Assorted Thoughts About My 10-Day Vipassana Meditation Course

Well, I’m back from my 10 Day Course, and so far my reintegration into ‘society’ has been great. I am really only struggling with one thing: answering the question “So, how was it?” I’m stoked people are interested, but it’s kind of a hard thing to explain.

So I’m going to answer some of the questions people have asked me, and some of the questions that my busy brain asked myself while I was there :)

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So... I'm Going to Jail!

On July 4th I’m checking myself into Mindfulness Jail. That’s the funny-but-also-kinda-true nickname I’ve given to the Ontario Vipassana Centre, where I will do my first (and possibly only… we’ll see) 10 day Silent Meditation Retreat.

Fun fact: Vipassana means ‘seeing things as they really are.’ It is a meditation technique based on self-observation, using breathe to focus your mind. Since I tend to go on and on (and on!) about the benefits of self-awareness, this seems right up my alley.

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Self Criticism and Self Compassion: A Smackdown

I don’t think I’ll set off any new revolutions by saying that self criticism is bad. We all know it. We all have an inner critic, and whether they are very noisy or more passive aggressive or only visit on holidays or hang out with us everywhere we go, that guy is a jerk. We know it isn’t helpful to listen to jerks in general, let alone the one in our heads (often the meanest jerk around town) - so why is it so tempting?​​

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My Fave Books of 2017

I truly believe it doesn’t matter what you read, it all contributes to learning and so it’s all good. As you can see some of my favourite reading experiences this year were with books that infuriated me or seemed like unlikely picks, and some were right up my alley and made me super happy to read. If you normally choose books up your alley too, then I hereby challenge you to seek out some books that will… well, challenge you ;)

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Why Advice Is Not a Dirty Word

Yes, advice can be hella problematic. I’m sure we’ve all offered advice to a friend to have it come back and bite us in the butt. Like when you told your friend they should definitely breakup and then they end up engaged and you’re not invited to the wedding / open bar. Who hasn’t tried following someone’s advice because it seemed like such a good idea but then it just didn’t work at all in real life, leaving you frustrated and feeling like a disappointment to all involved?

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Five(+) Reflections On 13,693 Steps

I had a lot of reflections on my first day of doing this, a likely side effect of the extra thinking time. And so I will now share them with you in the hopes that you will immediately start walking 10,000 steps tomorrow. No wait… that’s not the point of sharing stories. Here it is: I will now share my reflections with you because I think they are applicable to all kinds of things, and I can tell you are a person who likes getting s**t done (we have so much in common!)

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You Are What You Eat... Or Are You?

Sometimes people ask me “So, What Are You?” when it comes to how I eat. It’s a question that I don’t like to answer, because I know the expected answer is to say “I’m a vegetarian” or “I eat Paleo” but the truth is much more complex than all that. Because I’m a human! (A hungry human!)

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Vanessa VellaComment
My Birthday Blog Post (Or "What I Learned In The Past 12 Months")

This is what I think: each birthday is a celebration of how much better I’m getting at life, since I’m always learning and growing. So it’s time to review the past year of my life, and what I learned throughout.  This past year was a big year for me - full of adventures, leaps (big and small) and a lot of excitement.

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