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  1. Behind my home there is a field, and beyond the field a hill named Gloria. The last in a line, it’s not high or beautiful, but the sun sets on it in autumn and bathes it in orange and purple. A creek flows over it from the low mountains further distant, breaking out to a low waterfall that pools and trails off along the edge of the meadow. In dreams I sit at the edge of the pool, watching the water tumble down, waiting for peace to wash over me. Today, I decided to go searching for it. Passing behind the cascade I see an opening, no larger than a door, tucked behind a rocky outcrop. I step in and find myself in a narrow passage, gently ascending, which turns sharply to the right after several feet and then curves in a near-perfect semicircle back to the left, like a giant question mark carved in the sandstone. Reaching the end of the arc, I find myself in a small circular antechamber. A fire is set in the center of the room, keeping it warm and bright. Large, smooth benches are carved into the stone on either side, their backs blending seamlessly the walls forming a dome high overhead. Directly opposite the tunnel, another doorway stands flanked by delicately carved columns. Passing through the second doorway, I find myself what must have started as a natural grotto but has been carved out to form three perfectly cubic chambers. The center, where I stand, is empty – the floor level, swept clean, with natural light spilling in from above. This, I know, is a space suited for movement, for testing and strengthening the body. To my right, another chamber practically glows with a verdant green. A small tree has taken root there, fed by a small rivulet that trickles in from the opening above. The tree bears sweet yellow fruit, and I know this to be a place of rest and nourishment. To the left opens a study, complete with bookshelves, two leather chairs, and a small fireplace of its own; a perfect space for inquiry and contemplation. I’m not surprised to see this – somehow I’ve known that this place is mine. Somehow I know that, though the rooms are tended by an elderly man and refreshed daily by a boy of no more than ten years, I am the only one who has ever been here. Somehow I know that this is not a home, but a sanctuary. I resolve to return, and awaken. ______________________ The disciplines for winter (2 challenges) look like this: Body Fuel – macro balance, hydration, coffee reduction, resting with 14/10 intermittent fasting Work – 2 runs weekly, 2 Pilates sessions weekly, 2 long walks weekly, 1 full rest day (workouts at least 30 minutes plus dynamic warmup and 10-minute yoga cooldown) Heart Play – Daily bass guitar practice, self-care practice 2x weekly Love – 1 “love language” practice for a family member daily Spirit Grow – Daily learning in Duolingo and/or professional or growth reading Pray – Daily metta practice or meditation/contemplative prayer Rest – At least 7 hours sleep per night, 1 full rest day per week Accountability: Weekly weigh-in on Sunday just to track progress (long-term goal is moving toward ideal weight of about 190...the delta is about 15 pounds at the moment) Weekly scorecard posted here.
  2. Does anyone have experience with meditation in Metta or Loving-Kindness meditation? I would like to start a practice and would love to talk to anyone with some experience.
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