Finding Nirvana

I’m on a mission to find peace within. This all started with one (Yep. One! Count it! UNO!) yoga class I’d taken a few months ago and has steadily progressed into…. a place I’ve found. It’s dragged me out of my shell and dropped me somewhere new. Somewhere that I’m more aware of my “self talk” and the conversations I have with others. It allows ease in finding something amazing in the everyday “stuff” and just makes things better. 

​It’s also led to my interest in meditation. There’s a weird thing that happens when you successfully meditate. (the key word here is successfully) You find yourself carving out more time for meditation. What happens bi weekly turns into three times a week. Turns into daily. Turns into recognizing when you’re feeling stressed and finding a way to positively respond to the stress and stop it before it takes over your life.

 

​Annnnnnnd suddenly you’re calmer. More “grounded” – whatever that means. Seriously! “Grounded” is a silly term that can only be understood once you experience it. Until then, it’s just a word. And if you dare to speak that word to someone who hasn’t experienced it you’ll likely to catch an eye roll. ( or a throat punch)

 

​The frustration of the “ungrounded” is real my friends.

 

​This interest in meditation led me to seek out others who meditate in hopes of guidance in my new skill. And as luck would have it, a meditation class is scheduled at the yoga studio I attend RIGHT AFTER my yoga class. (Seriously yo. That’s like fate or something.) It took a few weeks of preparing the homestead for my 13 hour long absence, (Don’t judge! A girls gotta work. Follow that with a yoga class AND a meditation class and BAM! Gone all day long! ) but we got it figured out.

 

​So there I was, sitting in a circle, knee to knee with a dozen or so fellow mediators looking for guidance on the path of the enlightened.

 The first order of the day was to open the floor so the attendees could discuss their week and how the lessons they’ve learned during class were used. A few stood up to speak. We laughed. We nodded. We enjoyed their insight.

 

​Then came Lady C. We all strained to listen as she quietly described her crappy day. She mentioned hating to be a speaker but being assigned a presentation for 50 people that day. It didn’t go well. The projector didn’t work, the microphone sounded awful. Things fell down. The more that happened, the worse it got. She was exhausted, her ego was wounded and she was struggling.

 

​As the tears began to stream down her face she asked a question that hit me in my core so hard it took my breath away. “How do I find nirvana?”

 

​No one spoke. We all empathized with her, but we didn’t have an answer. The silence was deafening.

 

​That moment stayed with me all week long. I wanted the answer. I wanted that peace. I needed an understanding.

 

​The following Monday was my day to watch Baby ‘Rissma. Our beautiful, fun, and curious one year old “baby from another mama”. She was especially busy that day and I was frustrated. Nothing she was doing was out of the ordinary for a curious one year old; I was just tired and overwhelmed. In a desperate attempt to distress the situation I opened my front door and let her go outside to explore, while I followed an arms length behind.

 

​It was on this walk that I discovered how to find nirvana.

 

​Nirvana isn’t “A” place, it’s EVERY place. It’s in every moment, and all around. You just have to look at the world through the eyes of a one year old. If you’re not sure how to do that, I strongly suggest you find your nearest one year old right away. Scoop them up, kiss their sweet face, then set them in a field and watch the magic happen.

 

​I could go into the science of a one year old and their brain; tell you how it’s constantly developing, that they’re learning from their senses, blah, blah ,blah. But I won’t.- Not because I don’t want to, but because I just don’t speak “in science.” (I wish I was that cool) So instead of the facts, I’ll share the awesome that is finding nirvana by way of looking at the world through the eyes of a one year old.

 

​See, when a one year old steps into any surrounding, they’re experiencing it for the first time. It’s true, they may have seen it the day before, or even five minutes ago, but it’s still new to them. They haven’t smelled THAT smell yet, or tasted THAT corner of table. The colors are new to study. The texture is new to touch. 

 And they will smell, taste, look at intently and touch the crap out of everything in EVERY situation.

 

​And that my friend IS nirvana.

 

​So the next time you decide you need to find it, stop for a second. Take a breath. Let yourself understand what the ground feels like under your feet. What the sun feels like on your face. How the air smells. Listen to the sounds around you. Just let yourself be for a second. You have never experienced this moment, and you never will again.

 

​That’s a big deal. Appreciate it.

​​

 

 

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Wife Lessons 101 (Thank you Marine Corps)

As this 238th birthday of the United States Marine Corps comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect on the many lessons I’ve learned over the last 14 years.. In celebration of the many amazing Marines I’ve had the pleasure to know, the families they fight for and the countless experiences I’ve been given, I’ll do my best to share a few now.

Lesson 1. Never take a moment or a person for granted.
In the homes of many military families is a framed picture with the words “Live everyday like he deploys tomorrow.” It’s a beautiful sentiment. An idea that should be followed. However, this sentiment should not stop with your spouse.
There will be many lasts as you move through your years as a military spouse. Realistically, you will have more lasts with every other relationship in your life during your spouses career than your last day before a deployment(s) with your spouse.
You’ll have last days with your “real” family (the ones you share blood with) as you say goodbye to be with your spouse. You’ll have last days with the friends you grew up with, and last days in your home town.
Only to turn around 2 to 3 years later and have last days with your family (the ones you made at your duty station) Last days with your friends, and last days in your newest home.
Savor every day and every encounter like you will leave tomorrow.

2. NEVER miss an opportunity to learn something. 

No. I’m not talking about learning everything you can about the branch your spouse serves in. While that’s all moto-awesome, expand beyond your spouses service. Take every opportunity given to grow as an individual. Do not become “just” a military spouse or a mom. Take cooking classes, join clubs. Finish your degree. Then start another one.

And remember, you’re lucky to have the opportunity to travel the world every few years thanks to the military orders your family is assigned, (like how I twisted the words “military orders” into something positive? Hee hee!) GET OUT THERE. Experience the culture you’re surrounded by. Eat the food. Learn the language. Learn the history.

Ya know what’s worse than being “stuck in some s^&$ hole thanks to military orders? Leaving that s%^& hole and hearing people talk about the things they seen and did while they were there. “Scuba diving in Pensacola?! Whaaaaaaat?!” Yeah. You missed it because you were to busy locked away in your one bedroom apartment calling everyone you know- in other time zones- to tell them how miserable you are. That’s dumb. Don’t be dumb.

GET OUT THERE.

Lesson 3. Take LOTS of pictures. 

Seriously. Take. Lots. Of. Pictures. And when you think you’ve taken too many, reload that camera and take some more.

When will you ever see that place again? Or those faces? Your spouse will never look the way he does right now. Your friends will move away. Your kids will grow. Capture every moment while you can.

Lesson 4. Celebrate.

Celebrate. Celebrate. Celebrate everything. -and then take pictures!- Kid 1 got every word on his spelling test right? PARTY! Your friend got a new job? Let her know you’re proud of her and do something fun.

Go to the hail and farewells. Go to the unit holiday parties. Go to the Balls. Your time with these people is small. Your reasons to celebrate are limited. Make reasons of your own.

In your life as a military spouse you will see darkness. You will know horror and fear. You will know loss and pain. These “stupid little gatherings” could be the only thing that pull you through. Create them. Create them often.

Lesson 5. Put yourself out there.

Ok, it’s not always easy to make friends. Especially when you know you’ll have to say goodbye to them sooner then later. Do it anyway. Ya know what’s worse than saying goodbye to someone you care about? Not having someone to say hello to.

Lesson 6. Always have cookie dough and crock pot meals in the freezer.

Ya never know when a family in your spouses unit will have a “life situation” that a good meal or some “I’m thinking of you” cookies can help. As spouses we endure having babies, broken bones, illnesses and so much more. And  many times we will be asked to brave these things thousands of miles from our family and often our spouse. That frozen meal and your stopping in to check on them could be the one thing that pushes a “sister wife” forward. Reminding them they are not alone and are strong enough to keep going.

Besides, if you somehow find yourself surrounded by families that never need a helping hand, you have dinner and dessert for the days YOU don’t think you can get through. It’s a win-win.

Lesson 7. Share your stories and experiences. Good. Bad. And ugly.

And not just with your new friends. Share them with your family through social media. Too often we move away and lose touch with our BFF’s, cousins, aunts and uncles. Next thing you know you’re home for Christmas, surrounded by people you’ve known your entire life and you feel like an outcast. You’re lucky if they remember where you live, yet alone where you work or any interests you may have developed since the last time you seen them. This is lonely. And awkward.

Thanks to social media you don’t have to experience this anymore. Tell your stories. Share your pictures. Let them celebrate with you, or share in your bad day. Reach out to them. And ALWAYS return the favor. Let them know you’re happy for them when they have something to celebrate. Laugh with them. Cry with them. Encourage them.

Share your lives. You’ll be glad you did on your next visit home.

Lesson 8. Make traditions.

Especially if you’re raising “military brats”. They may never know what it’s like to celebrate 4th of July with BBQs with their cousins. Or witness a Christmas Pageant at the church they’ve gone to since the day they were created. Find a way to make this up to them. Give them traditions.

On the off chance you made it through the military life without children, make traditions anyway. Everyone needs a feeling of home that can only be created through traditions.

Lesson 9. Listen to your predecessors.  

Sure, you may think you have nothing in common with the 70 year old woman going on and on about how easy you have it thanks to computers. -After all you can talk to your deployed spouse often thanks to technology. Hell, you can even see them! *Gasp!*

While it might seem worthless to listen to that woman rattle on and on about how hard it was to wash her clothes in the kitchen sink because the luxury of washing machines wasn’t a birth rite in her time, you’ll be grateful for her recollections when you discover TMO “lost” your washing machine. She is wise. Listen to her. Learn from her. Appreciate her.

Lastly, Lesson 9. NEVER miss the opportunity to tell someone they’re wonderful. 

Whether it’s your best friend or some random person on the corner. If you are gifted the opportunity to compliment them for their awesomeness-whatever it may be- do it. It will make their day, and yours. Try it. You’ll see 🙂