Friday, January 29, 2016


Piano- an adjective meaning subdued, quiet, or soft

This is a week of rehearsals for the piano recital coming up tomorrow. Our venue is a large church chapel made to be acoustically beautiful and responsive. So responsive that I am reminding my young pianists to find the quietest sound possible so that their playing can stay light and bright instead of heavy and bombastic.

                                              There is a pedal for that

Most pianos have a quiet pedal which moves the whole keyboard over a centimeter so that the hammers do not hit all the strings, creating a more subdued sound. We are trying that pedal to see if it will help us keep sounds from becoming harsh.

There is nothing more piercing than a few notes played gently and painfully soft. Our ears strain to hear yet feel each vibration to the very soul. 

God created sounds that play our hearts

Monday, January 25, 2016

Mindful Monday- Progress

Pay Attention to where you eat, how you eat, and why you eat.

   I have made some progress this month on eating mindfully. My memory of the best meals is bright. Those were when I set the table, alone or with my family, and prepared my space to be pleasing and inviting. Prayer started me off to remember Him and thank him for my plenty which I can take for granted.
   I leave this table setting all day long. My eyes scan the bright colors and I look forward to the rest involved with taking time to eat, time for just eating, not reading, and not television. Have I mastered this habit? No, sadly many days I go back to escaping myself. Yes, I meant escaping my present experiences. Somehow along the path of bringing my family of seven to the table together each evening I lost the desire to cherish eating. I no longer elevated the time between my husband and I. He went off with his tray to the computer, in his office, and I hunched over my food while watching TV. Writing these words makes me feel the error of my ways. I'll be working on this for more than just January. When I pick up my theme of doing one thing at a time I will certainly circle back to mindful eating.

                             More about mindfulness here.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Present And Accounted For

        Are you all here, present and accounted for?

Being present is a theme in my life. Instead of enumerating where I am not present I want to make a list of events in my life where I am totally present. The list will be shorter this way.
  1. Meditating is going better . I can stay in my body, fully present for at least five minutes.
  2. I am present when I am learning a new piece on the piano.
  3. I am present when I walk for any amount of time because of my knee and foot problems. I have to stay aware or,,,,,down,,,,,,I go.
  4. I am present when I hug my grandchildren. I have trained myself to really look into their eyes
  5. I am present when I teach piano, most of there time. 

What I find so perplexing about being human is the huge resistance my mind exerts to staying present. I feel it whenever I do anything creative. There is a drag on my will to act which sends my mind to distractions often quite ludicrous. It is a stickiness which I call the Unmaker. I am a daughter of a creative God and his inspiration is uplifting and in the now. There is also the Unmaker who follows close behind, jealous of any move I make towards the light of creating. He lives in the past and catapults my futurizing mind toward fiction. God waits for me in the present. He speaks to me in the now.

"WHAT I KNOW There's a secret that real writers know that wannabe writers don't, and the secret is this: It's not the writing part that's hard. What's hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance." from "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield, Shawn Coyne

I write on Fridays with a large group who inspire me. Only five minutes and without much thought to perfection. I write, prompted by one word that sends my thoughts to the keyboard and hopefully make sense.

More about mindfulness here.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Mindful Monday- Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence- the ability to accurately perceive emotions, understand their meanings, use them, and manage them in productive ways.

This month of January my one little word is showing up at the table. Being mindful of the sensory experience of eating is one step but I believe I also need to address the emotional smorgasbord I deal with from meal to meal and in-between. 

Too often the business of eating is about calming my stress. Teaching and talking with people all day makes me conform to my goals and intentions. When it is time for a meal I have the desire to rebel. Worse is that often I have the desire to vegetate, the exact opposite of being mindful. What I know is often over-shadowed by what I want. Take for example my decision yesterday to have hot chocolate after dinner. I made a conscious choice to avoid added sugar this month. I have not had candy, pastries, cookies, at all. Except, last night, I decide to rebel. In hindsight I see that the day required much of my emotional intelligence. I played the organ for church, taught a spiritual lesson to 18 people, made dinner for six, and entertained three granddaughters for the rest of the afternoon while their dads watched football. I enjoyed it all but I was emotionally finished. Making wise decisions with an emotional intelligence deficit is impossible. 

"The goal is to take care of the business of the body-to feed it well and negotiate the best deal for your health and well-being"

                              More about mindfulness here.

Friday, January 15, 2016


Take time, lose time, stretch time, spend time, waste time, we seem obsessed with the ethereal concept of time.

   I'm going to meditate for 15 minutes. In and out, my breath seems jagged. Wish I had more stomach muscles so that I could feel them engage when I hold my breath. Hold my breath? Why am I holding my breath? Oh yeah, extend your breath by slightly holding at the inhale and the exhale. My foot feels jammed into the floor. I should put a blanket on my mat to make it softer. Knees are tight but not bad. Ahh, my knees, when will I get a doctor's opinion about whether they are shot? I hate doctors. No time to start that process. I'm holding my breath again. Long exhale.........I should scan my shoulders. Are they tight? Tiny twinge in my neck. That is where I hold all my tension. I'll put my shoulders back and sit up straighter. That feels good. Has it been 15 minutes yet? Peeking at the clock......What, only three minutes have passed. I think I may found the secret to stopping time. Meditation!

I write on Fridays with a large group who inspire me. Only five minutes and without much thought to perfection. I write, prompted by one word that sends my thoughts to the keyboard and hopefully make sense.

More about mindfulness here.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Mindful Monday- Quotation

Pay Attention By Being Mindful

That is my title for the year. As I pay attention to the aspects of my life that I am ignoring or taking for granted I desire connectedness. Connectedness means taking responsibility out of love and desire to serve.

      This month I am trying to pay attention to my relationship to the food I eat. To see it, smell it and taste it as real nourishment to body and soul. How am I doing? I have had several very good moments. They were at the table and started with prayer. Real prayer, not the ramble of a memorized group of trite statements. And, it was nourishing. Then I had a bout of food poisoning. I struggled with whether this meal was staying in or whether it was coming out. That taught me a different lesson. My body tells me what I need. My hearing is bad. When it finally speaks with clarity and rather loudly, there is nothing to do but listen. I don't like connectedness that is coercive. It would be better to listen attentively and respond lovingly. Connectedness to my body is rising to the surface of my life. I welcome it. 

"Every reckoning starts with giving permission to engage with emotion. The next step is paying attention- taking a deep breath and becoming mindful of what we're feeling."
Brent Brown

More about mindfulness here.

Friday, January 8, 2016


                                                            Mindful Eating

I have a problem. I am missing out. Eating could be more enjoyable if I savored more. So first I need to use my senses. It can start with preparation. Bring my mind to the lush green of the kale. Feel the knife move through the cells of the fresh greens. The freshly washed leaves curl and twist protecting themselves from division. They burst with life. Move slowly and with gratitude. My Heavenly Father has provided me with plenty. 

    First acknowledge Him in prayer, then breathe. His power sustains the kale. His power sustains my very ability to be on this planet. Savor the sight, the smell, the taste of life.

I write on Fridays with a large group who inspire me. Only five minutes and without much thought to perfection. I write, prompted by one word that sends my thoughts to the keyboard and hopefully make sense.

More about mindfulness here.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Mindful Monday- Definition

Attentive, aware, careful

To be mindful is to be completely aware of what is happening in the present, to be fully aware of all that is going on within ourselves and all that is happening around us, from moment to moment, without judgement or preconceived notions.
Thich Nhat Hanh

If I were mindful of the moment would I make better eating choices? That is the question I am asking myself this month of January. 

Am I hungry?

Arrange the food in front of yourself at a table.
Look at the food
Take a breath before eating.
Smell the food.
Taste the food.

I am taking a challenge this month to refrain from eating sweet treats. No chocolate, cookies, ice-cream, or other baked goods. I'd like to see how deep my addiction to sugar really is. It could be a huge help to my joints and insulin levels. I am not diabetic but I certainly could walk that road if I don't get a handle on this problem. I don't know how to replace the social habits that accompany sugar indulgence. Going to the bakery is a social event. Could I get the same feeling from visiting the produce section at the grocery store?

This is Mindful Monday. Click here to see other Mindful Monday posts.