Almost every Wednesday I visit my friend Curt.  Over three years ago I took him up on his offer to teach a meditation class.  We started out with simple five minute meditations focusing on the breath. Over time we’ve worked up to thirty minutes with a variety of practices.  Curt’s yurt is set up like a Tibetan gonpa (temple).  The walk out to the yurt past his horses and through the cottonwood trees helps to ground me and settle my mind.  My mind and body anticipate the animated weekly discussions along with the quiet time spent in meditation.
Taking time out of my busy schedule to quiet my mind has been very beneficial.  I wish I could say that I meditate every day but I don’t.  Truthfully, I’m not very disciplined.  I get distracted easily by other things. It’s not uncommon.  What I know now is that there is no point in beating myself up about it.
The practice of lovingkindness has helped me to become less mentally abusive to myself. Through increasing awareness I can hear my negative self-talk. I then have heart-to-heart discussions with myself.  I question if what I am saying is actually true.  For example, on Sunday I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing “enough” on my new business.  I took time to write down everything I had done in three days and it filled an entire page! Then I came up with another page of things to do. I could see that, in fact, I was actually moving forward and had accomplished quite a bit!
When I started taking pictures, people said they liked them.  I thought they were just being nice.  I didn’t believe my photographs were anything special until a friend of mine pointed out that not everyone knows how to use a camera and that people who don’t take pictures appreciate the people who do.  Last year her encouraging words motivated me to make calendars from my pictures as Christmas gifts.  Everyone said they liked the calendars. I chose to believe them.  It’s almost funny except for the part that’s not.
Nothing is gained when I am unkind to myself or others.  When I am kind to myself, I am able to be more kind to others.  If we all could treat ourselves and each other with more love and understanding there would be fewer problems in the world.  I wish it was so.



  1. Jo on October 12, 2011 at 11:28 am

    Loving kindness practice feels so radical, doesn’t it? I love your idea of writing down every thing you achieved as a way to scuttle the harsh critique you were giving yourself. I may need to borrow this for my business practice too. Thank you.

  2. Loran Hills on October 12, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    I think it’s important to learn healthy ways to combat the inner critic, Jo. I’ve been practicing mindfulness and lovingkindness long enough to know that I don’t really want to listen to that crap any more! Borrow away!

  3. Pam on October 13, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    What is it about your statement “it’s almost funny except for the part that’s not” that is so real? It jolted me and my mind really wants to chew on that. What is rising to the top right now is that I treat the truth with sarcasm or that kind of humor where laughing is what we do so we won’t cry our eyes out. but these strategies leave us room to continue being broken, to continue being distracted. healing does not exist in this space. I guess that is all that will coalesce for me right now.

    Mullberries and meditation are masterfully mated when I make up my mind to meditate.

  4. Loran Hills on October 13, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    I was thinking it was ironic and sad that I could not believe in my own creativity, that I tend to discount it when friends pay me a compliment or that I can only see what I don’t accomplish unless I make a concerted effort to turn it around. What makes it almost funny but not is how ludicrous it is to be so unkind towards myself.

    I am learning to stand in my own light and to embrace my own power! I’m beginning to believe that if I can do it then everyone else can do it too. We all just need some help, encouragement and love.

  5. Lucy on October 15, 2011 at 2:39 am

    LOVE this! So glad to have found it. Popping you straight up onto my blog roll so I can follow along. x

    • Loran Hills on October 15, 2011 at 9:40 am

      Thank you for wanting to follow along! I just “plotted” out two and a half months of blog posts. We’ll see how that goes.

  6. Dionne, the Tea Priestess on October 15, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Really loved this insight and the pictures. One of the things I’ve learned through my self love work is that it is much easier for us to accept unkindness from others when we have a lot of negative mental chatter.

    • Loran Hills on October 15, 2011 at 9:34 pm

      Dionne, that is so true. The more kind we are to ourselves the less willing we are to accept that from others as well.

  7. Marla @ Your Full Plate on October 18, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Hi Loran, I can totally relate to what you shared about thinking that people are just being nice when they compliment your work (and your photography is stunning, by the way). I like how you said ‘I chose to believe them’… now, getting my heart to follow along in that choice is the challenging part for me! I’d love to read more of your journey on this topic.

    • Loran Hills on October 18, 2011 at 11:04 am

      Thanks, Marla. I’m glad you like my photography!

      I’ll see what I can do about writing more regarding connecting heart and mind.

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