Further Training Required

Posted on February 16, 2016


I’m writing this while overlooking the green rolling hills of Petaluma, CA. I’m on retreat right now, a Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy retreat, and the majority of the time is spent in meditation. There are periods of inquiry, where we discuss with the creators of this therapeutic modality the “nuts and bolts,” but ultimately, this retreat’s intention seems to be to help us uncover, from our own experience, the nature of mind so that we may help others do the same.

I’m a planner. Plans plans plans. Big ones, little ones, ones that take years to accomplish, ones that are accomplished within a single meditation sitting. My mind makes plans. It’s an interesting thing to witness, and an even more interesting thing to experience. That’s probably why it happens. I’m wildly interested in my own plans.

This is basically how my morning mediation happened:

Guide: “Allowing the attention to rest on the breath.”

Mind: Okay. Breath is fine. Up. Down. Pause before in breath, pause before out breath. I can’t wait for breakfast! I’m definitely going to have eggs if they have eggs, and this time, I’ll make sure to smell the blackberry before putting it into my mouth. I wonder what my kids will think of mommy’s mindfulness practice? I’m sure I can integrate this into parenting, maybe they’ll like moment-by-moment oh shit… Wandering… back to breath. Noticing the pause before in breath. Noticing the pause before the out.


It’s a practice. An experiment of sorts. As a side note, in case you forgot, I definitely don’t have kids yet.

“Noticing the intention of possibilities”

Susan Woods LICSW said while leading. Fascinating.

I still have a physical reaction when I think of a trauma from ten years ago. I can palate the thought, but the physical reaction – the watery mouth, stomach filled with bile ready to be thrown up – is quite unpleasant. I can sit with that as well, unpleasantness, but it’s certainly not my preference to experience it. There’s a piece of my mind that says, “Get on with it Jennie. It’s over.” Apparently, it’s not over in the mind or body.

Also, I still have a physical reaction when certain names cross my mind. The thoughts that are attached to the names make the sensations edges uncertain. Curious. Uncomfortable. The thought arises first, and then the sensation. Patterns. Going round and round. Inescapable.

At one point in my meditation this morning, I remembered that I needed to update this blog. Then I spent fifteen minutes arguing with myself about whether or not we could have possibly passed the third Monday of the month. I returned to breathing, and the bell rang. Needless to say, the calendar says I’m a day late. But for all intensive purposes, I’ve created and hit my deadlines. Exciting news regarding deadlines, I’ve completed the first draft of the fiction piece: it needs a once-through editing before allowing anyone else to read, but it feels good to commit to myself and then uphold those commitments. It’s part of my new life. The life where I make commitments that align with my values, and then I do stuff.

I said that I’m writing this while overlooking the rolling hills. Actually, I’m sitting in a dimly lit dormitory style housing unit. I was overlooking the hills this morning at sunrise. Drinking tea. Thinking about the reverence of the morning. I’ve been carrying that image with me. It isn’t what I’m actually seeing now though.

This entry is all over the place. That’s okay. It’s where I’m at right now. Have a beautiful week.


Posted in: Good Days