“Stillness feels like knots of static straightening out —releasing, smoothing, flowing on and on . . . carrying me, resting me, loving me!”
The breath is portable. This is both obvious and a surprise.
Obvious because you are always breathing. A surprise because you could be using the breath to: calm yourself, relax, protect yourself from chaos. You could use the breath to experience stillness. To take yourself on vacation everyday.
Even if you don’t want to get away, following the breath will help you to stay present and to respond from a calmer, wiser, more creative place.
But how? How do you take this place into your life?
You take it by practice. A little at a time. You will be practicing stillness, too as they come together.
Start with 3 minutes (or more if you have a practice already) of following the breath In and Out.
You can say to yourself “In” on the in breath and “Out” on the out breath. Notice that after you do this for however long you decide, you feel more “still” inside.
A Maine artist, Joy Vaughan, has created an installation, that seems a physical representation of this stillness (picture below). The outside is covered with a great accumulation of her “to do” lists. The inside has several images and writings of her favorite dreams, for her the night’s version of the Stillness.
So what will you do with your next batch of “to do” lists to come your way?
To be continued….
From the “Negative Feelings in Safety” meditation in the Writing and Healing book.
Exercise Two, Self Care.
Complete the following: “I reached out my hand again and something was placed in the upturned palm. It was a phrase, ‘Let ________________ go.'” Fill in the blank and write on. Again, use scene and dialogue if you want. (Who gave you the words? Do you know?) from Session Six, Writing & Healing: A Mindful Guide to Cancer Survivors.
The second exercise of Session Six, is similar to the first exercise, in that you receive something—which you will name—to help you learn to take better care of yourself. An upturned palm symbolizes a willingness to learn about yourself. You can do this, even if you don’t have the Meditation CD. Sit quietly and follow your breath “In Out” until you feel you have reached a bit of stillness inside yourself. Then write the sentence above, filling in the blank.
This time it was my Granny who came to put the phrase into my palm. I decided to have a dialogue with her using my dominant hand (right) for myself and my non-dominant hand (left) for her.
What do you mean “worry”?
Thoughts like what would happen if someone you loved died or someone stumbled on their life path and you couldn’t help.
I thought it was good to put these feelings into writing.
It is or how else would I have known. The thing is you have been worrying about these things for a long time. Or situations like it. Your worry feelings have different actors.
It’s good to know what is there, don’t you think? I didn’t know I was worrying.
It’s just that worry by itself, what you have been doing, doesn’t get you anywhere. Worry is heavy, darling. It also multiplies. First it is worry about health and before you know it the worry has spread to a dozen other things as well. It’s like a barge of worry being on a waterway controlled by locks. It you open a lock for one and forget to close it barges of worry keep coming.
How do I close the lock?
Close the lock with other writing. Try gratitude for a few days. Worry will never disappear, just don’t let it take up all the space.
I am a terrific Caretaker, but taking care of myself is unnatural to me. Self-Care is hard to do alone. There should be groups for it, like weight watchers with the points and the choices and victory or, too bad but try again. For Self-Care their could lists of be specific things to and not to do each day.
Self-Care goes against something deep in me. When I am really honest I think that resting will cost me time. Time for what? Time to get it all done.
What is it? Finish my two books waiting to be edited. Time to market my published book—but that feels like pouring my time into a bucket with holes in the bottom.
And then there are the grandchildren. That’s not a matter of time but of heart. Being with them is good for my heart. Their hearts. To rest instead of seeing them puts time over love.
Then, there is a voice that says, “If you don’t rest you might lose time forever? Does this voice speak because I have had cancer?
Cancer makes me remember that I have put together a whole session in my book on Self-Care. That’s what I need to do. Do the session with the meditation CD in my book, Writing and Healing: A Mindful Guide for Cancer Survivors. When I’m leading groups I am much more careful of myself.
I’m going to use the writing techniques from my book and see what I have to say next….
Writing takes something inside of you – a feeling, an idea, a memory- and gets it onto paper so that you can see it, read it, re-read it, show it, save it, and even add to it later. All of this instead of holding it inside yourself or letting your words drift off into the air. Writing gives words lasting form.
Here I am. The prettiest of them all. More wonderous than the leaves on my climbing vine, more colorful than the grass at my feet.
I haven’t always been like this. Once a tiny dark seed, I was just a promise of something glorious. And before that I was genetically engineered to be just the right mix of red and gold.
But here I am, and you’d think I’d be happy, but I’m bored. I want adventure and freedom from this vine and, well, I want exactly what I don’t have. Isn’t that normal? Who wants to be a glorious rose all the time? Leave a comment. What would you want to be? You could start..”I want to be…”
I am fast winds and fury today. I am ancient and I sit outside a monastic ruin far away. But now I’m a picture, too, so you can look at me. Tomorrow I will be something else. I might be in the rain and my trunk and branches will glisten. I will be majestic.
And then on another day…what do you think? Leave a comment.
I am a crystal pitcher holding white tulips. I am quite old, but the tulips in me were almost newborn a few days ago. Now, daily, they are faltering. They have gone from standing up straight to choosing their own falling down angle. I still find them lovely, but soon, because they get no fresh water, they will dry up. I wish I could help. If I had a voice I’d remind the lady who owns me to take better care of things. Herself included. I’d tell her…
Leave a comment. Finish the sentence
There was a tree at my Grandmother’s that reminds me of this one. It had a bench underneath and my granny said that was because it was a storytelling tree.
At first I thought the tree talked so I listened but only heard some crickets and the wind. Granny said, no, IT listened while you told it stories. In our case, Granny told the stories and the tree and I listened. Granny said that all good stories and words, make everyone feel better. Even a tree.
Do you make up stories? Give it a try. What would story you tell the tree?