creative practice, instinctive meditation, journaling, meditation, music, sound therapy, Uncategorized

The Joy of Being an Open-minded Skeptic

This video combines three of my creative practices: music, art, and meditation. I used the often accepted premise of colour and sound associations with the seven main chakras of the human body.

I got to thinking- what is the origin of these associations? I mean- the notes are from a modern Western scale. Even thinking about the chakras themselves. They line up with major endocrine glands, and that makes some sense. Sometimes I think every cell might be a chakra- little galaxies dancing around in the dense formation we call our body. It’s useful to have guides of some sort for visualization. When I’ve worked with people’s energies, I have felt different buzzes of energy rather than colours, and not necessarily where the chakras have been traditionally assigned. After all, the body’s nervous system is bioelectrical, and I’ve often thought just as possible to “leak” as a light switch that’s not wired correctly.

Humans are interesting in to what they give value and meaning. I found information that the association of colours with chakras either began with the Tantric association with the elements, in 1927 from Charles W. Leadbeater’s 1927 book “The Chakras”or in the 1970s with Christopher Hill’s book called “Nuclear Evolution: Discovery of the Rainbow Body”. So colours have become associated by mostly universal agreement.

Sound is another matter. There’s been a bit more study from my short stint of looking, around the effect of sound as a healing tool. Also a lot of claims, and again agreed upon parameters.

There’s no doubt that sound can create the opportunity, a doorway, if you will, for the brain and body’s relaxation response to kick in. And I’ve seen videos of people with Parkinson’s have their tremors decrease dramatically when music, especially favourites of the subject is played.

Music- groups of sounds linked together in a deliberate (even in improvisational music) has been a proven tool for people to access their unconscious mind, express feelings they might not be able to with words (emotionally or physiologically), and connecting with the breath through movement, vocalizations, and breath.

I’m less certain of claims, for example, of a tuning fork or singing bowl of a certain frequency being placed on the body will invoke healing. The vibrations feel good, but I’m not certain of the healing properties. Or laying on a vibroacoustic table (I’d like to try that out! For science!) Other than the mind is a very powerful tool on its own. Plus. Singing bowls have a fundamental tone and multiple overtones, so which is the supposedly healing tone?

I do what I call sound experiences, but I wouldn’t call it sound healing. I create a safe and supportive atmosphere with sound allowing the listener the opportunity to relax and allow the body’s natural instinct to rest and repair to activate. I will sometimes invite participants to sense if they feel a sound in their body, and if and thoughts or associations come up that they’d like to explore.

Sound/music has the potential to invoke a relaxation response- which can include a decrease in blood pressure and theta and delta waves of the brain, but it’s not guaranteed. Sounds one person finds soothing, another may find jarring or creates tension. I personally have trouble feeling relaxed around high pitched notes, ocean drums or white noise.

I’m excited for the research to dive into this intriguing field.

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!

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.

focus, goal setting, passion, Personal Development, Personal growth, Uncategorized

Content, Connection, Goals, and Plans

Things are not always what they appear to be on the surface
Photo by my friend Andrea.

The other day I was listening to a talk by Bradley T. Morris, a lifestyle and business design coach. He was describing one of his “AHA” moments. While sitting in Nature enjoying a sunset, he discovered he was already formulating a social media post rather than being absorbed in the moment. That realization was his inspiration to approach business in a completely different way. What a perfect example of how social media and online presence has taken over the lives of so many. Going through our days with an eye to creating content and capturing likes, follows, and share instead of fully embodying our experience.

Social media’s been mixed for me. I’ve definitely had moments when I take a picture or have a passionate flow of words come to me and think “Oh man! This will make a great post!” It’s also connected me to people I’ve come to call true friends, collaborators, teachers and mentors from all over the world I wouldn’t have had a chance to interact with otherwise. It’s provided an audience for my images, words, and music I might not have had. It’s inspired me to refine my photographic eye and hone other creative skills.

Being content-focused to me is living on the surface. It can take up a lot of energy, without a lot of reward for either the creator or consumer. Creating content with the goal of connection, though, has the potential to be inspirational and even interactive.

It’s important too, I feel to make sure the mission and message are aligned. That a subversive mission of gaining a following doesn’t dilute the offering.

In my own experience lately, I found I was expending a lot of effort in creating content in a way I thought would bring me passive income and potentially a large following. It. Was. All. So. Hard. I realized one day I had distracted myself from my original goal, which was (and still is) to find a way to share with others my joy of creative practice, and how it can contribute to making meaning.

To the point where even though a particular plan felt so uncomfortable, wrong, not “me”, I was pursuing it anyway. I had veered off the path of wanting to truly connect with others and holding space for them to make their own discoveries to healing, stillness, and celebration of this thing we call life.

Full.

Stop.

So, Adele, you may be thinking… what does all this have to do with goals and plans?

For one, the concepts of content, connection, goals, and plans have been tumbling around all together in my mind these past few weeks.

Let’s consider, for a moment, to look at both content and goals as intent. They can both be broad and vague. Examples could be: This topic is trending and I’m going to rehash it/share a meme. I want to increase clicks with this catchy headline. We will create a brand that will create excitement in a certain demographic. I want to write a best seller novel/song. I want to be a baseball player. I want to change my weight/fitness level. Goals are an expression of a desire. Sometimes they are realistic, and sometimes they are really more dreams than anything.

Plans are the action steps: I’m going to go a new provocative route with this trending topic, and these are the steps I’m taking. The headline is not just a teaser, but the content makes you want more. This month we will launch new packaging that’s more appealing to a demographic. I am scheduling time each day to devote to a pursuit, either for enjoyment or mastery. I am sitting down today to make my meal plan for how I want to eat. They connect (see? this is how my brain works!) the dream to reality. The route to achievement. A sense of meaning is being created. Good stuff!

I chose the image for this post because for me it’s both content and connection. It’s made from a butter box I was going to recycle. I turned it inside out, and created something different. From the outside, it’s not what it appears to be. It can hold anything. Rocks, slips of paper with words of encouragement. Or as it turned out, a pair of sock I knitted and gave to a friend because I started knitting them while staying with her when I had nowhere else to stay.

My invitation to you this week is to look at what you are putting out to the world. Are your message and mission in alignment? Are you creating value, or simply a scroll pause?