out of the room. You’re not a prisoner.

But what I came to understand is that we are prisoners of the belief that someone has power we do not ourselves possess. And women sometimes feel that men, especially strong and powerful, successful men, have powers we don’t have. And we believe the only way to get what we want is to sell ourselves out, or risk being injured in some way.

He said it himself in his statement, “At the time, I said to myself that what I did was O.K. because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first, which is also true. But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly.”

We give people that power. We give spiritual teachers and teachings that power, when in truth everything we need is within our own minds, and, as Byron Katie says, you can tell if a thought is true by how it feels. Same thing Abraham Hicks says.

Listen to yourself. Feel out your concepts, your thoughts. Stop believing what other people tell you. Including me.

Creativity and self-consciousness

When I was a young teenager I had the good fortune to be able to take a jewelry-making class in summer camp. We worked with the lost-wax process and silver, and were able to make actual pieces of real jewelry. I remember carving a sort of irregularly faceted tiny boulder, out of hard, blue wax… it was less than a half inch in diameter. I put holes in the surface of it which I eventually oxidized so they were black. It intrigued me no end, this shape, and I turned it into a pendant. I have no idea where it might be today. I wish I still had it.

At any rate, because this design was easy for me, and came effortlessly from my own sensual appreciation of the form, I thought it was a bad idea. This was a pivotal moment in my young life—when I began to believe that anything that came easily to me, and that had no complications, could not be good. From then on, I found creativity to be more and more elusive until finally, in my twenties, I felt myself just sort of blank out entirely.

What I liked, what I found easy, could not, by definition, be good. Sometimes now I will look at the work of successful jewelers and see that I could have been one of them, had I trusted in my own, native aesthetic. Not that I would have necessarily wanted to be a jeweler, but you might understand what I mean.

I was raised to have a critical mind. Critical of what I heard, critical of what I saw, and most deeply, critical of my self.

It’s very easy, if you are a creative person, and especially if you’re trying to make a living through your creativity, to fall into the trap of not trusting that the path you find appealing is the right one to go down. The signs and feelings of that path are almost always joyful, simple and childlike in their nature. They involve an appreciation and enjoyment of every aspect of the process and an experience of zero resistance, in which there’s nothing going on in your head—no stories spinning out—just an engagement with the flow of creativity.

All sorts of doubts can begin to encroach and erode the pleasure of this kind of creativity when you expose it to the public. Not only are you concerned about whether or not it will sell (if you’re trying to make a living) but you become tangled up in the overgrown thicket of praise and blame. You want positive feedback and you’re afraid of negative feedback. These kinds of things don’t happen as much if you never show your work to anyone, but they’re pretty common if you do.

But let’s take it a step deeper and see what’s happening here. It doesn’t help a whole lot, and this I know because I’ve tried it for years, to keep reminding yourself to not compare your work to anyone else’s. That’s like saying “love yourself!” Easy to say, but in reality it’s (in my experience) a lifelong process of unfolding which takes quite a bit of perseverance.

If we look really closely at what’s happening, for example what’s happening in the mind of me as a 13-year-old girl playing around with making jewelry in summer camp—it gets easier to find a place to stand where we might have some insight and maybe enough insight to change the course of the habitual responses.

So I’m going along, enjoying shaping my piece of hard, blue wax and using a drill to make holes in it. I am not thinking. I’m enjoying, I’m present, I’m in the flow. There is no self-reflection. I’m in a no-self state. Or a not-self state.

Then perhaps I look up or look around me and the person next to me is working on something that looks complicated and difficult and not at all fun, but the thought arises, as it will, that maybe what I’m doing is too simple.

Right there, the energy of flow ceases. The ego begins to fly around like a bat that’s been disturbed from its daytime sleep in the drapes, and the edges or boundaries of self begin to become known. How is my self? How does my self appear? Is my self doing the right thing? How can my self get more praise and less blame? The self-reflection becomes totally distracting until finally you’re focused on the bat that’s flying around the room, and the only thing happening, more or less, is self-consciousness.

Consciousness of self. It wasn’t there, and then it was!

However, as I know from experience, trying to stop this process is like fighting fire with fire. It just makes it worse. It’s the equivalent of telling someone with stage fright, “don’t be nervous.” Resisting the arising of self, creates more self! Now there are more bats flying around, saying “I shouldn’t be self-conscious!”

The only thing I have found that works at this moment of the arising of self, disturbing the creative flow, is awareness. Non-resistant awareness. Hello bat of self-reflection, I see you. Thank you for being here. How interesting you are! Welcome!

So you are aware of what is arising in the mind, but you neither identify with it nor resist it. It’s not something to take as truth, and it’s also not something to go chasing after, trying to eliminate.

It’s just another mind state arising, and it will subside on its own. I certainly didn’t know this at thirteen. But now, I sort of do, sometimes.

Sticking with it

Now that I am meditating more consistently, I gravitate towards books about meditation, and usually these wind up being Buddhist in nature, because they’re such great sources for assistance in this long-term endeavor of taming my own mind.

However, and I’ve gone through this cycle a few times before, the more I read Buddhist texts or listen to Buddhist talks, something a little insidious begins to happen. Just the proximity to Buddhism creates a resonance within me that, despite the many helpful insights it offers, sets up a sense that, at heart, I am straying from what I know in my gut to be true. I can go only so far and no farther and still feel true to myself.

Looking at it more closely it’s the idea of linear time cause-and-effect that feels off to me. I see where it comes from, and I know that on one level, causality appears to function that way. But I also know that there’s no freedom in such thinking. It’s the view from the ground. I’m sure Buddhism transcends this view at some point, but not in books, perhaps.

We are each creating our own reality-experience, and this present moment is our point of power. We each have our own native, internal wisdom—the path that feels right for us. It’s truly a matter of sticking with it and giving it a chance to steep, to work, to deepen. Inherent in this native wisdom is the trust that if we need more information, it will appear.

I was watching a show about a young couple who live a subsistence lifestyle in a remote region of Alaska. She’s indigenous and he’s not. They were ice fishing, and after drilling out a few holes, he set up some clever commercially-manufactured rigs over the ice that would trip a spring and raise a flag if there was a bite, so he wouldn’t have to sit there jigging, and could go off and hunt something else. Efficient!

She, on the other hand, whittled down a short, strong piece of wood, tied a string to it and sat down by her ice hole contentedly, to fish the old fashioned way. She had no complaint with his methods, but she preferred the feel of jigging, the quiet solitude in beautiful surroundings and the relationship she was having with the fish and the lake.

I loved that. She didn’t compare, she just knew that what had always worked for her was good enough, so she stuck with it.

There is such great value in sticking with something that works and allowing it to become more and more skillful. Often, when we hit a crossroads at which our own innate understandings are about to deepen, there’s an increase of energy potential, which may feel similar to pressure or frustration.

At this point the ego, the established order of our human mind, likes to find a way to get rid of that beneficial energy buildup. We seek the new. The shopping-mind emerges. Maybe I could look out into the dream and find some new way of doing things, get some new understanding to add to my collection of facts. Maybe, since I’m not catching any fish, I should invest in some of those fancy contraptions with the springs and flags.

If we’re lucky, it won’t be too awfully long before the realization dawns that even though we might have picked up a few extra bells and whistles, we could have simply kept on track and had a little more patience.

It’s not a black-and-white situation. There’s a lot to be gained from following impulses and rummaging around in the dream. Sometimes it dishes up the exact right thing to take back to our own workshop of the mind. But the important thing is to remain your own authority, to trust your own gut feelings and to remain loyal to what you know, in your heart, to be true.

Changing my mind about metta

In past years, when I have tried loving-kindness (metta) meditation, it has seemed coercive—like a painting-on of false compassion that made no sense to me. It felt like my mother telling me to be nice, when I didn’t feel like being nice. Fake.

Now, however, my understanding of this practice has begun to deepen and I’m finding it useful to begin my meditation sittings with a little loving-kindness practice. Even just a minute or two seems to set the tone for being able to feel less reactive towards myself, kinder towards myself when my mind wanders.

Instead of focusing on feeling bad about the fact that my mind has wandered, I now focus on the wonderful feeling of coming back to the breath. So this practice seems to help loosen the tendency of the mind to make itself feel like a failure. It helps stop the sense of self-defeating ill-will towards oneself.

A couple of differences between what I do and traditional metta meditation is that I’ve pretty much done away with the words that are normally used, and I also don’t force myself to go through the whole scale of types of people, from myself, through loved ones, through acquaintances, through Donald Trump, unless I’m feeling like it. No rules.

I use wording that makes sense to me… wording that gets in there and scratches the itch. So I might say, May I be happy. May my mind feel clear and concentrated. May I feel strong and empowered. May I feel calm and friendly. And then when I switch it up to other people I tailor the words to fit the person.

And in dealing with people I’m not so enamored of, I find it easier and easier to sincerely feel my good wishes towards them and release myself from the binding quality of resistance. I use words like, May you feel safe. May you feel open-hearted. May you feel free of hatred. That’s enough. I don’t linger.

Metta practice reminds me of this quote from Abraham Hicks, which I have had tacked up at my work station for years:

“We would like you to reach the place where you’re not willing to listen to people criticize one another… where you take no satisfaction from somebody being wrong… where it matters to you so much that you feel good, that you are only willing to think positive things about people…you are only willing to look for positive aspects; you are only willing to look for solutions, and you are not willing to beat the drum of all of the problems of the world.”

A neat little meditation experience

I had been about 12 minutes into my morning meditation today, when my husband texted me to tell me that the land-line business phones were out at our studio. So I had a moment or two of “argg” and then went online here at the house to see if I could locate an outage. Didn’t see anything dramatic, so I texted him back, asking him to find our account number so I could report it from here.

He’s trying to work today and in our division of labor I handle this kind of stuff, gladly.

He didn’t text back. So I waited a bit, wanting to get back to meditating but knowing that I wouldn’t be able to concentrate until I had some degree of resolution on this issue. I texted him yet again, to which he replied… “Use email.”

He’d been on his every-Sunday-morning call with his sister and because he has a flip phone (he resists smart phones) it was disconnecting every time I texted, resulting in them trying to call each other back at the same time, and so on. I could tell he was in the frazzled/pissed off state that technology often triggers in him.

Long story short, I was able to locate an online outage chat window for our provider and they confirmed the issue and said they were working on it. Yay! Back to meditating!

I reset my timer for the full time, and sat down. Ahhh. As soon as I began to relax into following the breath, the thought that arose was one of righteous indignation. It went like this:

“You texted me to tell me that the phones were out, so don’t be pissed at me for texting you back!”

I smiled and noted, “righteous indignation” rather than following that storyline through. A few more breaths and it arose again. Hmmm. And then I remembered something I’d heard in a talk by Joseph Goldstein on mindfulness, regarding his relationship with fear.

He’d found that the mind state most difficult for him to work with had been a kind of pervasive fear that seemed to be extremely primal for him, like he was born with it. I can certainly relate to that, (but that’s the subject for another post).

He observed it and noticed it in meditation for years and yet it kept arising. Then one day he was doing walking meditation and he was deeply observing the arising of fear and also, for the first time, noticed something else. He noticed that he had an aversion to fear. His attitude toward the fear was this: “I want it to go away.”

As soon as he saw that, it all dissipated.

So, remembering this, I welcomed in the righteous indignation from my spacious seat as an observer, and the same thing happened. It dissipated.

Once I stopped judging this mind state as something to get rid of, it left of its own accord. How cool is that? Thank you Joseph Goldstein!

Deepening the Yes

This morning I was browsing through Instagram. Usually this is a more benevolent experience than Facebook, and I’m new to Instagram, so I have very little showing up there other than happy things.

I searched for a friend, who, it turned out, had no photos in her account yet. However, I noticed that she was following a fair number of people, and I made the mistake of clicking on one of those names because it looked familiar to me.

I was immediately faced with a meme to which I had a huge negative reaction. Shit, lesson learned!

Then I sat down to meditate. Haha. Here we go, I thought. Let’s see how I do in meditation with this thing buzzing around in my head.

What followed were a series of three realizations about dealing with pesky, negative thoughts.

Although I know, rationally, that, as A Course in Miracles says, “thoughts cannot attack” and that nothing can assert itself into my experience, I also know that I have a mind that occasionally gets caught in an obsessive loop. This has always been extremely annoying to me, because I’ve felt that I have no power over the aversive reaction I’m having to that looping.

My first realization was that there is no need to get to the root of a sudden aversive reaction that’s lingering in your energy field. It’s a lot like when a bee gets into the house and you can’t seem to catch it to lead it out. It doesn’t matter where the bee came from! It’s in the house. Just open some windows and ignore it. It will likely find its way out.

In this case, sitting down to meditate created the open windows.

The next realization, when that didn’t work, was that sometimes you have to be firm and persistant with the mind. There are thoughts which the mind violently resists and therefore it won’t leave them alone. The human mind is basically an animal mind, and just as in training a dog that won’t leave something alone, you can feel confident doing whatever is necessary to snap it out of its behavior.

So I tried tugging my mind lovingly and firmly back to the breath over and over. This worked for a little while, but it felt constricting and inefficient, somehow.

And the final realization was that I could try to completely stop resisting. My old friend paradox wins again! I said to myself, “I resist nothing. I welcome everything,” and sat with that for a few breaths.

Going back to the idea of the bee in the house, this felt extremely expansive. The bee was buzzing in the house (my reaction to the negative meme was buzzing in my mind) and when I stopped resisting, it was as though the walls of the house dropped away. Ahhh, silence.

No walls, no problem.

I was reminded of something Eckhart Tolle said about the “deep yes”, and walking the tightrope of now.

“It can happen that the yes uttered once can be so deep that the no never returns. One deep yes to life. The end of all no.”

I didn’t experience that deep yes, but I did experience the power of resisting nothing. So, thank you Instagram.

How to not be just more noise

One of the reasons I stopped posting on my last blog, Outrageous Undoing, was that I felt I was ultimately contributing to the general sense of information overload.

What I’ve discovered, however, in the year or so I’ve been absent from the internet, is that the information overload was in my own mind, and I was projecting it outward.

During the months leading to the presidential election in the U.S., I’d begun to experience a lot of anxiety. Many of you can relate, I’m sure. Even talking about it brings it back, so I’ll try to be quick here but it’s a bit of a story.  The anxiety reached a crescendo after the election, needless to say, and a few interesting things then occurred in my daily life.

I’ve made efforts to eat right since I was a teenager, and I was taking supplements. There was always some new nutritional factor in the news, guaranteed to fix the whole shebang, and I’d fall for them over and over again, occasionally landing on something that I actually felt did help me.

After the election, when my anxiety was at its peak (because what I’d thought couldn’t happen had happened) I began searching my favorite vitamin sites for “anxiety formulas”. Ha!

I tried a few different ones… these on top of the already prodigious number of supplements I was taking every day. And then one day I read something online about taking niacin. There were all kinds of glowing reviews about how great it feels to take niacin. I neglected to read the warnings about feeling as though your whole body is on fire for an hour or two if you take too high of a dose.

Long story short, something in the new anxiety supplements I was taking interacted with the niacin, I believe, and caused a dramatic allergic reaction. I broke out in a truly impressive rash on my arms and legs. Get a load of this, I said to my husband. He’s usually very cool about stuff like this but I could tell it was an effort for him to not go Holy Shit!

Because I never go to doctors or dip into the western medical establishment if I can avoid it and because I knew I’d caused this rash myself, and also because I couldn’t quite be sure which supplement, interacting with what, had been the culprit, I stopped taking all of them.

In a week the rash was gone, and I discovered that I enjoyed not taking pills. So much so, in fact, that I decided to do an experiment and stop taking supplements altogether.

Ten months later, I’m still supplement-free, except for one simple mineral I take once a day, which seems to have an effect I enjoy, and I feel exactly the same as I felt when I was taking them. Score: Mind 1, Matter Zero.

(Not that I’m making rules here. I’ll do whatever I feel intuitively guided to do.)

In addition to stopping supplements, I obviously had to deal with my anxiety. To that end, I deleted from my Facebook feed any political fear-mongers, and in general just stopped going on social media altogether except for business purposes. I stopped reading the news. I stopped watching TV and I pretty much eliminated all negative, fear-based input from my life.

In the evenings I began reading books, knitting, and going for walks. My mind began to settle. I became more dedicated about my meditation practice and it started to deepen and become more genuinely fruitful. I began to feel much more mindful during the day.

I also started to feel more compassionate towards all people, even those with whose political agenda I did not agree. My sense of humor returned and I started to see so much good in the world.

It seemed as though the actual condition of my mind was no longer contributing to the general sense of unease in this reality and that I was no longer feeling noisy within. This has made me feel like writing again.

So, Yay! Happy to be here.

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