Fableogs

BIXI Queen of Mont Royal

In early September, my partner and I decamped from New York City to Montreal for the rest of the year (and maybe longer). I’m a McGill alum (and Canadian). Ever since I left Montreal, I’ve had a hankering to come back. Pre-pandemic, we’d started talking about coming for a month to see how we liked being here. Then the turbulent spring paused our plans. When we poked our heads above the parapet again to think about the future, Montreal sent up smoke signals. Despite the fact that we were quarantined for the first two weeks, and now we’re subject to red zone restrictions, a month into our sojourn, I love being here. I didn’t arrive in my best-self mental state.…

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Meditation Hands

Re-reading Sharon Salzberg’s Real Happiness recently got me thinking more about the specifics of my meditation practice. Posture, for example, is one of those things I hadn’t been paying close attention to anymore. I don’t mean that I was meditating in slumped over disarray. More that, after some years of practice, I have established my posture. Cross-legged. Seated on a cushion. Back straight. Neck long. Pelvic energy rooting down and my upper body’s energy rising, as if a string were pulling me gently up by the crown of my head. As for my hands, most often, they rest on my thighs, palms down, close enough to my body so that my shoulders and heart can open. Somewhere back in the mists…

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Mountain Bike Meditation

I love mountain biking. In these COVID-times, with all the additional stresses, the sport is a meditative source of grounding, focus and joy. This was not always so. It took me a lot of years to arrive at the relationship I have with the sport (and my bike). I dabbled in mountain biking for many years; i.e. a couple of decades. The first time I tried out mountain biking was more than 30 years ago. I bought a mountain bike to replace the city cruiser I had, figuring that it could do double duty—replace my dilapidated cruiser and be a source of off-road fun exercise too. I couldn’t quite achieve the off-road fun bit. I didn’t trust myself or my…

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30 Minutes to Expand Your Emotional Intelligence

We are tuning forks; constantly responding to the lightest touch of an emotion from within or coming at us from someone else. How can we better attune to our vibrations and those around us, so that we don’t hit the sour notes? Tuning our emotional intelligence is a tricky business. To start with, what does it even mean to be emotionally intelligent? There’s no metric that measures whether we’re there yet, though some have proposed them. What would there look like? You as a Zen monk on a mountaintop, except you are actually on your last nerve in the middle of a high energy urban environment, measuring in at 10 out of 10 on some EI scale? I exaggerate. There…

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500 Days of Meditation … Am I There Yet?

500 uninterrupted days of meditation in a row. Am I there yet? I don’t know. No. Turns out there is nowhere to go, except be. A message that meditation delivers and redelivers over a long haul. A note that is particularly poignant in this current moment, when we want nothing more than to get back to normal and not be in this moment. Meditation asks us to notice. To notice how and what we label—this is a crisis, that’s normal, I don’t like this, I like that. Since meditation is nothing but a practice of noticing; here’s what I’ve noticed: When will I remember? I’m now almost able to remember to sit without a prompt. I still try to leave…

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COVID MoodCoaster

Not that my moods didn’t swing from time to time before, but now they are subject to the shelter-in-place amplification factor. On any given day the non-stop voice in my head drags me along on her wild ass rollercoaster ride, hands flung up in the air, hair a streaming tangle in the wind … You’re so ridiculously lucky to be able to play out here in the snow on these beautiful mountains. Look at that view. Breathe that air. Oh *&%@, who could possibly keep their balance on this ungroomed mess. You’re the biggest loser on skis. Don’t ever ski again. You are so Zen after that new breath meditation. You’re cruising right down the middle of The Middle Way.…

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Love in the Time of COVID19

We are living a societal crisis. Our survival instincts threaten our better nature. Hoarding, profiteering, getting a gun—these might help you individually in the short term, but at the cost of our collective wellbeing. Just as violence does not solve violence, nor will our survival instincts help society survive. We live in community, because we aspire to something far greater than survival. More than ever, we have to lead with love in all our decisions and actions. Love is an individual and collective imperative, if we are to get through this moment with grace, compassion and a flourishing society. A key tool is the practice of embodied mindfulness—tuning into all five channels of intelligence available to us, instead of the…

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Oh The Things I’m Scared Of!—Meditating on My Fears

I invited Fear to speak her mind today during my daily meditation, a practice I’ve been developing for some time now and have written about elsewhere. She started in on a pretty standard list: Fear of injury (a few weeks earlier an acquaintance had fallen 40-feet and shattered his feet and ankle bones, so I feel more vulnerable than usual, and mindful of my luck) Fear that my new workshop venture will fail Fear of irrelevance (which surprised me, because I don’t think of myself as particularly relevant anyhow) Fear of death Then Fear went wild. I’d never heard her this animated. She started chanting, death and failure, death and failure, death and failure, over and over. I was disconcerted,…

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If You Consume It, Use It!

This whole business of consuming, then putting off using what we’ve consumed is weighing on me. We get hot for some new thing, that we need-want, and then we don’t even use it right away. The first weekend of February, I was in Springfield, Missouri with an afternoon to myself. A sunny day. A new downtown to explore. I considered whether I wanted to roam around looking in shops. Then I realized, oh, it’s February 1st and I’m taking no-shopping pauses in the even months. My realization was followed closely by relief. I wasn’t going to visit the shops, because I wasn’t going to shop. Instead, I did what I really wanted to do. All afternoon, I read my novel…

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14 Things I Noticed During 365+ Straight Days of Meditation

Yesterday marked my 365th consecutive day of meditation. Yes, I aimed for that goal. Yes, that’s a paradox. Throughout the year, I’ve shared my noticings along the way. As I close out this chapter of my streak, here are some last noticings. Their lastness does not bestow on them any added importance compared to all the other noticings of the year. They are, as the dishes before and after enlightenment, more moments accumulated over the course of a year of consecutive days of meditation: The past year has not been bliss, despite my daily sit. I have gone through low periods. I’m in one now. Roaming the desert of not knowing what my next creative project is. Plus, a pinched…

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