The welcoming smell of coffee brewing in the early morning. ☕️

Today’s papaya harvest. The two long ones are Strawberry papayas, our first.

The last 15 minutes or so has been spent unsubscribing from lists that either no longer serve me or that I no longer read. I’m amazed at how much I put off simply clicking that unsubscribe button, which results in a clogged up Inbox that looks busier than it really is.

Tulip petals.

Empty Maui Mall parking lot.

There are a couple of birds singing their hearts out outside, and I do not know what they are. The songs remind me of the British Blackbird. I use to know the British birds, but only know and recognize a couple here in Hawaii. Something to rectify.

We might be in the middle of a pandemic, but I can see four building projects from my house. There aren’t many visitors coming to the islands, but some residents appear busy.

Late night words.

Questions for Fastmail users - who came from gmail with a custom domain. Is migration easy and quick? Is there any danger of lost or missing emails during migration? I have read the migration instructions, but wanted to inquire as to on the ground user experience.

Tech question:

I am using the Minos theme for my business site. I wondered if it is possible to add an image of my avatar next to title on the top line of the site? If you can help, and there is not enough space here, my contact details are here. Thank you in advance.

I’m sure that I am encountering more people not signaling when they make a turn while driving? Is it Maui, me and my intolerance, or something else? Flummoxed 🤷🏼‍♂️

On this Micro Monday I would like to recommend @Miraz, even though it will be Tuesday with her! 😊 For sharing the beautiful part of New Zealand where she lives, check out @LoveWaikawaBeach as well, and for her work on @custom to help users customize their sites.

Garden harvest. A first with the eggplants. The tomatoes are ending their productive cycle with the current plants. That bowl was a lot more full a few days ago.

I had to use the panorama feature on the iPhone to capture this double rainbow. 🌈

To the clifftop.

Another Studio Ghibli evening last night. Grave of the Fireflies this time. As others here have some said, the story the movie tells is tragic & sad, but it is told so well & in a way that I believe only good animation can. Reflecting afterwards on the tragedy of war. 🍿

I watch Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke last night, as I make my way through the animation studio’s movies now on HBO Max. And what a visual treat it was, both the animation and the story. 🍿

The forecast said no rain today. Here it comes.

I’ve been feeling washed out for the last couple of days. Today has been the slowest day. The symptoms remind me of chronic fatigue that I had a couple of decades back. Sometimes if I push myself too hard physically or emotionally the fatigue resurfaces, and I just have to stop.

It has been a Studio Ghibli weekend. I saw,

  • From Up on Poppy Hill on Friday, and
  • My Neighbor Totoro this evening.

I thoroughly enjoyed them both. Wonderful animation and such attention to detail. 🍿

I have just finished reading The Briefcase by Hiromi Kawakami. A simple love story that I enjoyed. 📚

May Meditation Nudge 31

This is an ongoing series running through May to compliment the twice weekly meditation sessions that I will be hosting on YouTube. If you have any questions, please contact me.

I want to finish up the May Meditation Nudges with a short reflection on what external support we can offer our meditation practice. By that I mean, what we can do away from our formal meditation practice, out in our daily life, to aid our meditation practice.

When I say the “meditation”, I think of someone sitting cross legged on a cushion, motionless and quiet, engaged in some sort of internal activity. However, meditation does not happen in isolation of our time on the meditation cushion. In the same way that our meditation practice can effect how we are in our daily life, so can how we act in our daily life effects our time meditating.

How so?

When we sit to meditate, we bring our state of mind in that moment to our practice. If we are feeling peaceful, that will be a basis for our practice. If we are feeling upset, that will be present as we sit. If we are feeling annoyed or angry, that annoyance and the story behind it will be a distracting presence through our time sitting.

So if we can maintain an awareness of our state of mind while we are out and about, it can aid what we bring to the cushion. Easier said than done, yes, but if we implement some guidelines that process can be helped.

This is where what I am calling Boundaries comes in.

A boundary is a voluntary course of action that you choose to bring into your life to help you in your meditation practice. What might this look like?

First notice the emphasis on ‘voluntary’. You are not being made to do anything. Rather you are choosing to do something because of the benefits that you see that you will receive it. How your choice will serve you in training your mind. This is about looking honestly at our actions and asking ourselves what is serving us and what is not? What actions are beneficial and which are hurting us and/or others? How certain ways of being create an agitation, a tendency in the mind to act. These tendencies or habits sit in the mind waiting for the right causes to come along and then we act. By training ourselves not to act in a given way, the mind becomes more stable, more peaceful. Let me explore an example.

Perhaps I have a tendency to speak ill of people. With my meditation practice in mind, I ask myself honestly how this is serving me? Am I a better person because of this? Is this a habit that I want to take into the future, or would I like to change this way of being? I choose to change this habit and so I decide to refrain from speaking ill of people - that is a boundary I choose to bring into my life. Now being honest with myself I know that I am not going to be able to stop doing this overnight. It might be a well ingrained habit. So I slip back into old habits at times. To support myself, I can bring a small practice into my life.

  • When I wake up in the morning I resolve to myself that I will not engage in speaking ill of people
  • As I go through the day I use awareness and mindfulness to watch what I say and think.
  • If I slip up and catch myself doing what I am trying not to do, I use as best I can (in the situation that I am in) the same tools that I use in my meditation practice - when I break into my old habits, I note it and with no judgement change what I am doing.
  • At the end of the day I review how I got on. Where I kept to my intended path, I celebrate. Where I slipped up, I deepen my resolve to break from old habits.
  • This is not about harsh judgement and beating myself up for mistakes made, rather an honest recognition of where I want to get to and what I want to leave behind.
  • Having an accountability buddy, somebody who supports you in your aims can also be helpful. Someone who from time to time you checkin with. Someone who doesn’t judge you, but is behind you in your goals and can offer encouragement.

I invite you to pick a habit or two that is not serving you, and bring this simple practice in to help your meditation practice.

I wondered if anyone here uses Calibre, the ebook organizer software? If so, how or what do you use it for? I am looking at it as a tool to take books off my Kindle, and then have the choice to read them elsewhere should I choose to. Is that feasible?

May Meditation Nudge 30

This is an ongoing series running through May to compliment the twice weekly meditation sessions that I will be hosting on YouTube. If you have any questions, please contact me.

Keeping it light
I have spoken during these May Meditation Nudges of the importance of just showing up, of sitting with our emotions regardless of what arises and the need for vulnerability. This might appear on the face of it as though meditation is rather an ordeal, especially when I speak about meditation being a marathon and not a sprint. It might seem that through embarking on meditation practice, you are setting yourself up for a long, hard, slog.

First, from my experience that is not so. For me meditation has not been a slog, but one of the greatest gifts that I have given myself.

Secondly, the importance here is in keeping a lightness in our practice. When emotions and difficult states of mind arise in practice, the instruction is to gently note the distraction and with no judgement, return to the object of meditation. How ever often there is distraction, we approach the thoughts with the same gentle equanimity.

With time, by being present in this way with what arises in the mind we develop a more intimate relationship with our emotions and with ourselves. The fear diminishes, fear of those emotions that we don’t know because we have chosen to avoid them. Through our meditation practice those emotions are no longer strangers. When someone else acts in a way that we react against because it is a reflection of an aspect of ourselves, we see that for what it is. Our awareness of ourselves creates a greater awareness of how we and the world around us is working. Meditation opens us up to who we are and to the world.

Gentleness, lightness, humour, all of these are what enable us to be with ourselves, to be with what arises in our mind in such a way that we can work with it. Being heavy is not going to solve the problems. We need a lightness of being in ourselves to have the openness to transform our heart.

May Meditation Nudge 29

This is an ongoing series running through May to compliment the twice weekly meditation sessions that I will be hosting on YouTube. If you have any questions, please contact me.

Hear, reflect, meditate
Within the tradition that I was taught meditation, three steps were explained leading up to engaging in a meditation practice.

  1. Hear or read the teaching/explanation.
  2. Reflect on what you have heard or read.
  3. Meditate using that method.

Here’s how this works.

  • First you hear or read instruction on a particular subject of meditation.
  • Second, you spend some time reflecting on what you have heard. Does it ring true for you, in your heart? Don’t just take it on board because a well known author or teacher has said something. Make sure that the words ring true for you. If something doesn’t sound right, go and seek out clarification in the same way that you would ask questions about something new that you are trying to learn about. Discuss, explore, get clear in your own mind.
  • Finally, once it is clear to you, once you understand what is being spoken about, meditate on the subject. Familiarize yourself with the idea. Focus on the idea so that the idea becomes you, so that you internalize the idea and make it your own.

I’ll add a fourth stage to this. If something really does not work for you as a result of the reflection stage, put it on the shelf for now. Come back to it at another time when maybe other information or happenings in your life might make you choose to revisit the subject. Or simply discard it. Don’t try and work with something that does not ring true for you.