focus, goal setting, inspiration, instinctive meditation, meditation, mindfulness, Personal Development, Personal growth

The Beauty of Micropractice

How many of us have said “I don’t have time”?
To go for a walk.
To spend time on a hobby.
To meditate.

There’s a way in. And it’s micropractice. A very short dedicated time to doing a thing.
One way is to set a reminder to stop and do the thing. For five minutes. For one minute. For three breaths. For one. Get up and walk around the block. Have a picture of your favourite place or people and spend a couple minutes looking at it.

Let’s dive in to meditation as an example.

A practice that I give to clients for when they sense they are becoming overwhelmed/stressed out/just need a quick break is for each inhale and exhale, touch your thumb to a finger… index, middle, and so on. And back up. It’s helped me so many times. I believe combining the breaths with the touch helps embody a relaxation response.

Here’s a video demonstration of the breathing techniques: https://craftingthespirit.com/2022/04/20/micropractice-breathwork-demonstration/

There are so many ways to incorporate a micropractice into your day.

Inhale the aroma of your morning beverage, the sensation of heat or cold, the feel of the cup in your hands.

Delight in the colour of light and the play of shadows.

The sensation of gravity on your body.

Take one deep breath, and on the exhale, exaggerate with a drop of your shoulders. Or take a three part breath- two on the inhale and one long exhale. Like when a child is done crying. For some people that’s more effective than one breath. With practice you may find one breath is a great reset!

Eventually, you may find you have or crave more time to do the thing. This is part of habit formation and it’s amazing how it works.

When I want to regroup/reset/refresh, I often like to get out in Nature. If I’m really feeling wound up, I choose a route that requires some physical exertion to dispel that pounding fight-or-flight feeling.

I find a place to sit or walk, and take in my surroundings. Maybe noticing how my breathing is changing. Allowing the thoughts to flow, and usually they will settle down.

I will follow the whirls of tree bark, the swirls of flower petals, the flow of water down a stream. The shifting shapes of clouds. The dancing of light and shadow at my feet. Watch a bee fly from flower to flower, and delight as its yellow pollen pants grow fat and heavy.

I once laid on a rock in the middle of a river so long that I became both the river and the rock.

Sometimes an answer comes, if I’ve been looking. Sometimes I feel lighter. Almost always I come back from the mountain, or forest, or ocean ready to take on what’s next.

My invitation to you this week to to experiment with incorporating micropractices into your day. Set aside several of these micropractice minutes in your day. I’d love to hear how it goes!

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, journaling, meditation, mindfulness, Personal Development, Personal growth

Reimagining Sacrifice

“Every choice we make is a sacrifice of sorts, when you think of it. And we often do it without thought. It’s when we are confronted with the biggies… changing our life course in one way or another… that sacrifice becomes A Really Big Deal. Learning to cultivate the awareness of this, and transferring energy to radical positive actions is an art.”

I’ve been thinking lately about the concept of sacrifice. How it’s often seen in a negative light… one of nostalgia, guilt or regret. Of giving up one’s own path to boost another’s. Of deprivation. Of punishment. And often unwillingly.

I began then to consider a shift in perspective. To see sacrifice as an intentional, willing offering up. An act of redemption and rebirth. A surrender to what is, in order to allow opportunities to be seen. A liberation from the tight attempted control of ego over circumstances. As the book I’m reading currently says “giving up the transitory for the sake of the transcendent.”

Every choice we make is a sacrifice of sorts, when you think of it. And we often do it without thought. It’s when we are confronted with the biggies… changing our life course in one way or another… that sacrifice becomes A Really Big Deal. Learning to cultivate the awareness of this, and transferring energy to radical positive actions is an art.

Callings” by Gregg Levoy is one of the guiding books I’ve returned to many times in life. He writes: “Every sacrifice, though, every step toward action, every response to a call necessitates a leap of faith and is done without knowing the outcome. It is, as the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard described, the epitome of anxiety meeting courage. It is Jonah leaping overboard, which seems like madness, yet often in following our own calls, we’re told by others that we’re crazy. At some level, we, too have to make an ultimate sacrifice to our callings. We need to devote everything, our whole selves. A part-time, sorta-kinda commitment, an untested promise, wont’s suffice. You must know that you mean business, that you’re going to jump into it up to your eye sockets and not turn back at the last minute. In making the leap from vision to form, you will be tested and suffer setbacks, occasionally severe. At our first steps toward authenticity– or love or compassion or any high calling–every devil in in hell will come out to meet us. Only when you try your vision in the world can you test whether it’s true.”

The description of sacrifice being the epitome of anxiety meeting courage… whoa! What a powerful interpretation of the concept of “leap of faith”!! I’ve talked before about the “oh shit” moment from the book “Radical Leap”, and following the what ifs as a jumping off point for adventure and discovery. And committing once and for all, as presented by Alan Seale. These are all ways of sacrificing what was, what is, for what can be. Devoting one’s self to the process, regardless of outcome.

You be thinking, but hey.. he’s talking about commitment to an action… isn’t that contradictory to surrender? I don’t see it as such. What if you replace the word surrender to awareness, acknowledgement, or acceptance? Doing so might open sight to possibilities within a circumstance. Or it might indicate we need to change something completely.

“What are you willing to give up to ensure your own unfolding, and the unfolding of what is holy in your life?”