I have been meditating, off and on, for the past 17 years. I would love to be able to say that throughout those years, my practice hasn’t wavered, that it has stayed consistent. But as with the myriad other fluctuations that come with life’s events, my practice has waxed and waned, stagnated, and at times did not happen for months at a time.

Early in November, I made the decision to deepen my practice and make it to my meditation cushion on a daily basis, for 15 minutes each day. I could write about the profound ways in which meditation continues to transform my experience, and the ways in which my view of my inner and outer world continues to evolve. Those words would either be received with enthusiastic ‘YES’ nods from those who share my experience, or might not make much sense to others. I do encourage you to give this meditation ‘thing’ a try and see what you make of it. Like me, you might find it a bit frustrating at first and leave it for a short — or a long — while. I do encourage you to stick with the practice, because that’s exactly what it is, a practice. As with any other practice in life, your meditation will not always be flowery and light, but the roots we plant by sitting each day continue to deepen, inviting us to delve further into the raw honesty of our experience. That experience itself is not perfect or pretty, but that is precisely the magic of being here. Everything else falls away as we recognize the answers that have been before us all along.

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I also encourage you to try different forms of meditation. I tend to practise mindfulness meditation, but another form to which I come back when I feel some anxiety about a situation is japa, the repetition of mantra. For japa, I use a mala with 108 beads. As I allow each bead to slide between my fingers, I repeat a mantra, for a total of 108 times. We started making malas a few months ago and have added them to our webstore over the past weekend, after previously only showcasing them at craft shows.

The beautiful mala pictured above is made of Bayong, Whitewood and Sandalwood beads, and the pendant is made of Orangeheart, with turquoise inlay. The image in the centre is of the elephant deity Ganesha, the remover of obstacles.

My Reiki teacher introduced me to the Ganesha mantra in 2008, and that chant has led me to further explore japa meditation. While giving birth to our second child, as Pawel held my hand and our two midwives worked at the foot of the bed in our bedroom, I silently continued to chant, Om gam ganapataye namaha, over and over again. As the pain I felt due to the baby’s posterior positioning intensified with each contraction, I continued to chant and trust that all was going to be well. Our Ganesha malas were inspired by this and other incredible, honest, deep experiences we have been fortunate to live through.

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Each of our malas is unique and was designed and assembled by yours truly. As with all our other pendants, the ones on the malas were crafted by Pawel. We hope you will enjoy them.

We’ve even made our jewellery easier for you to enjoy with our special big holiday sale. For the next two weeks, any item in our webstore is 25% off, and we will cover the shipping anywhere in the world when you place an order of a minimum of $100. This is the perfect time to purchase unique gifts for the special people on your list.

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Wishing you a great week,

Katia

 

It happened about a month ago on a rainy Monday night. I was feeling cold and tired after a day of rushing about, taking care of mundane tasks, ending my day by teaching a late class at a local studio. By the time I arrived at home, I was very ready to tuck myself into bed with a heated blanket.

And then I remembered. I made a promise to my fellow knitters to post a photo of my finished project. Years ago, upon first joining Facebook, I immediately found a group dedicated to the knitting obsessed. The private group has since grown to have some 31,400 members. And the tribe continues to grow, sharing various works in process (WIPs), unfinished objects (UFOs), and finished projects, of course.

Any dedicated knitter, crocheter, or crafter of any kind will immediately understand the excitement and the urge to celebrate a fresh-off-the-needles piece, the stitches of which have just been cast off. Some of us wait until after it’s been blocked to take that final exhalation, have a celebratory glass of wine, and snap a photo to post on social media.

On that rainy evening, I asked Pawel to take a quick photo of tired me wearing the vest I had made as a gift for my mom’s birthday. In fact, I needed two photos — one of the front of the piece and another of the back. The tired version of me also neglected to think of just how critical I would suddenly start to feel upon seeing the photos.

“Oh, I’m wearing my yoga clothes with a hand-knitted vest,” I complained loudly. “And my hair doesn’t look great. Take another one!”

Our quick snapshot was followed by about 10 other snapshots, of which I had to choose two photos to share.

“Should I even bother sharing these?” I asked myself over and over for probably about two minutes before finally taking a deep breath and clicking ‘post.’

I received many compliments on the piece and I suspect not many of the members noticed the yoga clothes I’m wearing in the photos.

With another cringe, a month later, I’ll share the photos with you now.

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Do you ever feel nervous about posting photos or stories on social media? Or, has sharing become second-nature for you? Please leave a comment to answer these questions, or to share your stories.

Have a great, brave week!

Katia

Dharma Wanderlust

“I’m going to do it,” I enthusiastically announced to Pawel about a month ago. “Now is a great time to go ahead with a project like that. After all, there might never be a ‘perfect time’ to pursue it.”

As always, he supported me in my plan. Without deadlines, I could spend the entire day hovering in the land of daydreams, without producing anything. A deadline was going to be great for me.

Fueled by this spark of optimism, I headed over to the NaNoWriMo website and created an account. Then, I came up with my plan of action, choosing the month of October to prepare the plot, character development, and other details of my novel in preparation for the first day of November, when I was to sit down and write approximately 1,670 words. The idea of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is simple: sit down every day from the 1st to the 30th of November and write a novel. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but after November 30th, I would have written 50,000 words.

The month of October turned out to be an interesting one, and without going into too many personal details, I will say that the only time I managed to carve out for writing was the weekly online writing class I’m currently taking through Firefly Creative Writing Studio, as well as a few minutes, here and there, to work on the homework projects assigned.

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About a week and a half ago, I started to have doubts. I confided to Pawel that I was no longer feeling the rush of excitement at the prospect of sitting down every day to write a certain number of words.

“I have been running off my feet since the beginning of September. When am I going to make the time to take on another project?”

“You’d have to write late at night, after the kids have gone to bed,” was his simple reply.

“But I can’t keep my eyes open or think clearly past 9 p.m. on most nights.” I stated this without a hint of complaint in my voice. This is a fact to which I can finally, after many years of denial, confess with ease.

And that’s when I realized that I would need to back out of the NaNoWriMo idea. Feeling deflated, I headed over to the website and with a loud sigh, deleted my account.

The wave of relief that flooded a few minutes later was a surprise to me. Was I not supposed to feel sad and disappointed that I had let something drop? Instead, I realized I freed up my time to focus on what has already been set in motion and on which I have been working, in my own subtle way, for a while.

Then, I read a post last week on Facebook, by Elizabeth Gilbert, that helped me to make clear sense of my feelings regarding this failed project. In her post, she writes about living her dream and letting go of what did not serve her. In E. Gilbert’s words:

I was thinking today about all the other paths that I did not take in life, no matter how shiny and appealing they may have looked. I’ve had the possibility of living so many different kinds of life that could have been a dream for somebody else. I never choose those lives. I’ve never lived the dreams that other people wanted for themselves — nor have I lived the dreams that other people may have wanted for me.”

It has always been my dream to write a novel. But at this point in my life, I am not prepared to sacrifice my much-needed sleep to work on this project every day for a month. You may judge me for this, dear reader, and I am also okay with that.

Instead of taking on a project that might push me past the Type-A edge, I am choosing to focus my energy during the month of November on leading new yoga classes that have just been added to my schedule (I will update our website with this information shortly), playing outside with my family, recommitting to my daily meditation practice, working on Christmas gifts that I am making, and getting as much rest as possible.

As for my novel, I have found a medium that I think will work well for me. I have one more writing class in the series, scheduled this week, and to keep my creative momentum on the go, I have made a commitment to continue to reserve the same evening each week, the same two hours, to sit down and write, write, write my heart out. It might take me two years to finish my book at this pace. That’s fine. I’m setting my own deadline.

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As E. Gilbert continues in the same post:

Ask yourself this question, whenever you are given any choice or opportunity. Ask: “Will saying YES to this path bring me closer to the source that brings me to life? Or will it take me further away?”

So, here’s to being more gentle with ourselves and choosing to move away from stress, continuing to challenge ourselves, but in a sustainable way, without ever allowing ourselves to deplete our precious reserves.

I’m curious to know how you create the delicate balance between setting challenging deadlines for yourself and working diligently while also making more space in your life for what truly matters. If you would like to share your ideas, please leave a comment.

Katia

Dharma Wanderlust