My Meditation Challenge

This week I’m going to (gently) challenge myself to meditate every morning before I jump into my daily life. That is, after I feed Zoey.

No coffee, email checking, kitchen futzing, phone calls, stocks, Tarot — until I’ve done 20 minutes of meditation.

Why?

I’m interested in seeing how meditation helps my life when I sit quietly for 20 minutes in the morning. I do look at meditation as a way of being, rather than strict devotion but sitting still is a challenge for me, especially during a specific time of day. I don’t like rules or timeframes (blame it on my Christian background of “daily devotions”) but this is more of an experiment to watch how meditation affects my day. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. We’ll see.

And a little discipline never hurt.

I’ll post an update on Thursday to let you know how it’s going and I’ll also update Facebook.

Today I started with meditation at 4:30am. I keep waking up early because of seasonal shifts, so I figured it would be a perfect time. I chanted Om shanti 108 times with my mala beads because I was half-awake and needed to focus on something, then sat quietly in the dark for a few moments and went back to sleep. I felt the same calmness as in my yoga practice, where I drop pretty deep in a short amount of time. That is, until my mind wakes up and starts to chatter. Let’s see what happens in early morning because the sun is my fuel and I start running into my day.

I’m interested in finding out ways that you meditate. What’s your daily practice? Comments are open below or chat with me on Facebook or g+.

Tarot and The Stock Market

Playing the stock market is my latest passion but it took me years to jump. Read this post to find out why and how I started. When I began, the sheer amount of IPOs overwhelmed me. It felt similar to learning the Tarot — 78 cards that were all a-jumble once I shuffled them. How to make sense of it all?

Tarot, just like the stock market, takes patience and practice. You’ll never get it “right” and perfection is a killer of pleasure. It’s all play — or like my yoga teacher says, “It’s just yoga. No big deal.”

Once you start to practice Tarot or the market, it’s about paring down. With Tarot, start with the Major Arcana. Those are the powerhouse cards and once you know them like a dear friend, you’ve got a foundation to begin the 56 cards of the Minors.

With stocks, it’s learning how to invest based on your values, and what type of investor you want to be. Before I buy shares, I look at the company. Do I like their mission? What are their values towards their customers and the Earth? Do I buy their product? What’s their financial outlook?

Many people put their money into an “total stock market fund” which is a broad sweep of the Dow with generally high returns. It’s the kind of fund that you really don’t have to fret over. But I can’t invest in that type because there are many companies on that list who do not share my values. I won’t invest in oil and gas stocks, big pharm, defense, cigarettes nor any who do animal testing (you’d be surprised at how many still do). It’s kind of a bummer because those companies have huge returns — but I just can’t. There are still plenty with great dividends — Cisco, Coke, Microsoft, Intel, Starbucks — to name a few. I also invest in solar/wind companies because these are the great stocks of the future. I love semiconductors, organic foods/consumer goods, tech, water utilities….and the list continues. Are my picks perfect? No. Are the companies totally and completely aligned with my values? Not necessarily, but enough so that I feel confident in becoming a shareholder and owning a portion.

I spend most of my time learning about stocks rather than investing. I devour articles, ratings and reports, and how to read P/Es and the like. I still use my gut more than anything, but it’s good to expand my knowledge. I play with $100,000 on Wall Street Survivor which helps quell the cravings with money I don’t have yet. I read about Warren Buffett — (I don’t care for some of his picks, but he is a great manifestor) and his very simple ways of investing: buy and hold forever.

I have 2 portfolios: Play Stocks with 7 positions so far, and an IRA with 20 positions. I probably will keep my IRA around 20-30 so that I don’t get overwhelmed and Play Stock between 7-10. I’ve become a buy-and-hold type of investor and focus only on dividend stocks. It’s like reading Tarot with only the Majors — the big cards which shape and hold the story. I’ve decided not to fritter my time and money on all of the amazingly great stocks that have no dividend, but will indulge a few in my Stock portfolio.

Lest you think that I have huge amount of money to invest, it’s not the case right now. I use an automatic investing plan every month and will put in as little as $20 for a partial share. I’m setting up my portfolios so they can grow and I won’t have to search every time. I can get distracted by flashy stocks, but go back to my portfolios and focus on the long-term picture: companies who share my values and who will do well, despite how the economy goes up and down.

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Want to learn how to read the Tarot but don’t know how to begin? Join me in class Sunday, 9/7, 11-1pm for “Mastering the Tarot, Level I”. It’s specifically for those with little to no experience with the Tarot. See my Classes page for more details.

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