Plugging In

My sister carried three tins full of baked goods to our table on Christmas night. Our stockings were hung by the fireplace. Gifts were wrapped and finished with bows. My parents had scurried about hanging Christmas decorations and trimming the tree.

Lights shine when they're plugged in

Lights shine when they’re plugged in

There was a star set on top and each branch was carefully wrapped with lights spaced perfectly to set the entire tree aglow on one condition – that they are plugged into the power source. Oh, how ordinary and essential this invention of Thomas Edison’s has become in our lives and what a fitting metaphor it provides for me during the Christmas holidays and for each day as we reach into a new year.

Lights must be plugged in order to shine.

Whether you’re Catholic or Buddhist, Hindu or Jew, a Jain or a follower of the Course in Miracles, the notion of plugging into something much greater than ourselves and a regular practice of taking time to sit in the lap of the universe is at the core of both ancient and modern beliefs. Sometimes referred to as prayer, sometimes called meditation, there is now much evidence about the mental, physical and spiritual benefits of experiencing this silence.

In a study from the journal Brain Research Bulletin, researchers found that individuals trained to meditate over 8-weeks were better able to control the brain waves known as alpha rhythms. According to MIT neuroscientist, Christopher Moore, “data indicates that meditation training makes you better at focusing, in part by allowing you to better regulate how things that arise will impact you.”

Wellness leaders such as Deepak Chopra advocate that a disciplined approach of as little as 10 minutes per day can lead to inner peace, greater intuition, compassion, awareness, focus, synchronicity and ultimately higher states of awareness. Medical researchers show results such as lower blood pressure, reduction in chronic pain and insomnia, boosts in immunity, and dozens of other health benefits.

It’s remarkable that a practice thought to reach into the heavens can cause so many earthly benefits while making an individual more grounded at the same time. Given that this is a reflective time of year for me, I’m looking back over 2012 and considering what I might modify in order to create a 2013 worthy of my best. Whether through prayer, meditation or even a weekly solitary walk through nature, the notion of “plugging in” will certainly make my list.  And by plugging in, I’m hopeful to shine.

Here’s wishing you and your family the best in the new year. May it be one that shines.

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62 Comments

  1. Wonderful post, Tammy! Shine on . . .

    Reply
  2. Hi Tammy, great post!

    That’s the best part of farming – I get to plug in every day whether I want to or not

    Reply
  3. Renee

     /  December 28, 2012

    Beautiful, Tammy. And a wonderful reminder of the benefits of meditation–something I’m planning to do more of in 2013!

    Reply
    • If you take a wander through a few of the sites, the list of benefits is truly amazing! I spent a few days with Deepak this year and learned so much. Now I have to put it into practice.

      Reply
  4. Mands

     /  December 28, 2012

    I think you shine already… and have done so with each sharing on your blog. Thank-you Tammy :) I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that the love of whose birth we celebrate enfolds you and yours and brings you joy. Happy New Year and I hope it brings all that you hope for yourself and more!

    Reply
    • Mands! great to see you. Thank you for the lovely compliment – I am so intrigued with the idea of being a lighthouse.

      Reply
  5. May only good things come your way Tammy :)

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  6. Happy New Year, Tammy! I loved this post about needing to plug in .. .so true! Praying your time meditating is blessed!

    Reply
  7. Bonnie

     /  December 29, 2012

    Very beautiful and thoughtful post Tammy. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with the world. In addition to the message, love the effects of falling snow on this posting. Happy New Year to you and your family.

    Reply
    • Thanks Bonnie. Same to you and your lovely family. I was fortunate enough to spend a few days with Deepak this year and I really enjoyed his message.

      Reply
  8. Lisa H

     /  December 29, 2012

    Very inspiring. I think I’ll make “plugging in” a resolution this year. Hope you had a lovely Christmas, it certainly sounds like you had a wonderful time!

    Reply
    • Thanks for reading Lisa. I think we need to find opportunities to plug in and to prioritize the time to do so.

      Reply
  9. Thanks for sharing this information. This makes very good sense. We spend much too much time “plugged in” to media. A little peace and quiet would do us all a ton of good. Have a wonderful New Year!!

    Reply
    • Yes! You hit the nail on the head Lucinda. Plugging in definitely means that we unplug from other things. That’s a major challenge for me and something that I need to work on.

      Reply
  10. A perfect, inspiring and timely post…may we all shine on this coming year! Thank you, Tammy!

    Reply
  11. That’s so true. We sometimes forget that we are spiritual beings and neglect that side of our lives. Thanks for the reminder! xx

    Reply
    • You’re right Charlie and why would we neglect something with mental, physical, and spiritual benefit?

      Reply
  12. You do shine, Tammy…the proof is always in front of me as I read your blog. Abundance of goodness and health in 2013.

    Reply
  13. I love this, Tammy. And while I do not usually make or keep New Years Resolutions, I think your post has given me considerable resolve this year…thank you.

    Reply
    • I think it’s best not to consider it a resolution but rather a beneficial lifestyle change – like starting a new job or taking a class.

      Reply
  14. Sally

     /  December 30, 2012

    Lovely post Tammy. I quietly turned on my computer while my guests were finishing their morning meditation and there you were. Yes, grounding, reflective and inspiration are three benefits I receive each time meditation is enjoyed. Lovely for you to write on this subject and share the mood and possibilities.
    I am invisioning the tree and the sweet family!

    Reply
    • Thanks for reading Sally! Appreciate all that you do for us and that you lead the way spiritually.

      Reply
  15. You will shine, and so will your 2013, Tammy! What a great thought, I’ll probably adopt the idea myself ;)
    All the best and shiniest 2013 to you!

    Reply
    • Thanks Estrella – of course stars shine, don’t they? Thanks for the kindness that you share with others. Best in 2013!

      Reply
  16. I just wanted to say thanks for being an inspiration for me this year! I am encouraged to write once a week as you have! May you have a blessed 2013!

    Reply
  17. Tammy, this is a wonderful post – perfect for Christmas and the New Year, well, perfect for any day of the year! It’s never too late to start plugging in to your source of power – it’s something that none of can live well without – and there are an amazing amount of people who will try to, oddly enough!

    I have appreciated your blog since the first day I read it, and though I have been a very infrequent commenter, it does not mean that I am an infrequent reader. My writing pursuits have been self-centered for the past several months, working on several major projects – SO! I wanted to tell you, especially before the year runs out how much your informative writing has meant to me and to the way I look at and approach food/agriculture on a daily basis. I wish you all the blessings that come from the abundance of enough. . .

    Reply
  18. An inspiring reflection, “, the notion of plugging into something much greater than ourselves and a regular practice of taking time to sit in the lap of the universe is at the core of both ancient and modern beliefs.” We need to believe on something or someone that will enrich our faith and our selves. To make sense of life. To live life with meaning. Merry Christmas and a happy , blessed New Year.

    Reply
  19. Not sure whether this post should be called “Unplugging” or “Plugging In” but either way, there’s no question that we benefit from connecting to a source of higher power, whatever name we give it. Your post came on the heels of listening to John Kabat-Zinn’s interview on On Being which I strongly recommend to your readers as a basis for starting on the path to mindfulness: http://www.onbeing.org/program/opening-our-lives/138

    Reply
  20. Not sure whether this post should be titled “Unplugging” or “Plugging In” because there’s no question we can all benefit from connecting to a source of higher power, no matter what name we give it. your post came timely on the heels of listening to John Kabat Zinn’s interview on On Being, which I highly recommend to your followers: http://www.onbeing.org/program/opening-our-lives/138.

    Reply
  21. shine on, tammy! :)

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  22. I have been hearing a lot of good things about meditation lately. Putting this on my “todo” list for next year. And since I’m here, I want to officially wish you a Happy New Year!

    Reply
    • It’s a difficult practice to begin and sustain but if you check out the Chopra center, they have some 21 day challenges that might be enjoyable to you.

      Reply
  23. Nicely said. We, and everything else we can think of, is made of stars. Our finger tip, a peach blossom, a goat hoof, plastic bubble wrap, a puppy’s breath, and the Sydney Opera House are all quite literally stellar. More focus on our interconnectedness would benefit everyone.

    Reply
    • And that is the essence of what is discovered through a practice like this – connectedness.

      Reply
  24. Happy New Year..Great Christmas Post!!!

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  25. a stunning and simple post. Beautiful thoughts, and I’ve been trying to practice more meditation regularly and had also been reading recently of it’s benefits – that and getting outside for 10 to 15 minutes a day. I find meditation stills my mind, which is a truly tricky thing to do, but one I try and persevere with. Sometimes the hardest things are worth the effort aren’t they.
    Wishing you a wonderful, joyous and peaceful new year, and yes a shining one too! Claire x

    Reply
    • It is a hard practice Claire but one that those who have accomplished would never give up.

      Reply
  26. Plugging in – loved this post and I try to do it as often as I can. For me its the pre dawn runs that really help. Look forward to making it a more focused effort in 2013! Happy New Year to you.

    Reply
  27. Many years ago I enjoyed and benefitted from meditation. Thanks for the reminder of those benefits. I think it’s time to start again. All the best in the new year. Terri

    Reply
  28. What a beautiful post Tammy, and what a lovely description of the benefits from meditation/prayer. Meditation has been part of my daily life for decades and the peace and centeredness it helps to create throughout the day definitely benefit my spirit, body, mind and even my photography. Although it’s clear from knowing you through your posts that you already shine, may 2013 find you “plugged in” often, Namaste.

    Reply
    • Thank you Rick. I’m not a bit surprised that you have this practice. Was it inspired in any particular genre?

      Reply
  29. Too often, I’m unplugged and then wonder why my light doesnt shine.
    Duh. These things should get easier with time.

    Reply
  30. Great post!
    Best wishes to you and your family for the new year.

    Reply
  31. thank you for this wonderful new year post, Tammy. You are a light in many ways. I will definitely try to “plug in” more often, using my time differently.
    Wishing you and yours a most beautiful and shining year.

    Reply

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