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Last night, after years of planning, I finally went to the Insight Meditation Community of Washington’s Wednesday night meditation and talk in Bethesda.

This is actually super huge for me because I have wanted to go to this sangha and dharma talk for years – ever since we first started (sometimes) living in the DC-area in 2009.

But, in the past, it always felt like if I wanted to go I’d have to go by myself because of babysitters and weeknights and all of the stuff that makes it difficult for two parents to get away on a Wednesday evening. And I just didn’t really want to go on my own – DC driving still gets the best of me.

Finally, I found a friend to join me and we made the (relatively) short drive up to Bethesda.

This meeting was everything that I had hoped it would be. Tara Brach is an incredible speaker – her presentation was infused with equal parts seriousness and levity. She tells great stories. She’s genuine and unencumbered…as, I guess, you would assume (or hope) a practicing Buddhist would be.

And meditating with a group of a couple hundred people was such a gift. I felt so at home….which is sometimes hard when our home is always changing.

So, in light of me finally, finally getting around to something I had been wanting to do for years (yay!) and also in celebration of the release of the Kindle copy of The Expat Activity Book (Yay! Yay!), I am sharing here what is without a doubt my favorite exercise in the book.

I find this exercise – On Thoughts and Emotions – a wonderful starter for people interested in testing the waters of mindfulness. It will walk you through some very basic steps of self-observation and I find it to be a really useful one for people who like formulas and clear, structured concepts when they’re trying out new things. I’ve shared it before, but honestly I love it so much I figure it’s the perfect time to give it a boost back up to the top of the blog.


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