Balancing Rest and Meditation Time

…this is something I struggle with right now.  The way things are scheduled, I get up 5 days a aweek at 5:30 with my Eldest, who leaves for the bus stop at 6:18 (Don’t ask, but trust me, it works. ;P).  I then have a busy day that lasts until I wind down at around 9:30 or 10.  At this point I usally take a bit of personal time to read, watch a little boob tube, or maybe play a game with Da Man.  I pretty much figure I need half an hour to an hour to chill at night – things are just hectic until then, between working for Da Man (Hee-hee.  ^_^ Actually we have a business together in the home.) and taking care of Da Kiddos and House Stuff – I stay busy and I need time to decompress.  (Well, usually.  I feel a little guilty writing that, because today has been a bit shiftless – I’m tired and have been fighting a cold all week.)

Anyway, the point is I just don’t get an adequate amount of sleep right now, during the week.  At best I’m getting maybe six hours a night.  I’m sure to some that seems an abundance of riches, but I really seem to do best with 7 to 7.5 hours of sleep a night.  I know, I’ve experimented with it.  So right now, I run at least 5 hours of sleep short a week.

To get to the point – I’m trying to decide exactly where a regular sitting time for meditation might best fit.  Maybe in the morning between bus and getting Middle and Youngest up?  But then I would lose any padding I have for the unexpected and I am concerned I would have a lot of rushed mornings, which is no way to start the day.  Perhaps I should get up half an hour ahead of time?  But then I would lose another 2 to 3 hours of sleep during the week.  Should I sit in the middle of my workday, since I have the luxury/curse of working out of the home?  I am concerned that this would be hard to set a regular time for as every day is different for me, between work and parenting, and that some days this would be very easy to drop.  Should I do it at night, after Da Kiddos have all gone to bed?  Well, this seems like a possibility, but I often find myself drooping by this time, and it would be nice to not bring a constantly tired mind to the cushion.

I know I’m over-complicating things, but I have yet to come up with the best answer for myself.  I’d love to hear from you, if you have time.  How do you schedule your meditation time?  Do you have a regular sitting schedule?  How do you manage a busy life and Buddhist life?  How do you integrate your practice into the everyday?

Guess that’s a lot of questions.  ^_^ Meh – I’m full of them lately.

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Random Pics from Date Night

The cat is away (well, in this case, the 3 kittens), so the mice have been at play – while the kiddos are with their grandparents this week, the other half and I have actually been getting in some grownup hang out time. Part of that was hanging at a mediocre chain bookstore after a movie. While da Man was checking out the Ubuntu, Unix and Debian books, I (of course) gravitated over to the anaemically stocked Buddhist selections. Here’s part of what I saw – hoped y’all might find these two pics amusing:


Nothing big here – just thought it was funny to be told that the sitting on the floor I was doing wasn’t necessary….

I sure hope someone out there understands why I find this one amusing – that magazine you see peeking out (the only “Buddhist brand” magazine this store carries, behind the title Nudes) is Shambhala Sun:

Still here…

…wow, can’t believe it’s been a month!

The last month has been busy and a test of my gumption. There’s been a lot going on.

We’ve got our 12 year old newly enrolled in a virtual school, which is turning out to be a stressful transition, even though it eliminates a lot of his previous school stresses and difficulties. (He’s very bright and has a real, honest to goodness case of ADD/ADHD – not the fad diagnosis, but the real deal.) On top of that, we’ve chosen to homeschool our middle son – he’d be in kindergarten this year, but he’s shown rapid development of OCD. They’re both wonderful, intelligent kids, but I’ve had my hands full. Oh – I’ve got a 3 year old, too. ‘Nuff said on that one.

On top of that are various “real life issues.” Always working on that whole ends-meeting bit….

Suffice it to say, whilst I have attempted to make every moment an opportunity for mindfulness, I must admit my daily meditative practice has slipped.

Now that things are beginning to calm down, time to begin anew….

Dog Noses and Mindfulness

You know, for me sitting sometimes becomes a wonderful lesson in impermanence and attachment. The silent meditation I am experiencing and enjoying may disappear in the sudden appearance of a wet dog nose in my lap. I must consciously use that wet snuffle as a mindfulness bell – nothing is permanent, and being attached to my meditation session does no one any good. It is good to sit, and sit uninterrupted, but I am aware that my life choices (like adopting a dog, and forgetting to shut the door before I sit) affect how my practice may transpire. Meditation is just one piece of a life’s practice, and I must always remember that. Sometimes there is more to be learned from mindfully accepting and loving the dog underfoot, or the sleepy child crawling into my lap.

Awakening

One of the deep honors of being a parent is the opportunity to be present when another human being reaches a new understanding of the world. Sometimes these moments are cotton candy sweet, happy affairs. Sometimes they’re not. In either case the blessing witnessing – or perhaps even occasionally midwifing – these moments remains the same.

The other evening one of these moments happened for my youngest, and all I could do was just wrap my arms around him and let him mourn.

See, we have a two diet family. My eldest so and I are vegan, my husband and younger two have not been. We coexist, and Warren and I very frank about where food comes from. Both of us believe its important to really understand the origins of what’s on our plate. It’s so easy in our society to divorce ourselves from this knowledge, and both the meat-eating husband and I believe that’s an ethical slippery-slope. (I’m giving my other half a hard time, but he honestly doesn’t eat a lot of animal products anymore, which I appreciate.)

So the other night my little guy didn’t understand what the optional meat for his bean burrito was all about. When I finally got through to him that it was ground up cow meat that my husband had cooked to add to his, and not vegan he was absolutely horrified. He finally understood, and he was absolutely wracked with grief for all butchered animals. Watching him extend his new knowledge into a growing sense of compassion was so wonderful. Holding him while he cried for them in empathy was painful, but beautiful, too. I’m grateful I was allowed to be there.

One Source of My Joy

"Love is the Law"

You know, I love my husband very much. We’ve been married for almost 16 years. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been very much worth it.

My husband is passionate about his beliefs. We have a different religious context, but we come from the same spiritual context. He is all about loving-compassion. Check out his opening blog entry. I’d love to know what you think, and so would he. ^_^