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.

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.

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

Next Level Unlocked

It’s nice having tangible markers of achievement. This is part of a lifetime of learning and sharing.

For years I tried to meditation in the “usual” way. It just wasn’t for me. Antsy, brain bouncing, couldn’t remember mantras, you name it. Instinctive meditation has changed all that for me. It’s about finding your own unique way into relaxed awareness. Inclusive, non-judgemental, joyous, deep. Sometimes rest deeper and more refreshing than sleep!

This is a practice for every day people. You may be surprised once you start exploring, that you’ve been experiencing mini-meditation moments all along!

You can come join me on Saturdays at 10 AM Pacific Time via Zoom for a weekly free drop-in session. Register by sending me an email at info@craftingthespirit.com.

I’m also available on a fee basis for individual meditation coaching and group sessions. I will sometimes incorporate sound experiences, such as monochord, reverie harp, singing bowls, gongs, and other instruments into a session when so moved or requested. Maybe you would like to have a unique gathering with friends or collegues. Part of a self-care session, life event celebration, etc.

I can’t wait to guide others in creating their own instinctive meditation practice. It’s so versatile, rich, and customizable to however one is in this busy world.