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One of my favorite NPR program (on line or on your radio if your state subscribes to it) is On Being with Krista Tibbet http://www.onbeing.org/

Krista interviews incredible people from all over the world. Below are some links to her July 2012 interview with Roshi Joan Halifax...another gift to this world. The first is a 10 min. meditation on grief. The second is the unedited (you can listen to edited or unedited interviews. I prefer the latter) with Joan.

The third link takes you to various exerpts by Joan Halifax.

My gift to you this Saturday morning. I will add to this topic over time as I discovered meaningful links mostly on meditation which I believe is one of about 5 things/people who saved my skin these past almost 3 years. With love, Mary

Meditation on Grief with Joan Halifax (10 min)

http://www.onbeing.org/program/compassions-edge-states/4980

Unedited interview with Joan Halifax from On Being

http://www.onbeing.org/program/compassions-edge-states/4980/extraaudio?embed=1

Roshi Halifax is a medical anthropologist, and founder and abbot of the Upaya Zen Center.

http://www.onbeing.org/gsearch/joan%2Bhalifax

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What a wonderful gift to wake up to Mary. Thank you. I chose to listen to 'Painful Truths of Death and the Impermanence of Life' and the 10 minute meditation. One of the thoughts that stuck in my mind was the idea of how to be present to all that is happening in this world of ours without being overwhelmed. It will require me to listen to this conversation several times so please do not give us too much to digest.

I was not able to get through the meditation without the tears flowing - I don't consider this a 'bad' thing since I have been learning about tears helping to release tension. Caregiving was indeed tense. A few thoughts that I will ponder this week include- 'may I forgive myself for not meeting all my loved ones needs', 'be open to my experience of loss', and to be open to receive the kindness of others during my journey of grief.' Thank you, Mary, for these thoughts. I shall try to be open to your kindness as you help to guide us on our journeys. Anne

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Anne, Yes, I did not get through the meditation without tears. Not being all things at all times to Bill is still something that brings me to tears but not as much as originally. I was a royal mess with guilt and shame. I now see that I did my best under the worst of circumstances and my best, though far from great, was all I had.

I won't overdose you with stuff.

Mary

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Thank you Mary. I have been trying to meditate daily and I will try them. I did do a Deepak Chopra course about abundance but having almost finished it I gave it up because Abundance is the last thing I feel I have right now. Whatever is the opposite of abundance is what I feel. But a neutral type of meditiation, or better still one that addresses my loss is right for me.

I have just done the first draft of a tribute for Pete to be included in an annual publication which he was associated with. It was incredibly hard because I had to acknowledge his death and I find that this is so hard for me. Inside my head I don't believe he is dead. I know this is weird but I think it protects me from reality in a way.

I have found some more videos on the computer and am going to collect them together. I am lucky to have them but sometimes wonder if they too keep me thinking he isn't dead. What a mess my mind is. But it is what it is.

We're having a cold spell here so I shan't be doing more than a couple of short walks with Kelbi. I shall meditate, read, listen to an audible book, and generally hole up. I find this goes against my natural nature, but the new Jan just have to learn to 'be'

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Yes, Jan. I am not very good at using Chopra's meditations because they are focused on something like abundance. I admire this man. He is brilliant and he has opened lots of doors for humanity. I probably have a dozen of his books. But for me meditation is not about abundance or whatever. It is about NOT thinking but being. I try to empty my mind by focusing on a mantra since the mind does not like to be empty of thoughts. It is about using the breath or even a yantra, a visual tool, like a mandala...things that do not conjure up the thinking mind. I do like the 10 minute grief meditation and it does make me cry. Perhaps next week I will get this piece together that I played with for a while and abandoned when I got sick etc. It is on meditation and will contain a bunch of great links that I have been collecting. It is also about Mindfulness. Love, mary

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2 minutes...do not touch your mouse or keyboard or you will get a fail sign. Just listen to the waves and enjoy the picture of the ocean.

http://www.donothingfor2minutes.com/

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Beautiful, Mary - I love anything to do with water - oh how I have to work on just being still - the mind wonders

I am so looking forward to the links you have been working on - thank you for this gift.

I am happy so many people I know like Depek Chopra. As we have shared before he is a favorite of mine also. Anne

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Thanks, Harry. I saw this and think it is a helpful piece. I am glad others are adding to this topic. For me, meditation is essential to life...like air.

Thank you,

Mary

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It would be easier if the water moved so it looked real. It makes me wish I was really there though.

About 15 years ago I started walking for two hours at night with my dog. We would walk the trails on USFS property. I liked walking when it was getting dark, I love that time of day. It is so quiet, except for an occasional sound from a critter or bird. It was very refreshing. I wrote this piece on one of my walks in 2001 and sent it to some of the men in my prison ministry, and they loved it...they said they felt as if they were there.

Tonight is so beautiful…there was a lot of wind today, and the temperature is perfect. As I walk down my beautiful road of nature, the sky is dark - neither black nor quite blue…just very dark. There is no moon out, but the stars are sprinkled all across the sky like glittering diamonds, and the dark sky shows them off. The path is thick with dust from the earlier wind, so the ground is soft, and the air is fresh and it smells like the smell of fresh dirt. I feel the air whipping around my face, not harsh, just…nice. I can barely make out the silhouettes of the trees in the darkness. I walk down a lane bedecked with tall stately trees, and it is like walking through a narrow tunnel, and then I come out to the other side and the sky opens up to beauty and wonder. The only sounds I hear are the sounds of rushing water, and bullfrogs calling their songs. Lucky is running back and forth, investigating everything, checking on me, happily whipping her tail at me, saying, “Come on!”, and she nestles her nose against my hand as I walk. I come to my favorite tree, the one that is tall and stout - it has a story to tell. It stands alone with its greenery ruggedly uneven. You can see it has been whipped in life, yet it still stands, a monument to survival. Where are its companions? The others are all together, but this one with the interesting shape, it stands aloof…perhaps not intentionally, but there it is, alone. I find comfort in it, knowing that it is still there. It holds its branches out to the sky, and you can’t help but admire it. I walk along, and I see another favorite…two trees entwined so tightly they look like one. I am reminded of a couple whose hearts beat so closely, you can barely distinguish them as separate. These two trees speak to me also, of closeness and harmony…and again, I see survival. I walk along and hear the sounds of Fourth Creek rushing, and I think of the forces that go on, regardless of the season…they have their highs and lows, but they continue. I hear the wind pick up its song, and it sounds almost as thunderous as the ocean, and for a moment I listen and think of the peace that I always feel when I hear that sound. Everything seems to come into perspective somehow when you hear that sound. When I look up at the sky and see the myriads of stars there, knowing that each one represents vastness all in itself, I feel so small…yet not in an insignificant way, but rather I realize the vastness of God, the vastness of His love…that me, so small in the scheme of things, should be important to Him who has so much to concern Himself with! How quickly these six miles pass! How blessed I am to live in such a paradise!

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I also saw the piece you posted, Harry. Thank you. I especially liked some of the side effects: reducing stress, achieving balance, continue happiness, and accept acceptance... 'stilling' our minds will be a life long practice for me

Kay, what you wrote is beautiful. I copied it so I can read it over and over. Thank you for sharing. The imagery is so calming. I hope this post goes on and on.

Thank you again, Mary for being a guide on our journeys. Anne

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I agree with you, Anne ~ This is a topic that I'd like to see eventually developed into a post for our Grief Healing Blog, just as we did with our What I've Learned from Grief piece.

I hope all our members will continue to add to what Mary has started in this thread. This information needs to be shared with a wider audience!

(Incidentally, I've just posted Harry's beautiful piece, Soul Hunger in Love and Loss.)

Kay, your piece is wonderful ~ almost as delicious as taking the walk myself. What a thoughtful gift to send to prison inmates! Thank you for sharing that with all of us

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This is something I know I need to do more of. You all are inspiring!

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Anne, you said your mind is so busy with thoughts. That is the challenge of meditation. I started meditating in 1960 and then in 1980 I learned new ways but it is still a challenge to me. Minds are thought factories and that is what they do....most of us can not empty our minds completely so that is where a mantra or focus on breath or mindfulness comes in. Patience. It took me a LONG time before I could sit in meditation quietly for 30 minutes. Just do not give up. It is very healing as we all grieve.

Kay, your meditative walk is lovely. I felt like I was there as you described so well what you saw...thank you for sharing that.

Marty, I will finish the piece I started on meditation and get it to you later this week. I do agree that meditation is such a helpful tool as I grieve and try to acquire balance and learn to just be....I think it has a place here. I will keep adding links to this topic and hope others do also but also send you the piece I started and abandoned when I got sick.

Thanks for posting Harry's piece...it is just so incredible.

Peace,

Mary

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Kay, I have had such a wonderful experience being home so much this past month. The first 10-12 days were not fun but once I started to feel better I could feel myself just being and getting in touch with my creativity again. I have not been able to write or paint because I started doing instead of being. I really really have to discipline myself but I catch myself and back off now instead of ignoring the voice within. I want a quiet life balanced with things I want to do and people I want to see. Since i have felt better, friends have dropped in now and then and I decided that instead of always going to the General Store for coffee or whatever, why not meet a friend right here and enjoy the fire and hot tea? I am working VERY hard on all this. I watched myself from Wed-Saturday start to rev up again and today I backed off and diddled again. The irony of this is I am just trying to get back to where I always was and where Bill and I were. I know I started keeping too too busy after he died because I was fearful of being left out...left alone...forgotten. I have now got it firmly planted in my brain that I have a ton of friends and I will not be forgotten. I will also not be the social butterfly I hate being. At almost 73 I am still learning.

Peace

Mary

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Can I add Peter Russell's wonderful five week course How to meditate without even trying?

It can be found at

http://www.peterrussell.com/HMWET/gift.php

I think it is excellent.

Kay I loved our walkimg meditation. It made me wonder if on my daily walks with Kelbi I should try doing that. Because I am in so much pain in my head I tend to stuff it with stuff and on my walks I listen to the radio or audible because I am frightened of silence. Maybe I am not quite ready for nothing, but the walks are in the country and along the beach and eminently suited to meditation. My heart veers away in fright from the very idea right now so I don't think I'm ready. However I am meditating daily. Mary, you seem to be striving (successfully?) for balance. I too find comfort in being at home, and ts where I feel closest to Pete. I had three visitors yesterday, n,y briefly but nice. The snow hasn't arrived here on the coast. Instead we have horrible sleet and wind. Jan

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Jan, I am so glad you are contributing to this string. I like Peter Russell very much. I need to check out what he is currently doing. I have an old VHS of him that I like and I kept my old player to watch some of those old tapes.

You were speaking about the walking meditation Kay wrote which was lovely. What you might try on your walks is mindfulness...being totally present to what you see and hear (which is what Kay was doing) i.e. you see a tree and you sort of become one with is (you are already anyway) and study the lines, the colors, the texture, the shape as you pass it. You see a bird (if one dares to venture out in your weather) and listen for its song. So your mind IS busy but it is focused on the here and now around you. In the early months after Bill died I, too, could think of nothing but him. gradually you can take other things in and feel ok or even good about it.

As for balance, yes strive is a good word. I overdid it on Wed and Thur. and came close to the edge with this desire to help seniors who are alone. I will in time (not now for sure) create a program of sorts so when someone who is alone and sick or maybe not alone but without assistance, that person has a list of people they can call for help. And everyone on the list can do the same. I had so many friends help me this past month and years really, of caregiving, but I know not all are as blessed as I am. We have one woman who I was asked to take to the local theatre for a shindig a couple of years ago and i showed up and I did not know her name just where she lived. I told her I was Mary Hunt (I short cut it on rare occasions-in stead of Mary Friedel-Hunt which I use 99% of the time) and laughed at me. That was also her name. She is not 100 years old and still laughing.

Try the mindfulness walking. You can even just use your feet by being totally conscious as each foot touches the ground. At a week end meditation retreat I went to last year, the 200+ of us had an entire building (4 floors) on the UW campus and we did walking meditation in our stocking feet on and off all day. It was uplifting. Enough of this. You go, girl.

Peace

Mary

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Jan,

Yes, do try it. I only know that I lived for that time of day and it was very restorative. I'm not able to do that now with Arlie as he is very distracting and requires all of my attention, just to rein him in, he's a handful. But I need to devote some time to meditation and prayer, which I also used to do on my walks.

Right now, I'm afraid I can't focus on anything but my neighbor's lost dog, Miss Piggy. He did not have tags on her, he said her neck is too thick for a collar and a harness bothered her, so now she is out in the cold, no food or water, she's old and it's hard for her to walk (arthritis). If she doesn't make it back this morning I will put out flyers. I don't think she can live long in the elements. Arlie could survive with his thick coat and he'd find water, but Piggy... Arlie and I walked up and down the street calling and listening last night, usually she woofs when we go by, but last night, nothing.

post-914-0-63840100-1358777576_thumb.jpg

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Kay, do let us know about Miss Piggy....I can't imagine that a collar could not have been found that would fit her neck...I hope she is ok and back home.

Mary

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All is well...I had posted about it on FB and a neighbor contacted me and told me the crazy Russian lady that lives down the street often takes in other people's dogs into her house...and doesn't contact the owners. Turns out she not only did that, but even took down the flyer I'd put up! We went over there and got her back. Poor Miss Piggy, she was so glad to be home! And guess what, her owner showed up with a harness and leash in hand, looked like they'd never been used (and our town doesn't sell anything like that so he had to have had it already). He did say he'd have to shut his gate the next time he lets them out, although he hadn't done that earlier in the day when his puppy was out, so I hope he does so they don't get run over or something else happens. Pet ownership is about so much more than providing food and water!

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From a chapter on Silence from Francis Weller's soon to be finished book, "A Trail on the Ground." Francis is the author of Entering the Healing Ground, one of my favorite books on grief and healing. I maintain contact with him and hope perhaps in 2013 or 2014 to host him here in Madison for a 3 day grief ritual.

The soul requires regular intervals of silence, spaces that offer stillness and a quiet that remind us of our deeper relations with a wider world. Silence offers us a wordless place, a spaciousness that invites intimacy with the surrounding world when the sound of our own voice falls away. (Silence: From the Latin, silere, to say nothing.) The practice of silence is one of humility where we make room for other intelligences, other ways of knowing, other styles of being embodied in the lives of the animals, plants, stones and stars. In this way, we acknowledge that the other voices of this world are worth attending to. Indigenous peoples everywhere have long acknowledged the multiple forms of knowing that exist in the world and have honored them in their stories, dances and rituals. Accessing this wisdom required an open and available heart, one made permeable through the practice of silence.

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I think I have too much quiet, too much aloneness.

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I tried a short time of walking meditation and I managed to do it. My walks with Kelbi tend to take nearly an hour and right now that it too long to spend time with just me but a shorter time I think I can do. I did my meditation with Peter Russell yesterday. I nearly chickened out but I did it! I know this is a good thing. My counsellor is coming today. I can't think I have anything to tell him, but was saying this to my friend Sandra and she said wisely that its ok to go over the same things.

One tends to think one should be reporting progress!! I have to get out of that feeling I thinkL

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Good for you on the mindful walk. One thing that you mention often is the feeling that you feel you are not believing at some level that Pete has died. That could be a good topic to discuss with your counselor. I agree, let go of the progress thing. :)

It is 3am here. Wide awake. This does not happen often but I could not get Bill off my mind tonight so I am up drinking tea that relaxes me.

Peace

Mary

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I think I have too much quiet, too much aloneness.

I do understand that, Kay. We need a nice balance. My needs and preferences lean towards the solitude side of the continuum but having friends around matters a lot. I hope you can find that balance for yourself. I think it is more difficult when one is working and driving miles and miles to get to that job...that is tiring and time consuming.

Peace to your heart,

Mary

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