Yay! It's a Blog! - July 2013 Archives


All are welcome at apple time

July 9, 2013

Every workday at 3:00 p.m., we have apple time. Those able to take a break, sit in my aisle and eat apples. Sometimes people eat strawberries or oranges or blueberries and yogurt. But mostly apples. It is apple time, after all. One time I didn't have an apple, so I went to the employee cafe across the street and bought some apple juice and pistachios. It was the best I could do.

I've been eating an apple in the afternoon for several years. It wasn't until Sam was hired a little over a year ago that apple time became a group thing. He tells people it was my idea, but if he hadn't started eating an apple, too, it would still be just me, sitting at my desk, eating an apple.

Even our supervisor participates. We have the best supervisor in the world. He never holds staff meetings. He knows you can't have a staff meeting that isn't wasting at least one person's time. But he comes to apple time and eats an apple.

Our supervisor likes the Red Delicious apples. He's old school. Sam and I like the Pink Lady and Honeycrisp apples. I can't remember what Mark likes, but I know he doesn't care for the Braeburns. He's usually the one eating some other fruit, though. When Bruce worked here, he was apt to eat his apple before apple time. Sam called him out on it once, so Bruce called him an apple fascist. He said he'd eat his apple whenever he feels like it.

Sam tried a Kiku apple. He said it tastes like candy. So much so that it gave him a stomach ache.

Meagan and Jen usually come to apple time late, but they're welcome just the same. All are welcome at apple time.

Apples

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I don't experiment too much with apples. I like Red Delicious and Golden Delicious but those look interesting. What kind are they and, more importantly, are they sweet? smile

We picked some off the trees at a Johnny Appleseed farm in Connecticut many years ago. They must have been cooking apples. The farmer said they were good right off the tree, though. He was WRONG. They were horrible.

Like taking a nap without sleeping

July 14, 2013

I've been meditating every day for two weeks now. Before, I thought meditation was purely about learning to clear the mind--that if you aren't able to clear your mind, you fail. Now, I don't think you can fail at meditation unless you simply don't do it. The meditation guide I use says to let the thoughts come, be aware of them and what they are about, and then focus back on your breath or the sounds around you or the sensations in your body. The thoughts come and then they go.

While I'm meditating, thoughts that normally upset me have no effect. It's like I'm a third-party observer.

I'm on the fence about whether meditation has a prolonged effect when I'm not meditating. Like whether it makes me more relaxed or makes me less prone to mood swings or makes me more patient with people.

Yesterday it seemed to have a lasting effect.

Before I meditated, I was a mess... crying off and on all day. Partly because it was a lonely weekend day and partly because recent government political fighting upsets me.

After I meditated, I didn't cry anymore. But I also avoided anything controversial by playing Xbox Lego Lord of the Rings until bedtime. Who knows which helped more? Probably a combination of both.

I've always thought meditation was new age kookiness. But now I think of it more like taking a nap without sleeping. It's better than a nap, though, because after a nap, I feel out of sorts and lazy. After meditation, I feel more in control and productive.

I found this article about mindfulness meditation enlightening: How Meditation Works

And I found this tweet from Andy Richter funny:

Yoko Ono: Imagine two billion universes. Visualize yourself on a planet in each universe. Andy Richter: Why?

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Very sorry to hear you're having such a rough go of it. Hopefully, you can continue to find solace in meditation. Whatever works.

Conquering the swirling ball of distraction

July 20, 2013

I got to work, launched Outlook and discovered that in less than 30 minutes I was scheduled for a meeting with three levels of management to discuss my role in the organization. Whoa. They had understandable reasons to talk to me about what I do and what I would like to do in the future within budgetary constraints. I am blessed to work in a place that solicits and values employees' wishes and accommodates them when possible.

But boy... having a meeting with three levels of management set my head to spinning. I couldn't stop going over the things I said. Thinking of the things I wish I'd said and the things I wish I hadn't. The meeting was at 9:00 a.m. and thoughts about it were still swirling around in my head while driving home at 6:00 p.m.

This would really put my evening meditation practice to the test.

I got home, fed the dog, changed into a tank top and shorts and went outside to sit in my meditation chair while the sun descended through the bare limbs of my neighbor's dead tree. I started a 30-minute guided meditation.

The nice lady began speaking the words that I've heard so many times this month. Get in a comfortable, seated position. Notice my state of mind. Breathe. Listen to sounds. If thoughts come, be aware of them and then bring my focus back to my breathing. Or the sounds. Or the sensations in my body. Etc.

The thoughts of the morning meeting kept coming back. I would focus on breath and then find myself deep in thought again. At one point, I turned up the volume, hoping a louder lady would keep me focused. The thoughts returned.

At another point, I started to cry in frustration because I couldn't make the thoughts go away like I've succeeded doing in every other meditation. And then I remembered I'm supposed to let the thoughts come and just practice refocusing on breath again and again. That's why they call it "practice."

Then I purposefully breathed very heavily to keep the focus on my breath. I breathed loud and with force. It made my nose tingle. And it felt like I was angry or desperate. That's not how I'm supposed to feel.

Then I did something I'd not done before. I opened my eyes and stared at a blade of grass in the yard. Now I had breath, sound and a visual to hold me right there in the moment. It was better. Then I looked up at the sky and found a small cloud. I watched as that cloud dissipated into nothing over the course of a few minutes. And I imagined my thoughts dissipating into nothing.

When the 30 minutes were over, the thoughts of that meeting were still with me, but they were not the swirling ball of distraction that they were before. This is progress.

Meditation inspired by The Paleo Drummer's 30 days to freedom challenge.

Under Pressure Sheet Music

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