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Mamasattva
California
Mama, Mindful, Multi-Sport
Interests: Mindfulness, Mothering, Triathlons, Barefoot Running, Cooking, Pop Culture, Politics, Health, Travel
Recent Activity
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Off and on through my life, I've experienced panic and anxiety. Before I began meditating, I usually dealt with it by believing the fears, shaming myself, and/or acting out in unwholesome ways. Meditation and mindfulness practice helps me relate directly to the panic and anxiety in a way that can... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2013 at Stinky Buddha
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The other day, Little Boy said, "It's not that I love you, mama, but I do like you." He stated this in a very matter-of-fact way, a little while after a squabble and the passion had died down. After the initial ouch, I got to thinking. What I'm glad I realized is: it's actually not his job to love me. It's my job to love him. I say I'm glad because I can see how much suffering it could lead to if I did all this expecting a "love paycheck." Mothering is a job, it is work. It is also... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2013 at Mamasattva
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On my run on Tuesday, I felt a piercing in my chest, my throat closed, and my eyes welled. The thought of the 20 children in Connecticut had arisen again, and with it, the grip of grief so intense I almost couldn't breathe. It hasn't felt quite right since last... Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2012 at Stinky Buddha
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I haven't blogged in a while mostly because I've been dealing with a lot of anxiety, mostly around my health. I've dealt with hypochondria off and on for much of my life, so this particular flavor of anxiety is familiar. But it has been acute recently, at times to the point of despair. Some things have definitely helped: I started seeing a very kind mindfulness-based therapist. We always end with meditation, a lovely thing. I've quit (mostly) searching symptoms online. The Internet to the hypochondriac is like crack to the junkie. Just say no, or at least really try to.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2012 at Mamasattva
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This morning I took a tour of Little Girl's school as part of the process of enrolling Little Boy for kindergarten. In one of the classrooms, the kids recited a verse that began, "Look to this day, for it is life." Guess who started crying. Even now, as I write it, I choke up. Because lately I've been thinking about how *this* day is my actual life. So much of my life can have a quality of waiting, waiting for ________ to happen so that I can finally be happy/peaceful/alive. And waiting feels like sleeping, checking out. Meanwhile time marches... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2012 at Mamasattva
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It's good to be reminded of my intentions. Right now, those reminders often come from small people. Yesterday it was not from one of my small people, but a friend of Little Boy's. She was in the car when I forgot myself and, in a moment of reaction, spanked Little Boy. We were in front of their preschool, and after I spanked him, I scooted his friend ahead of us into the yard where, apparently, she promptly told the teacher what I'd just done. Ugh. To be clear: I don't believe in spanking kids. But I'm sad to admit I... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2012 at Mamasattva
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I'm reluctant to talk about the "fruits" of practice. I worry that I (and anyone else reading this) might get caught by expectations of practice as "self-improvement." Yet I'm aware that something inside really does change over time and with effort. I've heard Zen teachers describe meditation practice as "training," which to me means developing a skill, not necessarily "making me better." So I am comfortable saying that today my skill at letting things go is better than it was before I started meditating. Case in point: the reality show-type confrontation I had with a neighbor recently. Details aren't important,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2012 at Mamasattva
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After I birthed Little Boy at home, I remember telling my Zen teacher that I hope I have a similar experience when the time comes for me to die. Because although at the very beginning of labor, I was there "doing it," sometime during that sweet, hard-working night, something flipped. The "I" stepped aside and there was just laboring, just breathing and resting, just opening and pushing. It was simultaneously dreamy and clear and clean, meaning there was nothing extra. Recently, in practice discussion with my teacher, I described my current struggle with what I've come to realize is perimenopause.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2012 at Mamasattva
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In the car the other day, Little Girl piped up. "The best way to defeat an enemy is to make him your friend." She learned it from a show about Lego Ninja characters. Her timing was perfect. Because lately I've been trying to defeat one of my oldest nemeses. Since childhood, I've dealt on and off with anxiety and panic. For some reason, in the last couple weeks, panic keeps attacking, in sudden surges. The actual attack itself is awful but often short-lived, thanks to meditation practice which anchors me with a return to the breath. The real enemy, though,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2012 at Mamasattva
Years ago, when we lived across the street from the Zen Center, I did as many meditation retreats as I could. Almost every time the retreat ended, I would pick a huge fight with Husband. "I can't believe you just got out of sesshin!" he would cry. I couldn't believe it, either. What the heck happened to all that hard-earned equanimity? Still, for years I've trudged along, stumbling and breathing best I could back to the present moment. It has only *just* occurred to me what's been happening. I've mistaken meditation practice for self-help. I've come from the idea that... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2012 at Mamasattva
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(Ruud Vuijusters) Sometimes I feel like I have nothing good to say or nothing new to offer. Who reads these posts anyway? Am I making any kind of difference at all? I sit with the heft of discouragement, breathe with the perceived weight of "Why bother?" Inhale, exhale, soften, allow. In that bit of space, a memory of my very first meditation period bubbles up. I only signed up for it as a cheap, safe respite from a very, very bad relationship. A friend told me about "some Buddhist farm in Marin." I booked a few days for semi-retreat: I'd... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2012 at Mamasattva
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For years, I put my self-esteem in numbers: pounds, miles, laps, pace. Gradually, I've been shedding that idea: I stopped weighing myself years ago, and last year, I gave up keeping track of my pace. In fact, recently it has felt as though the pendulum has swung way way to... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2012 at Stinky Buddha
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Often, I feel it in my body when my kids are really suffering. After 8 years of mama-ing, I've grown somewhat accustomed to it. I hurt when they hurt, simple. And by now, not a surprise. What I didn't know in my bones is that I could feel the deep suffering of my friends so deeply in my own body...until last week when some sudden, seismic changes happened in my close circle of friends. Aches, sleeplessness, stomach upsets -- these all would've made sense for my friends to experience, but as someone whose life at the moment is actually really... Continue reading
Posted May 3, 2012 at Mamasattva
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You'd think as someone interested in meditation and fitness that I would have a yoga practice, right? Wrong. Actually, not so wrong, anymore. Because this week I went to my first yoga class in more than a decade. Why so many years between classes? Two reasons: I am not limber... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2012 at Stinky Buddha
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I talk a big talk when it comes to living in the moment. And I do put effort into it, trying my best to notice this very breath, the rise & fall of this very thought, feeling where my feet are throughout the day. But it seems it's only when I get The Call from the Doctor that things get real. I got that call from the radiology center yesterday, five days after a routine mammo. I was at the park with Little Boy and his friend, A. "We need more images of your breasts, possibly an ultrasound." With those... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2012 at Mamasattva
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Back on Ash Wednesday, I made a vow to abstain from disparaging speech for the period of Lent. Now that Easter has come and gone, I'm thinking over how that all went and what I discovered. I broke the vow less times than I expected, which was, frankly, a nice surprise. Whoever came up with the precept of Right Speech really knew what they were doing. Because by keeping this precept in my consciousness, speaking/expressing felt simpler, easier, and cleaner. Except when it didn't. I got to see a pattern of when I did break the vow, in what situations... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2012 at Mamasattva
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One of the stories I often tell myself as a mama is that "I'm too busy to (verb describing some kind of self-care)." Recently, I read this article about the epidemic of "busy-ness" and meditation. Inspired, I got up especially early today and started with a 20-minute sit. Our house is not big and when the kids are awake, I can pretty much hear them wherever I am. So this morning, as I sat in the master bedroom, I could hear every squeal, chatter, protest, and song. I noticed the mind's thought-threads swirl around the sounds, then returned and returned... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2012 at Mamasattva
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Last night, I had a big bout of Worst Horse blues. Currently, in my inner circle of mamas, I am the only one who is not earning income. I won't say I don't work because I hella work, but none of it brings in any money. Recently, a couple of my friends have gotten more work outside the home, and last night, in a swirl of fatigue, hormones, and history, I came down hard on myself. Envy and despair because I'm not earning money, not realizing a livelihood bliss, not even knowing exactly what that bliss is. Loser-ville. But even... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2012 at Mamasattva
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I didn't have any expectations about today's run and maybe that's part of why it was lovely and fun. No expectations + other things like: Noticing the desire to check my watch & not acting on it Keeping my chin level, neck and shoulders soft, chest (heart) open Hearing the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2012 at Stinky Buddha
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(courtesy of Angie M. Yingst) I'm starting a local mindful mama group with my friend Amanda of Urban Almanac. It's been brewing in the back of my mind for some time-- years, really -- but finally, about a month ago, I felt ready to reach out, write the emails, and get the ball rolling. One of my hopes is the group will be the kind of space where I can exhale. I don't remember much from that movie, "Waiting to Exhale," just one moment when a character finally met someone with whom she could literally exhale, let go, be herself.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2012 at Mamasattva
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Diane Van Deren (Mark Phillips) The other day at the gym, I skipped the trashy music and opted for a short RadioLab podcast. It was about a woman named Diane Van Deren who began running to help her deal with her often violent seizures. What astounded me was Van Deren... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2012 at Stinky Buddha
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It has been years since I gave up anything for Lent. But this year, it feels right to give something up. My vow for the next 40 days relates to one of the Bodhisattva precepts concerning speech (Not Discussing the Faults of Others). Specifically: I vow to give up saying anything about anyone that I wouldn't say to his/her face. I chose this precept because I talk a lot. Too much too often, letting valuable qi energy leak out of my mouth and also through my fingers on the keyboard (I'm including the written word as part of speech). And... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2012 at Mamasattva
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Now, in second grade, Little Girl's friendships are getting more complex. I've had a problem with one of her besties for some time. Without going into too much detail, I'll just say that from what I've observed, the dynamics of this friendship right now seem unhealthy. Too many past misbehaviors and too much anxiety on the part of Little Girl have somehow involved this friend (whom I will refer to as The Bestie. See how I resisted the urge to call her The BEASTIE?). Two things happen for me: my own friendship karma from the distant past gets a re-boot... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2012 at Mamasattva
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My son is in a deep LEGO phase. We've acquired many sets over the past several months. What happens is we get a new one, Mama or Daddy have to sit down and build the model which can take a while, then a couple days later, Little Boy either takes... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2012 at Stinky Buddha
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Years before I started meditating and working with my Zen teacher, I was a member of Al-Anon, the 12-step program for friends and families of alcoholics. I had a great sponsor. One of her favorite slogans was, "There Are No Big Deals." I thought about that today when, early on a morning I usually have for myself, I got a call from Little Boy's preschool. "He seems sick, can you come pick him up?" It was unexpected, considering the way Little Boy had been playing just before I dropped him off. But even more surprisingly, the news merely caused a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2012 at Mamasattva