All posts filed under: Zen

Om the Dome

Sunday at the Texas State Capitol was a yoga and meditation event in celebration of the International Day of Peace, where a thousand people filled the main dome and… you guessed it… om’ed. It was also the Big Kid’s 4th birthday. He’s a bit of a homebody, so it took a little convincing to get him out of the house (and also to let Bear Shark nap in peace). We found a spot on the 3rd floor to set out his yoga mat, which he insisted on having vs. the yoga mat I keep in my car. First, there was singing that was almost operatic. The sound carries beautifully in the Capitol’s dome. Then, there was mantra and chanting. Finally, there was om after om after om. The vibration from all the thousand or so voices was stirring and moving. You could see people standing with arms overhead, feeling the physical sounds of om reverberate – like standing on the beach to let the ocean sway and pull you with each wave. The Big Kid quietly soaked …

Tonglen Meditation 101

Last week, I introduced Tonglen Meditation in my yoga classes. It’s a Tibetan Buddhist practice that uses the breath in an act of giving and receiving. I talked about the samskaras I had been facing, and in an effort to really understand and feel compassion for my 3-year-old (rather than lashing out at him when he has a tantrum), I turned to Tonglen and my breath to offer love and kindness toward him. The idea of Tonglen Meditation is to use each inhale to focus on someone or a group of people who are suffering. This someone could even be you. How to: Pema Chodron talks about doing this practice not only for your loved ones. You can use Tonglen to send compassion to other parts of the world, like the Syrian refugees who need kindness and generosity the world over right now. You can even use it on your “enemies” – someone who has hurt you or done wrong to you. Their suffering is coming out in harmful ways, and even though you were a victim …

Origami zen: Sailboats and tulips

For Teacher Appreciation Week earlier in May, I wanted to find a simple project that the Big Kid could do with me. He’s finally at an age where he can participate in creating meaningful thank you gifts. He had a great time putting together the Valentine’s origami (more assembling on his part than folding), so I thought I’d give origami another go. Have I mentioned how therapeutic it is to fold paper? The sailboat above was made from this tutorial by origami-fun.com. Since these started with a 6×6 inch sheet cut diagonally, I finally found a legitimate use for my guillotine-style paper cutter. As for the Big Kid, he did these by himself without any problem. We also practiced talking about shapes with every fold. In addition to the sailboats, we made these tulips with a stem using origami-fun.com again. The tulips had a few tricky parts, including tucking one corner in to another to make the overlapping petals and “inflating” the flower. The Big Kid was actually much better at blowing air into it (smaller …

Zen in the art of origami

At the end of January, my parents closed their store in DFW Chinatown, which sold Chinese language media (books, CDs, magazines, DVDs, VCDs), Sanrio items (Hello Kitty), Asian gift items, Chinese cultural items, Asian skincare products and an assortment origami. I bought a bunch of their leftover inventory because so much of it is SOOOO CUTE and also very difficult to find in white-washed Austin (or anywhere in the US except for Chinatowns). I got this hair-brained idea that I would create a homemade Valentine’s card for the big kid’s class. As you can see from the final product, I bit off a little more than I could chew. But chew I did! The whole idea started with folding the little lucky stars. One of the girls who used to work at my parents’ store taught me how to fold them when I was maybe 9 or 10, and I never forgot how to do it after all these years. The strips of paper already had cute hearts printed on them, and I thought I could …

Another year older, a little more perspective

First, I’ll indulge y’all in a little #TBT action. This is a pic of my 3rd sister and me (the baby), and I can really see the resemblance that Bear Shark has to my face. He definitely got my husband’s mouth shape, but the head shape, the proportions of forehead to eyes and nose and cheeks are all me. Genetics are so fascinating! My birthday is this week, and I’m coming to the end of my “young adult” years, according to marketers. After this year, I will no longer be grouped in with the 18-year-olds, the 20-somethings and the early-30s. Not like I really ever felt connected to the college crowd, even though I’m a borderline millennial. I’m at an age where I’ve had more driving years than non. I enjoy the process of doing our taxes, especially if there’s a little refund waiting for us at the end. I also give fewer f***s about silly things in life, things not in my control, things that do not really matter and things that are loaded with drama. Maybe …

Meditation experimentation

The last two weeks, I participated in my friend Tammy’s 4th grader’s science experiment and meditated (almost) every day. Those of us providing data were asked to track our emotions before and after the session. I took it as a great opportunity to kickstart a meditation practice. I have been telling myself for the longest time to work it into my day because I strongly believe anyone attempting to raise children NEEDS meditation in his or her life. I tried to fit in my sessions anytime and anywhere I could. One night, it was while waiting for Bear Shark to fuss himself to sleep (my version of sleep training?). Another night, I sat for a quiet moment right before I went to bed. When work got crazy, it was in the middle of the day while waiting for an important email to come through. I attempted a walking meditation one day when the weather was nice. I leaned heavily on the information I learned from Sheila‘s meditation workshop I attended a couple years ago. For reference, these were the two …

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