instinctive meditation, meditation, mindfulness, Personal Development, Personal growth

Relational Pauses and Self Care

It’s so important to make time to reset and regenerate, both for well-being and resilience. Within an organization or community, this is called a relational pause.

There’s been a huge upsurge in meditation apps and personal self care programs. I think that’s fantastic.

It’s also important to foster a sense of community, which so many of us crave, and I feel is part of what will encourage healing and rebuilding of our geographical communities, organizational culture, and the planet.

This article has some good insights on what is, and what is not, working as organizations develop self care programs. https://hbr.org/2022/04/stop-framing-wellness-programs-around-self-ca

I invite you to form real-life groups for this kind of connection. I was amazed during my meditation teacher training how incredibly intimate and effective a virtual real time meeting is. In person is even better.

You can join me on Saturdays at 10 AM Pacific Time for a free zoom guided group meditation. If you’re not registered already, send me an email at info@craftingthespirit.com and I will send you the zoom link.

I can also work with you for a fee individually, or with your organization to set up a meditation practice and/or self care program.

creative practice, Creativity, inspiration, instinctive meditation, instinctive meditation, journaling, meditation, mindfulness, Uncategorized

Daydreaming is a Superpower

Sometimes a focal point can serve as a doorway into daydreaming

I found a piece of writing I wanted to share here today, and while reading was instantly transported to the scene that inspired it. I was driving, and while at a stop sign, saw a man waiting for a bus. As I drove on, a whole story was born, simply from that chance encounter.

Then I thought: Oh! My theme for today is daydreaming. I did a bunch of research on the significance and importance of daydreaming, and was set to write A Big Article, and it didn’t feel right. So I did some dishes and went for a walk, and had my AHA.

This was the practice of daydreaming in action!

The default mode for our minds is wandering, which I feel in part is why so many people who sit to meditate feel they fail. Our minds have a bunch of “apps” running in the background, sorting, categorizing, resetting, and when we take time to sit, it all comes to the surface, it’s named as monkey mind, and we decide we are meditating wrong.

In this mode, we are working against the natural process of the mind. If you choose instead to get curious, you might notice a vacillation between analytic/linear and empathetic/creative processes. This is part of the beautiful syzygy of being human- the flow between opposites.

Have you ever noticed that if you are working and working and working on solving something and can’t, you get a sudden urge to do something else? Sure, it can be procrastination, or distraction. It can also be your mind telling you it needs a rest. To go deep into areas that are not accessed often and maybe even come up with a novel solution to what you were so struggling so hard to solve (or find your car keys).

Give into that urge. Set a timer if you are feeling time pressure. Do something mindless for a few minutes. Sudden remembering in the shower, anyone?

Structured daydreaming is when you select a topic. It’s a rehearsal of sorts, where you envision the entire reality, including all the steps, and any obstacles that might arise. Performers and athletes use this technique to visualize future actions all the time.

Some have described daydreaming as thinking for pleasure. Isn’t that a lovely concept? Allowing your mind to wander without a goal. Kids do it all the time. It becomes a social activity when a group gets together and creates a new reality or fantasy world together. It gives you an opportunity to explore interesting topics in new ways, and there are lots of studies showing that daydreaming can enhance creativity and productivity. It can decrease stress.

Hey!

This is sounding a lot like instinctive meditation! Why not set aside some time each day to daydream. Twenty minutes is great, as it gives you a chance to really get in there. Start with five or even two minutes if twenty feels daunting. I sometimes ask “OK mind, where would you like to go today?” After things like to do lists or other issues float by, I’m often delighted to find myself remembering a time I was in Nature, or sometimes music or writing or a visual art idea will come to me.

Daydreaming has been pushed to the back, I feel. Sure, some of us get lost in scrolling on our devices, but on some level that input is still being filtered through the mind, without giving it a chance to dance about in it’s own inner library.

Give it a try, and let me know how it goes. Give your mind some unstructured playtime, without expectation of an outcome. Let your inner critic/censurer take a break. Daydreaming is a great superpower to have!
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For those who are curious, here’s the written piece that ended up inspiring today’s theme.
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The man stood at the corner, hair slicked back. His grubby brown suit was tight, giving the impression that he’d been standing too long in the hot sun and had swollen up with the heat. Entire continents of sweat began to appear, spreading across the oceans of cloth. In one hand was a well-worn paper bag. He would look down the street… at his watch.. down the street.

With a sigh, he sat on the bench and opened the bag. The book was large and covered in elaborately tooled brown leather. It seemed the pages were made entirely of gold, the gilding was so heavy on the edges. He wiped his hand on the thigh of his pants, opened the book, and moved his lips as he read.

While he read, he imagined walking up and setting the book on the lectern. Now they would listen, and see his importance. After the service, the people would walk up to him, talk to him and….

Suddenly he heard the voice of his Grandmother: “The bigger the crown, the bigger the fool”.

The man closed the book, and began to weep.



creative practice, Creativity, inspiration, instinctive meditation, meditation, mindfulness, music, passion, sensation, sound therapy

Surrender

Enter a wordless mantra and enter a state of relaxed awareness.

One of the ways I enjoy being in the world is by creating music and art. Both the music and art in this video are my original creations.

This composition of mine has a theme of surrender. Often seen as “giving up”, there’s an opportunity to seeing surrender as giving over to a new way of being.

Surrender to grace.
Surrender to inner peace.
Surrender to a state of relaxed awareness- maybe even to a few moments of sleep.
Surrender to love with an open heart.

I hope you enjoy this offering of mine. Best with headphones, and not while driving or doing a task that requires focus for safety.

inspiration, instinctive meditation, instinctive meditation, journaling, meditation, mindfulness, passion, Personal Development, Personal growth

The Many Doorways to Meditation

Today I came across the poem “On Meditating, Sort Of” by Mary Oliver, and I feel it’s a great description of instinctive meditation, which is what I practice.

She describes the common perception of meditation requiring a certain posture, mindset, or even staying awake. How wonderful it feels to enter that place in between, and the deliciousness of returning, feeling refreshed, relaxed, and a deeper connection to self and everything there is.

This is the beauty of instinctive meditation. It can happen spontaneously, like when you look at a flower or rock so intimately that you follow the textures and colours to their own stories. Or become aware of the conversation between different types of trees when the wind dances with them. Feeling the energy of the sun seep into the galaxies of cells in your body. Laying down for a sacred nap and floating for awhile.

It’s a beautiful gift to yourself to set aside intentional time each day for meditation, as well. I like to do this when I first wake up, before getting out of bed, and last thing. Mid-afternoons, too when I have time. It doesn’t have to be for long. If your day is busy and you are in the midst of other people, you can make a couple minutes private time to remember a favourite place, or a time you felt so at home with yourself, and come back a bit more refreshed. Maybe you have a rock, or shell, or some other small object you can carry with you as a reminder.

These times you gift yourself don’t have to be spent in stillness, with your eyes closed. If you enjoy listening to music, listen. If you like e to make your own music, play. Dance, go surfing, run, or go for a walk if movement is your jam. Make jam! Write in your journal, draw long flowing lines, or paint, or weed your garden. Anything that is time just for you, and brings a sense of ease to your day.

Try it for a week, and let me know how it goes!

inspiration, instinctive meditation, journaling, meditation, mindfulness

Creating Sanctuary in a Busy World

I saw a sign while out walking the other day: “Access to Sanctuary”, showing a route for those who have challenges navigating stairs.

And it got me to thinking about personal sanctuary. How so many people have difficulty in finding sanctuary for and within themselves. A place to find respite from the every day world, or to relax and do something enjoyable, or to be in blissful silence for a few minutes

We have roommates, live with extended family, are care givers for children or aging parents. Some of us live in situations that are unsafe, where letting down our guard for an instant could bring on harm of some sort. We might be working multiple jobs in order to just survive. We might feel we need a lot of resources (time and money) to experience sanctuary as we see it. There may be attachment to outcome, if one sees an activity as needing to make something, versus the act of making for the pleasure of it.

All of these can seem like insurmountable obstacles to sanctuary. I feel there are small ways we can create sanctuary for ourselves that take very little in the way of time or material resources.

If you can’t create a corner of a room, that when you go there, people know it’s your “you” time, maybe there’s somewhere you can go. I know people who go to their car to sit for a moment of peace, or a few extra minutes in the bathroom. If that’s not an option, maybe you can walk around the block, or have say a hat, that when you put it on, others where you live know it’s your private time. Sanctuary can be created by listening to or creating music, scribbling on paper, journaling. Anything that gives you an opportunity to simply BE for a few minutes.

Or get your whole household involved. Agree to set a time aside that’s quiet, non-device time. Set a timer if need be. It doesn’t have to be something you do together.

If you work where you have a desk, and are allowed to have personal items, put up a picture of a favourite place, or have a rock or shell from a walk handy that you can pick up and hold. If you can, on your work breaks, get outside for a few minutes. When I worked in a retail setting, I often used my time in the freight elevator to find a peace moment. If you’re allowed to listen to music, do it!

And if none of those are options, there is always the breath. Slower, deeper breathing can trigger the parasympathetic nervous system- the relaxation response. Over time, I’ve taught myself to find a focused calmness in one breath. OK. Sometimes it takes a few on days I’m wound up. It happens! Give it a try. Breath in your natural rhythm and simply notice your breath. What is the texture of it, the sound? Are you breathing slowly and deeply, or fast and shallow? Where in your body do you feel it? Try breathing in slowly, hold for a few counts, exhale, hold for a few counts. Does that feel different to you?

One of my favourite things as a kid was blowing bubbles, which now that I think of it, is breath made visible. I just might have to make a bubble wand and blow bubbles soon!

I hope that this has given you some ideas how to find sanctuary for yourself. Try putting it in your schedule if you’re too busy. Two minutes. Everyday. Just for you.