Reflections on Life Thus Far

My life. My story: Exploring mental health, spirituality, meditation & random thoughts I have


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Nearly A Year Gone

Oh my, I can’t believe I have been MIA (missing in action) for a year and a day! It’s a wonder any of you are left following my blog since I haven’t updated you with anything. But I just didn’t feel like writing. You maybe know how it is when you just get tired of something and have to be away from it to appreciate it again, well it’s like that.

There have been other reasons too, primarily I started to feel phony using a pseudonym to hide behind when I blog. But I thought about it and so far don’t feel comfortable ‘outing myself’ totally to anyone who may read this. So I continue as ‘Natalya’ for the time being anyway. Maybe in the future I’ll decide I have nothing to lose being an ‘open book’ online but not yet. It takes a lot for me to share myself not knowing who will read my words.

A lot has happened in some ways but in other ways things seem much the same to the casual observer. I am still me but something has shifted and I can never go back.

Thank you for being here and reading.

©Natalya for Reflections on Life Thus Far,2015.

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Divine Offering

divine offering .. BY DUIRWAIGH STUDIOS

“There is no one in the universe more dear to us than ourselves. The mind may travel in a thousand directions, but it will find no one else more beloved. The moment you see how important it is to love yourself, you will stop making others suffer.” Thich Nhat Hanh


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Meditation Friend

Yesterday, I got lucky-not that kind of lucky but lucky to find a great meditation cushion

English: A zafu, the pouffe-shaped traditional...

English: A zafu, the pouffe-shaped traditional seat cushion used in zazen (sitting meditation). This one is – as the horizontal name tag reveals – of western make. Deutsch: Ein Zafu, das puffförmige traditionelle Sitzkissen im Zazen (Sitzmeditation). Dieses Exemplar stammt – am waagerechten Namensschild erkennbar – aus westlicher Fertigung. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

at Winners (a store). It’s purple and filled with buckwheat shells which makes it heavy but very good to sit on. Deepak Chopra made the cushion; okay, likely he designed it and someone else made it but you know what I mean hopefully. It has the seven major chakras embroidered on the top and I am just very pleased I came across it when I did because I’ve been wanting a meditation cushion for awhile now. They can be a bit expensive though so I hadn’t managed to get one but this one was only $20 because Winners is a department store that sells stuff with either slight flaws, minor defects, seconds from a manufacturer/designer and that sort of thing. Long story short, I have a pretty purple meditation cushion (zafu pillow) and am quite enthused about it.

Now I can resume my meditation practice I stopped back in February after my inflatable, portable meditation cushion had a leak and wouldn’t retain air for long. I like the one I got yesterday a lot better anyway so I am not missing my old cushion. Now, I know I could have meditated without a cushion but I just didn’t feel inspired without a proper pillow to sit on. I need to feel like I am creating an atmosphere when I meditate and I didn’t feel it when sitting on my bed’s pillows or on a flat mat. Rolled up towels also left me uninspired. Wow, I am rambling so will quit here.

In other news, I started to put the hardware up for the new drape rod and decided not to continue until I can get a drill because attempting to screw a screw into a stud in the wall with a regular old screwdriver is torture. It took me over an hour to manually get a screw into a stud in the wall about 80% of the way. Yes, I am lacking in muscle in my arms but it shouldn’t be so darn hard to get  a screw in the wall just because it’s in a stud. I might try to finish the window I started but the other window will have to wait ’til I get a drill because my arms hurt!

I hope you’re all having a great Friday and enjoy your weekend.

©Natalya, 2013.


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Day 4 of 30 Day Challenge

Question/Discuss: Your views on religion?

Religion can be a double edge sword in terms of its ability to do good or damage in its name.

English: World Religions by percentage accordi...

English: World Religions by percentage according to CIA World Factbook 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many, if not all, organized religions promote some kind of message of love for one’s fellow neighbor so to speak. In fact most religions promote the same fundamental values but present them in different guises depending on culture and, in some cases, geography. These days geography matters less for practicing a religion but it still bears some influence. The messages are typically similar but some focus on certain aspects of those messages over others.

My opinion is that ALL organized religions are simply expressions of the same thing but “dressed up” differently based on culture and location. I believe the world religions are but different “paths” to take that get you to the same destination in the “end”. One religion may refer to the destination as Heaven and another as reincarnation or whatever but none of us know exactly where we will end up when we die. Atheists are certain we are but physical bodies and when we die that is it, nothing else happens to us. But even if we renounce belief in the metaphysical there will still be “something” that happens to us. Perhaps the Atheists are correct and we simply go back to the earth once decomposed. Still, many of us believe in some type of continuation of consciousness, soul or spirit after death. We may argue over “where” the consciousness, soul/spirit goes but we at least agree there is consciousness, a soul or spirit to continue after our body dies.

As to whether or not I believe there should or should not be religion I don’t know. Religion gives a moral framework for people who look outside themselves for guidance; as well as comfort to those looking for “tidy” explanations as to why certain things happen. I see nothing intrinsically “wrong” with organized religion per se. It is what the believer makes it. One can be dogmatic or flexible within the same religion. You can find fundamentalists in every religion in one form or another. Personality and culture tends to dictate which particular religion we gravitate toward if we choose one. I think corruption can happen in anything that holds power and has a hierarchical system in place.

Personally I find it difficult to label myself as anything. I once called myself Buddhist but it

Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are one, a ...

Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are one, a litang style painting portraying three men laughing by a river stream, 12th century, Song Dynasty. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

became a problem because it is a conceptual division. Each label we attach to ourselves creates division between “us” and “them”, those not like us or with different beliefs. I also have trouble defining my beliefs because I believe things I have realized on my own in quiet contemplation rather than through texts. Contemplative philosophies appeal to me more so than anything. My difficulty is I don’t “buy into” the complete religion or philosophy of Buddhism but I identify the closest with its tenets over any other, aside from Taoism and Confucianism. Even those I can’t say I follow 100%.

All of my beliefs I arrived at through my own contemplations so the labels I give myself are ad hoc since they are chosen by reading about the various religions and philosophies once I have had my own realizations. Apropos that admission my identification with any one religion is fluid, changing as I become aware of something I hadn’t been before. On occasion I read about something and resonate with it so incorporate it into my system of beliefs. Some days I think about just telling people I’m a Secular Humanist to simplify things even if not totally accurate! lol

©Anya of Finding Health After Illness for Natalya, 2013.

 

 

 


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Organized Chaos

A monk sweeping at his temple in Dehiwalla

A monk sweeping at his temple in Dehiwalla (Photo credit: Oatsandsugar)

As I continue my Spring cleaning I am getting outside more to work on the yard. It seems that there is a sort of momentum that has come about as a result of my cleaning efforts. Even my dad is beginning to assess what he needs to hold on to or get rid of. I never imagined Spring cleaning could develop into a part of my daily life. For a long time I existed in clutter and dirt but once I started cleaning it’s been impossible to go back. There has been a steady development from decluttering to actually managing to turn to smaller details. It used to be so hard to clean because of all the clutter but as I have gotten rid of so much it’s become easier to keep the ball rolling so to speak. A clean and tidy space sounds like no big deal but it is a da*n miracle in my house. My mother was a compulsive hoarder when she was still alive so housework was nearly impossible. Now I can think about cleaning without wondering how on earth I will manage it because there’s so much stuff in the way. It just feels so liberating! Unless you have lived with a compulsive hoarder for years you may not fully appreciate the gravity of my experience and feelings. It’s hard to convey the utter despair, frustration and lethargy that can descend in such an atmosphere of over cluttering and dirt. Just moving about is hard because of everything that is in the way. Now I am actually able to move about easily and see the surface of things again! I can even clean them!

There are still areas of my home needing decluttering and cleaning but I can identify them now whereas before everything was requiring decluttering and cleaning! Before I thought in terms of what areas were clean and how might I keep them that way in such an environment of disorganization and chaos. So I am truly grateful these days for having the energy to continue my efforts in decluttering and cleaning. These are simple things but so important to your wellness. Have you ever noticed the effects a dirty, cluttered room has on your mood or energy levels? It literally can zap your good mood and energy if you have to stay in it any length of time. Just imagine living like that for years! I had no control over anything as a child so I developed an eating disorder. For 15 years I either starved or deprived myself of food to stay very underweight. A part of the reason I did that was to feel like I had some kind of power in my life. My parents were quite neglectful so didn’t consider my low weight an issue. Thankfully, I am in a healthier state these days.

Spring cleaning has brought about a sense of calm and peace in my life never present before. I really delight in the simple  things. A clean bathroom or dust free shelf is enough to give me a feeling of balance. When I look about and see order and organization after so many awful years of disaster I smile inwardly. Not feeling a sense of shame when someone unexpectedly shows up for a visit is worth its weight in gold. Life can be hard but keeping a Zen-like environment can be extremely helpful for bringing that sense of calm and peace I mentioned earlier. Attending to one’s living space is not about impressing others but to reflect the respect you have for yourself. I realize lots of people clean for other reasons but to me it is a measure of how much I respect myself. If I leave my living space to get cluttered and dirty I feel that means I don’t value myself very much. I’m sure there are a number of interpretations one could find that are positive but for me dirt and clutter is a negative thing.

How do you view clutter and dirt in your living space? Is it something you can live with or do you need to keep things more in order?

©Anya, 2013.

Fun & Inspirational Pictures

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LOL, I love this one!

I thought this one was very funny! Grumpy Cat for Pope! 🙂 (yes, I know Grumpy cat s a girl).

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