Thursday, March 23, 2017

Sirens in the Morning

I woke up to our home alarm sirens blaring at 2:00 a.m. this morning. I jumped out of bed with only one motive. Find out why the alarm was set off before disarming the alarm. 

I raced through the basement with no sign of anything amiss. I ran up the stars, glanced at the alarm panel and noticed a light was lit to cue me as to why the alarm was triggered but nothing registered. I was intent on knowing our house wasn't on fire before I went any further.

It was only as I was racing down the hallway when I wondered what in the heck I was doing and what would I do if I encountered a stranger in our home. Too late. I was there.

By that time, my son was upstairs disarming the alarm. "Didn't you see that the back door was open?" Nope. I didn't notice a thing. "Didn't you see the light for the back door was lit?" Nope. Nothing registered. I looked at the panel but didn't see a thing.

Why was the back door open? Why were we standing there discussing it? Why were we relatively calm?

It was then that we noticed our Feisty Black Cat wandering in and around us with a puffed up tail. My son informed me that our Scaredy Cat bolted under his bed the second he opened his bedroom door. The wheels started turning and we realized it was Feisty Cat who had opened our back door and set off the alarm. Only then did both of us realize we had heard a mighty loud yowl come from our bored and feisty black cat in some time (probably) shortly before the alarm bells started ringing.

It was then, when the alarm company called us to check in on us. I quickly reminded my son of our password as I picked up the phone in the kitchen. It was dead. It rang, but it wasn't working. 

Immediately I remembered that I had just been fighting with the TV in the middle of the night because the cable channels weren't working properly. In my middle of the night state of confusion, I assumed the two situations were related. I ran to get my cell phone so I could call back and assure them all was well. Thank goodness my son was right beside me reminding me this had happened before. When the wall phone doesn't work, the cordless ones do. We ran off in separate directions to retrieve a cordless phone (him running to the charger while I ran to where I knew I had last left it).

At long last, the ringing phone was answered and our alarm company's representative was on the phone ensuring all was well. When I nonchalantly told her the situation was resolved and our cat had opened the door (we had apparently forgot to lock it), she sounded rather unconvinced. "Are you sure everything is okay?" as she pursued her line of questioning. "Yes, our cat opens doors" I replied as if it was the most normal response in the world.

We had a nice little middle-of-the-night chat while our feisty cat's tail returned to its normal shape and size and we all headed off to bed, while our scaredy cat still remained hidden out of sight.

It was a test. It was only a test. Thank goodness.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Second Page News

I am stepping back into life as I know it today and the whole landscape has changed since I last sat down to write down my thoughts.

Life is in a state of transition at the moment. It always is. Sometimes it is just more apparent. Right now I feel like I'm standing still as the landscape speeds past me and has swept me up in its wake.

So many stories, so few of them are my stories to tell.

I will write about how our health care system, the kindness, the dedication and thoroughness I have witnessed within.

I will write about my thoughts as various members of my family take tentative steps in a new direction. I will include myself in the telling of these stories as most of them involve wanting to keep one foot safely on firm and solid ground, while knowing how necessary it is to make a change.

I will write about how overwhelming the state of change feels. How terrifying it is to look too far ahead when all one can really do is take one forward step at a time.

I will write about the times when the decision to make a change is taken out of our hands and what a relief that can be. I will write about that right now...

I have been in a position where I have had to utilize all of the words I have inside of my head in an out loud kind of way. I have had a few verbal hangovers as I belabored the fact that I talked and wrote too much when fewer words would have said so much more. I have had no words left over at the end of each day. Then when I woke up the next morning, I knew I had to just keep on "using my words" to take the next step in a new and foreign land.

I came home last night, returned calls and corresponded as necessary. So many words, so few thoughts. Yet I kept spending my words like I was using a credit card. I'll "pay it back later" I kept telling myself. Just as soon as I get home, take care of the necessities of life, work a little, parent a little and find a little piece of quiet within this very wordy time.

Throughout this time of great wordiness, I knew the deadline to submit my columns had come. I thought I had worked in a one week leeway to trick myself into getting my columns sent out in time. I thought I still had time. Then I flipped open a newspaper I write for and read this:

Editor's note: This is the last 'Life as I know it' column from Colleen in her current series. We, along with our readers, will miss her weekly musings on life's challenges. When she figures out 'what's next', we sincerely hope it includes writing more of her much-appreciated, thoughtful columns.

It was interesting to read my formal "resignation" as second page news in a newspaper but I honestly don't think it would have happened any other way. I have wanted to resign from this position for a very (very) long time but I haven't had the courage to do so. Yet when I read and absorbed the words, I felt nothing but relief.

My time has come. Perhaps it came and went a long while ago and I just hadn't read about it yet. I've been saying this, feeling this, sending out messages to the universe about the need to stop "writing out loud" for quite some time. It just didn't seep in and become my reality until I read it in the newspaper.

I pondered the idea of handing in my notice to the rest of the papers I write for but thought I'd sleep on it. "I'll see how it feels in the morning." I woke up this morning and it felt like absolutely the right thing to do.

I'm tired, I'm working my way through my life without really having a plan and I don't know where I will end up. I trust that I am exactly where I need to be because I just kept taking one forward step at a time these past few weeks and every step of that journey felt right, felt necessary and I felt capable of being where and who I was.

I needed to be a daughter. In the process, I hope I was the sister I should have been. I have come home and I see the need for me to be a parent. Today, I must step back into the arena and be an employee.

I have shed a lot of my labels the past few weeks. My daycare days are behind me. I have resigned from my position of "columnist". I feel like I am stripping myself bare so I can be "exactly where I need to be" and in the process, become "exactly who I am meant to be".

As I wrote my formal letter of resignation to the remainder of the newspapers I write for this morning, these are the words that seeped out of my fingertips:

It is time for me to be “done writing” for now. One of my favorite authors/speakers Glennon Doyle Melton talks of the need to “write from a scar, not a wound”. Although my life is in no way going through a time of crisis, it is indeed going through a metamorphosis. I need to write like no one is reading for a while. Some of this unfamiliar territory involves my family so many of my musings and thoughts are not my story to tell. Most of this will turn into a great lesson one day. One day when I’m safely on the other side of where I am at right now and I have some perspective and depth to bring into what currently feels like “survival mode”.

I don't want to read about my need to make a change in yesterday's newspaper. I need to step back into the driver's seat and start navigating my own choices. I will treat this like the journey life is intended to be. I don't see my final destination yet but I am determined to drive safely and make the most of the ride. And hey, if one must read about their next life changing move "second page" isn't too shabby. I'll take that as a win. At least for today.

Monday, November 7, 2016

A Spark

"This" may be it. I read one sentence this morning that changed the flow of my thoughts, rerouted what I thought I may do with the quiet of my morning and my fingers may or may not have typed the words that have the possibility of leading me where I most want to go next.

The sentence I read came from Glennon Doyle Melton's Facebook page, as she was commenting on the "live streaming" of her interview with Oprah. She shouted out loud, "SISTER OPRAH IS STREAMING OUR SUPER SOUL SUNDAY EPISODE RIGHT NOW! ... I am going over there to watch and comment with you. Join Us!

One of my fellow Canadians made this comment: "Happy Sunday, Glennon! So much love. Are you ever gonna come to Canada...?

AND ... this was Glennon's response: "YES! Mostly to see you!!!!" (and she tagged the person who made the original comment).

The millisecond I read this, I knew it with every fibre of my being. I will be there. The moment I read of this event, I will reserve two tickets. I am going. I don't care when, where or how much it costs. All of my hard earned profits from my sales of daycare goods will have a purpose. I will see Glennon. Live. In person.

This spurred me into going back to complete the final lesson in the "Wisdom of Story" on-line class with Brené and Glennon. The questions they asked at the end of that lesson were too hard, too big and too complicated for my weary brain to answer at the time. My body, mind and spirit have had a chance to rest and recharge. So I went back to answer the questions this morning:

WHAT BREAKS YOUR HEART?

WHAT IS AN EXISTING COMMUNITY STRUGGLE OR A GLOBAL STORY THAT YOU WANT TO INFLUENCE AND WRITE YOURSELF INTO?

HOW DO YOU WRITE YOURSELF INTO THIS STORY?

I wrote my answers. Then I took one step. One baby step. 

The moment my fingers typed the answers my head didn't know, I knew my heart to fingertip connection was powered up and running again.

The moment I typed the words, it was as if the clouds parted and the sun shone down directly upon me and beamed, "Yes, this is the way..."

I am three weeks away from clearing the time, space and resources to follow this lead. "Something bigger than me" is in control of the emotions, the drive and the pull I feel when I typed the answers to these questions. Could this be "the knowing" I have been impatiently waiting for?

Maybe.

In December, 1987 I KNEW in my heart that I wanted to create a "safe haven" for people in trouble when "the time was right". I never forgot that "knowing". I never did anything about it. But I never forgot. It was a life changing time for me and a safe haven gave me the resting spot, the quiet, the sanctuary and resources to help me through, over and past a time of great change. I have wanted to pay that favor forward ever since.

In June, 2005 I KNEW I wanted to "run an inn" or Bed & Breakfast or a quiet little home away from home - "a sanctuary" one day. One day when I retired ...

Fast forward and through many of the stops I made along the way and I found myself knee deep in despair in August, 2016 when I KNEW I had to quit running my daycare.

I have had no idea where I was going to go next. I knew I didn't have all my ducks lined up neatly in a row. The only thing I knew for sure is that I had to clear out the clutter in my life, home, heart and soul to "make room for change". I had and have no idea for certain what that "change" is ultimately going to be. 

I do know that I don't feel that all of this "clearing the way" is simply to get a new job. At least I hope not. Maybe in the end, that will be all that comes of this. Oh, how I hope that is not so. 

I DO know that I will take one step in a forward direction. One baby step. And see if it leads to the next. Maybe it will. Maybe it won't. If nothing comes of my efforts I will understand. It will be an answer: "Not now." "Not this way." "Not until you've learned more lessons."

One thing I DO know for sure is that "now" is the time to investigate, to try, to stick my neck out and take a risk. Maybe nothing will change on the outside, but oh how I hope something changes deep inside of my soul.

A spark has been ignited. I WILL go see Glennon when she comes to our neighborhood. I need to keep fanning the flame. Because something about this feels very, very right. I feel my "Field of Dreams" calling out to me again. If you build/create/fight for it ... they will come.

Happy Day to you!! May you feel a spark within your heart today. Take one brave step in a forward direction and see where it may lead. Come with me for the ride. It's going to be a good one. 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

A New Moon Rising

We have had a month of cold, dreary and cloudy days. I was well aware of the chill factor in the air but I hadn't consciously thought of the grey skies that accompanied the drop in temperature. Then the sun came out to play the last few days.

Behold the power of a blue sky! Unfortunately it didn't beckon to me and convince me to go out and rake up the leaves which have scattered over the lawn since its last mowing, but it was pretty to see none the less.

In reality, I barely noticed the blue sky because I was too busy in my own head trying to figure out a strategy on "where to go from here" in my life. When your body, mind and soul are consumed with your own tiny little world, you tend to forget to look up.

Looking up is really where it is at. Looking up and out of your own head, home, world, community and gazing into the endlessness of the sky is a profound reminder how very small we are within our very own solar system, let alone the universe. One's troubles and worries are less than a speck in the sky.

I kept looking down, figuring, planning, conspiring and trying to come up with a plan. Looking down is seldom a good plan. Unless you are walking in a gopher hole ridden field, a pothole ridden street or an uneven sidewalk. Okay, let me rephrase that. One does need to look down at times, when the terrain you are walking on is unfamiliar. Safety first, you know. Even at that, it is still wise to stop and enjoy the view from where you are at, even when you are navigating your way through new territory.

My reminder to "look up" came to me when I was driving home on a cloudless night. The moon, in all its glory was a beacon in the sky. It was bright and glorious crescent moon sitting on the horizon which made it appear larger than life. It had a magnetic pull and I wanted to keep on driving toward it but settled for the fact that I would soon be home and could take a picture.

Unfortunately the landscape around me prevented me from seeing the moon once I was in a place where I could stop and gaze at it. But I knew it was there. It is always there. Often it is hidden behind the clouds or landscape or it doesn't shine brightly in the sunlight. But our moon is always there.

Sometimes our reminder to "look up" isn't staring us in the face. Sometimes it is hidden within a quiet exchange of words, an expression of disinterest  or disdain. Sometimes we are so busy holding ourselves down and close and quiet, that we forget to look up and out into the world. Sometimes, someone is lost in their own piece of their quietness and an invitation to "look up" is exactly what they need, even when it is the last thing they want.

I am that quiet, reclusive one more often than not. Especially when I am in the thick of gathering my resources to weather the storm I'm living in or the one ahead. I forget to look up and notice the world around me. I forget to reach out and touch others. I forget the power of connection. I forget the give, the take, the yin and the yang that comes from looking up after I've been looking down too long.

Focusing inward is necessary at times. Just as it is vital to your safety to look downwards to protect yourself from the unknown. The world becomes too small when you don't look up enough. My world has become exactly that.

I have been invited out into the world this upcoming week and it is my choice whether I "stay small" or if I open myself up, look up, listen deeply and look into the eyes of those I encounter. There could be a whole "new moon" out there that I'm missing.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Do Not Be Afraid

These are scary times. I applied for two jobs yesterday.

Actually, I had a practise run and applied for one last week too. It was only upon rereading the information provided by the employer's description of job postings that I realized I had applied for an "internal" position. They would not be considering applications received from anyone not already working for them. You would not believe the wave of relief I felt when I read that.

I discovered something very important by that ill fated application. I do NOT want a full time job. My number one reason for rerouting my day job is the need to decrease my work schedule to a maximum of five days per week. In a perfect world, four days would suit me just fine.

As I was perusing the jobs available, I started jotting down notes about what I really did NOT want and started a list of what I am looking for.

I DO want a part time job. I DO want to work a day shift on week days. I DO want a routine, a schedule or a guideline of the times I will be expected to work. I enjoy working with numbers, words and typing. I want to start within my comfort zone, with room to grow.

The words "sales" and "marketing" make my heart clench up in apprehension. The idea of being asked to work on "call in" basis is paralyzing. When I hear the word "receptionist", I think of screening and fielding calls. I have done this. I could do it again. But I don't enjoy it. If I answer the phone and need to transfer a call, I do not want to recoil in fear of being reprimanded for how I handed the call.

I DO like the idea of having a job to do, be given firm parameters, a list of guidelines/do's and don'ts and the time and space to figure things out on my own as well as the knowledge that "mistakes happen". I want to work for someone who realizes errors are the best teachers. I do NOT want to be afraid to try and fail. I want to be encouraged to try, then ask questions to assure I am on the right track.

But most importantly, I do NOT want to start a new job until January. February would be better. I may as well aim to miss venturing out during the coldest months of winter while I'm making my wish list. If I could swing it "spring" would be a very good time to start anew. I have back-up financing in place so I can afford to take what time is necessary.

I received my very last ever pay cheque from my daycare career this morning. I will have to start dipping into my reserves by mid-month. My sales of daycare goods and supplies could pay for my shortfall this month. Considering I have been living off of a reduced wage for almost two months and October's unbudgeted expenses exceeded that of one of the full-time daycare spots I was already missing, I count that as a relative "success".

I have three more weeks of being a "full-time daycare provider". As of about noon on November 28th, I will be done. My days of child tending will be over. The time has come. I can tell it with every loud breath my little "two year old with a cold" took yesterday. When I flip the calendar page into December, I plan to hunker down in my "room with a door" and sit still with my writing. I want to see if there is a book in there somewhere. I want to see if I have what it takes to put myself out there and write for more papers. I want to be rid of the excesses by that time so I have no excuse to do anything but "be still". I need to be still within this little world of mine so I can listen for the whisper that is telling me where to go next.

I applied for two jobs yesterday. I sent them out into the world, hoping they fall into the abyss of the unnoticed, unremarkable and unaccepted file. I tried. I will continue to try. But I do not want to act out of fear. Fear is what motivated me yesterday.

My biggest fear is the fear of acceptance in an arena I don't want to fight in. The world I wished for only three short months ago is almost here. I don't want to fast track through this place. "This" is what I wanted. "This" is exactly where I wanted to be. The challenge will be to remain calm and steady while the waves of fear threaten to pull me under.

"Do not be afraid" I just Googled this phrase to find out where these words came from. I discovered I was quoting from the Bible. I've been told I do this a lot. These are the words that come to me when I am most fearful. I don't know what I believe but I do have faith. I am fighting to stay calm and the words I need to hear come directly from the Bible. Either that or from Glennon Doyle Melton. Either way, I'm listening.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Eating Up the Excess

There seems to be no end to the excess within our home. I am finally making some headway and there are finally some empty shelves, drawers and an (almost) empty room to show for my efforts. Add two more green Superstore crates to the picture below and you have a glimpse of the storage containers we have emptied. Nothing is safe these days. 

5 large plastic containers; 5 medium containers; 3 Superstore crates and 2 sets of drawer containers
7 empty drawers; 2 completely empty shelves 

Enter the food portion of my story. This started when I thought I should use up the decaffeinated coffee that has been pushed to the back of the cupboard. I've been drinking a little more coffee than I should so it would be wise to switch to decaf after the first two cups, right? Right! I knew it had been sitting around for quite a while so I wasn't even surprised to find it's best before date was four years ago. Then my eyes came upon some mocha flavored coffee that was older than that. It was a Christmas gift which was given to me by a couple who broke up in September of 2009. Which means the newest this coffee could possibly be is December of 2008. Maybe 2007.

I have been drinking a cup or two of decaffeinated coffee every morning since my find. But what about the mocha flavored stuff? I can't quite bring myself to throw it out. It has been opened so I won't give it away. But if it hasn't been consumed in the past eight years, what makes me think that I will suddenly take a liking to it now? Because I'm cheap and hate to see things wasted? Perhaps.

This reminded me of the mozzarella cheese sticks and jalapeno bites I bought as appetizers a minimum of two Christmases ago (note the Christmas season is almost upon us again, so make that "three" Christmases ago). I bought them once and they turned out to be the perfect thing to have on hand when no one in the house felt like cooking and our house had two extra adults living under the roof. The night we made ourselves supper out of all-that-was-frozen was such a fun, memorable evening, I immediately replaced those items and they have been sitting in the deep freeze ever since. There was one half hearted attempt to recreate that tasty little snack a year later, so each bag was half consumed. My memory of how good they tasted at the time, had me trying to recreate that lost moment (again) last week. I made myself eat half of what was left. I'll try it one last time when I'm hungry. Then that, should be the end of that.

This piqued my curiousity so I went on a food hunt to unearth all which has expired &/or will never be consumed by anyone under this roof. I found this (below). These are all the unopened, still sealed packages. I did throw away that which was opened (not much, but any food thrown out is still too much):


The best before dates ranged from February, 2010 to September, 2015. In my defense, the yogurt tubes (which expired in spring of this year) have been frozen ever since I got them. And the Freezies? Probably good for at least six more years. But my son told me he will never eat them. 

I listed these items to give away, clearly noting the expiry dates and the new owners can decide what they use or what they toss. But everything was sealed and I would use it all myself. Except, if I haven't used it in the past six years, what is the chance I'll ever use it again?

Rehoming our excess seems to be the name of the game for me. At the beginning of last weekend, I had filled three of these containers (below) and there were two (first picture) Superstore crates filled with toys. All that is left is what you see here (and it is half full of new stuff to be dealt with this upcoming weekend):


Everything else has been donated to Value Village, given away via Kijiji's "Free Stuff" ads or sold. My profits were low this past week. We are (thankfully) getting down to the dregs. 

Yesterday I went in search of a phone number I knew I had tucked into my home renovations file and I got completely lost within all the paperwork within the filing cabinet (and never did find the phone number. However, I did manage to work on my son's bookkeeping). I went searching for it again right now and culled through a 3/4" pile of business cards and reduced my business card pile to a 1/4".

The excess within is showing up everywhere!! How in the world did I let this happen?

In a word? Daycare. It was the beginning of holding onto every little thing I thought we could turn into a craft or something for the kids to play in or on or with. It was the beginning of a time of ten to twelve hour days and six day work weeks. 

My daycare days were also a time of great nesting, focus on home, family and parenting. Working in our home allowed me the benefit of puttering with the housework as I watched over my kids. Small amounts of work over an extended period of time made a big difference.

My years after Daycare 1.0 were the end of a very good phase within this little life of mine. I lost all of the good habits I had gained during my reign of daycare provider. Working outside my home depleted me. Not being able to putter away at the little things around the house all day turned housework and cooking into onerous tasks I did not want to tackle.

Now that I've made such a big dent in the decluttering within this house of ours, I find myself puttering again. Not in the manner in which I used to do it but a little bit of puttering is better than none. On one hand, it is disheartening to have rid our home of so much and still see how far there is left to go. On the other hand, it does make me think twice about ignoring all the little things that have added up into a small hoarding situation. 

Every time I pick up a pile of papers, a file, open a drawer or cupboard and I toss something into the donate, sell or garbage piles, the load lightens just a little bit more. 

One one, final positive note I would like to say that I just made a great sacrifice and ate up the last of the "Rockets" candy we had left over from Halloween. I may never recover from this time of "eating up the excess" around here. "Oh, my achin' stomach ..."

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Meditation 101

Meditation. I need this. I should learn how to do this. It would be good for me. I can tell, by my complete inability to follow through on any one thought, task or sentence (in fact I had to come back and finish this uncompleted sentence that I left dangling on my first write through).

The chatter in my head is driving me batty. The guilt, the fear and simply the overwhelmed state of my thoughts is running rampant within my thoughts and I'm stuck. Thankfully I'm emptying closets (slowly) so I have something to account for all of my spare time lately. But honestly? If someone was to ask me what I have accomplished lately, I think all I really have to say is "I have been thinking".

So I enrolled in Oprah and Deepak Chopra's 21 Day Meditation Experience yesterday morning. It was an interesting experiment.

Number 1 - If you have cats, you cannot meditate. Unless they are fast asleep. Do cats ever sleep soundly?

I shall set the stage. I sat down in the living room and set my gaze upon a street light outside. Just get yourself into a trance and lose yourself was my mantra. Sit, gaze, listen, declutter my brain.

Then I heard a cat. It sounded like Jet was eating the fresh roll of toilet paper I just brought out (his favorite). I paused the meditative state and raced to the bathroom. Jet wasn't attacking the toilet paper. He was playing in the "cat toy drawer". It doesn't matter. Let it go. These were my first mantras of the morning.

So I sat down again and pressed "Play".

A few calm moments later, I realized I needed to make an urgent trip to the bathroom myself. I paused again. On my way back to the couch, I thought "This is interesting and relaxing. I'll just grab my coffee ..."

I curled up on the couch with my coffee in hand and set my gaze upon that streetlight once again. Now I was ready to be still and "meditate". Then Deepak told me to get comfortable because "this" was when we were going to start to meditate.

I rustled around on the couch and missed everything he said while all this noise was going on in and around my head. Okay. I was ready. I would just rewind the video and start from a few minutes prior. But the video wouldn't let me rewind. What?!! I guess that is lesson #1 - when meditating, there is no need to rewind. Because you are still. And quiet. And in a hypnotic state. And you can't move yourself out of your comfortable spot. Because you are in the zone.

I tuned back in when Deepak was telling me what to chant in my head as I sat still and emptied my brain of thought. "Aham Prema". He told me what these words meant "I am love". These are my thoughts that followed:

Okay. Aham Prema. Aham Prema. Aham Prema, breathe, listen to my breath, breathe deeply ... What does that mean again? I can't remember. What was I supposed to be chanting in my mind again? I can't remember. How do I stop thinking? I didn't hear what he told me. I can't rewind. I can't remember the mantra. What are the cats doing? What do I need to be doing? I'm missing Kelly's radio show ...

The end. I give up. I can't do this, this morning. I can't stop the flow of words and they won't let me rewind the tape. How unfair! I quit!

Then I tuned into my nephew's new radio show and lived a very distracted morning as I blogged, checked my banking transactions, rechecked my budget, wondered about my financial future, pondered some financial forecasts, blogged some more, laughed a little as my nephew tickled my funny bone, checked out a few blogs, returned to my own blogging, made coffee, watched the cats at play, made more coffee and basically had the most un-meditative kind of morning ever.

This morning, I woke up at about 4:15 a.m. and felt pretty wakeful. It was too early to get up so I had a brainwave. I brought the computer into my room, turned on Oprah and Deepak's meditation series again and tried very hard.

This was working! I woke up the cats when I ran to get the computer but as I nestled back into bed, so did they. Jet snuggled in at my feet; Ray at my side. They cat napped and I listened to Oprah and Deepak's calm, relaxing voices and tried very, very hard to follow their instructions. There was no need to rewind because I got comfortable before I pressed "Play". I just sat and listened and breathed and tried to remember the mantra (I keep forgetting those words). Suddenly, I was back where I was yesterday morning.

What was I supposed to be chanting? What does it mean? What is the centering thought? What did they say? Why am I thinking? Why can't I stop .... breathe. In ... out ... focus on breathing ... deep breaths ... in ... out .... ... .... ...

Then I woke up when Deepak chimed his bell or whatever it was that he said he was going to do to signal the end of our meditation.

Does meditation count if you sleep through it? How do you turn off your thoughts? What was our centering thought of the day again? Did I hear anything? Why can't I remember??

Just ask me about the vivid dream I had just before I woke up before all of this meditation this morning. I remember it well. I was being robbed and I was very calm as I tried to help the perpetrators of the crime. I tried to humanize myself and them and I talked oh, so calmly. I handled it like a champ.

But do I know what Oprah and Deepak told me to focus on today? I need a workbook to go along with the meditation. Words alone do not penetrate the protective layer of words, thoughts, worries and guilt. I need to be fully engaged. I need to sit still, read, write notes and answer questions. Then I'm ready to absorb the words I have been given.

Do I need this? I think so. I think this state of quiet mindlessness and not thinking in words will help to centre me and still the chaos in my mind.

How do I accomplish this feat set out before me? I will Google that. There must be a place where I can read, write and interact with some information that teaches me how to still my mind. Maybe yoga is where it is at for me.