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Ajeet Mestry on Unsplash

There’s a voice in my head that encourages me to get out for my run, or ride or, in this snowy season, a cross-country ski. You’ll have fun, she says. And even if it’s not fun today, she assures me that I’ll feel better for having done it. She’s pretty much always right. There’s another voice in my head, which tells me that I’m out of shape and slow and why bother. Sigh. I hear her, all too well, even though she’s mostly wrong.

Yet another voice tells me that I’d feel better if I just had that cute long…


PSYCHEDELICS | MENTAL HEALTH

After two medicine journeys, I have a lot more compassion for myself.

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Ira Mint on Unsplash

When I read Michael Pollan’s book, How To Change Your Mind, I knew I wanted to change my mind, too. For years, I have been exploring the borders of consciousness, the possibility of expanding those limits and how we can connect more deeply with ourselves and others. I have a daily meditation practice. I’ve attended silent meditation retreats, gone on a vision fast, floated in a sensory deprivation tank, participated in ultra-marathons and hooked my brain up to a neurofeedback machine, among other things.

For two years after I read Pollan’s book, I put out feelers, trying to find my…


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Welcome 2021. We begin the year of how-the-fuck-do-I-make-a-plan? And I’m not even talking about grand plans; regular old-style plans and small wishes and intentions feel hard. For me, it’s six days into the year and I’m still trying to figure out both my Word of the Year and my challenge. I usually have both well in hand by now. This year I struggled mightily to find a word. As for the challenge, I’d love your help.

A bit of background. My cousin introduced me to this Word of the Year practice more than a decade ago. As I wrote last…


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Today, I hit 2 years straight in my daily meditation streak. When I started, I set myself the goal of 30 days. As time passed, I kept moving the goalposts. I feel good about my accomplishment (and I’ve written elsewhere about what I’ve learned). And yet, as soon as I sense those first inklings of pride, I hear the voice: “Well, you don’t have children, so it’s easy for you to meditate every day.” That’s the collective voice of women I’ve known, friends even. It’s also the voice of our society, which has insinuated itself into my psyche, passing itself…


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Photo by Marina Logvin on Unsplash

About 600 days ago, I decided to try to meditate for 30 days in a row; then 30 became 100, became a full year, became where the count is at now. Yes, I’ve noticed some positive changes: increased patience, more ability to find the pause before responding to a stimuli, deeper understanding of how my mind works, moments of peace and/or insight. All of which are really just different ways of saying that I pause to notice more, and noticing (which necessarily demands pausing) is the key and some would say sole object of meditation.

These changes have not been…


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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…


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Wyron A on Unsplash

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. …


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Leonardo Yip on Unsplash

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…


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Harry Cunningham on Unsplash

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…

Mina Samuels

Writer. Performer. Citizen. Traveler. Enthusiast. Author of Run Like a Girl 365 Days A Year and other books. www.minasamuels.com

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