Susan Nelson

Adventures of a Meditator, Episode #1

Susan Hills Nelson lives in Columbia, SC, and works as an attorney for Nelson Mullins Riley Scarborough. She has also been attending Ganden Kadampa Buddhist Center for about four years. This year, she made a New Year’s Resolution to meditate every day. She’ll be giving us a weekly update on this blog to let us know how it’s going.

Susan Nelson
Welcome to my first ever blog entry.

My name is Susan Hills Nelson and I have a meditation problem. I have been a Ganden Mahayana Buddhist Center regular since 2009 but have yet to develop a formal daily meditation practice. My goal: to maintain a daily meditation practice for one entire year. My determination level: high. I want to see how a daily practice changes me. How different will I be at the end of one year, both externally and internally? This blog, and you, dear cyber reader, are the answer to my very real meditation problem. As you read, I shall sit. And sit. And sit.

So this week, for the first time ever, I am happy to report that I attempted to meditate every day. I had to meditate at night because my friend Steve was staying with me from DC and we were trading off bathroom time in the morning. Meditating at night is rough. Here was the scene as Steve walked by my door several nights this week, seeing the light still on:

Steve: Goodnight Susan!

Susan: Zzzzzzzzzzzz. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

(Yes, I snore. Don’t judge.)

My first realization this week, despite sleeping through several meditations, is that I am fairly miserable, no, quite definitely miserable, most of the time. I often have a headache. I am often cranky, irritable, and altogether moody. My good moods are brief, fleeting, and often pass by unnoticed.

For example, my friend Steve likes to drive exactly 5 miles under the speed limit. This would seem to be a safe, unproblematic, and sensible thing to do. This drove me completely batty this week. Here was the scene as Steve and I drove to dinner:

Steve: So, what are you in the mood to eat?

Susan: Grrrrrrrrggghhh.

My second realization this week is that I have to do something about this NOW. Not 5 years from now when my anger and resentment turn into cancer, but immediately if not sooner. I don’t want to wait until something awful happens to wake me from my procrastination, like a death in the family, or a life threatening illness, or debilitating car crash, or a divorce. I don’t want to wait until I am sick or dying to fix my mind. I want to be ready when it does happen.

So one week of meditation down. 51 to go.

P.S. I apologized to Steve for being cranky-pants-snarky-party-pooper Susan this week. He accepted my apology. Whew.

8 replies
  1. Mitch Ray
    Mitch Ray says:

    Thanks for doing this Susan. Today was my first day of meditating at home. I will follow your blog. I hope to do it every day as well.

    Reply
    • Susan Nelson
      Susan Nelson says:

      Mitch,

      I look forward to hearing about how your practice is going. Set up that shrine! And send in a picture when you do!

      Susan

      Reply
  2. Mike Wilson
    Mike Wilson says:

    Thank you, Susan, for putting a human face (other than my own) on a problem that is apparently shared by more than one of us. Good to know and a source of both comfort and inspiration.

    Good luck to all of us!

    Reply
    • Susan Nelson
      Susan Nelson says:

      Hi Mike! Thank you for the vote of confidence.

      Hope to see you around the center sometime! Meditating in a group is twice the fun…

      Susan

      Reply
  3. Craig
    Craig says:

    Yeah, but it will be worth it; being able to clear your mind of EVERYthing, however briefly, trains you, later, to be able to focus tightly on ANYthing, when you need to. Glad to hear of others in the legal field traveling The Middle Way.

    PS…I swim daily at lunch at a YMCA facility with a nice sauna; the sauna is a perfect place to mediate, especially breath meditation, as the exhaled air from your nostrils gets warmer and warmer.

    Reply
    • Susan Nelson
      Susan Nelson says:

      Hey Craig,

      Being aware of the coolness of the breath on the inhalation and the warmth of the breath on the exhalation is a useful practice in observation and discrimination. I would imagine inhaling warm air and exhaling warmer air in the sauna works just as well, though I must admit I am a bit skeptical of sauna meditation!

      Regardless, thanks for the words of encouragement. Hopefully there are many more lawyer-meditators out there that we just don’t know about yet.

      Susan

      Reply
  4. H Nguyen
    H Nguyen says:

    Your insight into the need for transformation before your physical well being and others are affected by your mind is very intriguing. I’d like to know the process that lead you to attain this realization.

    Reply
  5. Scott
    Scott says:

    A feisty corporate attorney learning to meditate between litigation activity – I like it!

    I’m a meditation neophyte, para-legal student, & engineer that is trying to meditate but not quite there yet. However, I enjoy reading your articulate posts & looking forward to meeting you someday!

    Reply

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