Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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A Year of Mindfulness-Appreciation

Namaste dear mindfulness readers…and all readers, of course.

Last week we started again with our mindfulness practice. We restarted with listening-listening like a sponge. That is, being completely present for the person speaking. Leaving distraction behind-not reading email while someone talked, not texting, not watching TV, and most challenging, not letting our mind wander while someone talked to us.

How did you do with this practice?

I think this is a very important practice and a very challenging one. We have become so used to doing more than one thing at a time that it is very difficult to set all things aside except for one task-to listen completely.

This Week’s Practice: Appreciation

This week’s practice is another favorite. This week we are asked to stop what we are doing during the day and take time to appreciate one thing in that moment. It could be something about yourself, another person, the environment, etc. The task is to consciously identify something, anything, that we appreciate in that moment.

This exercise is different from writing affirmations and reciting them. Affirmations are a good start to creating a more positive outlook. But, personally, I still find them to be a bit, um, unbelievable. They can feel “hokey” to me. And believe me, I’ve been working with affirmations for several years. I “get” what they’re supposed to do. I’m just not sure how much I believe in what I write as an affirmation.

With appreciation, or gratitude, if you prefer, you are investigating. We stop for a few moments and have to look, listen, and feel. What is cause for appreciation in this moment. (As I sit here, I’m really appreciating my repaired laptop that is now working much better than it did a few days ago.)

It is easy to appreciate positive experiences, such as having food in our belly. But what about when someone we dislike or are jealous of is given something that we want for ourselves, such as an award or public acclaim? Can we feel joy in their joy? This is not so easy. I personally continue to work hard on appreciating another person’s success or recognition.

This week, stop what you are doing for a few minutes and take time to appreciate. Take time to be grateful for one thing during that moment.

Reflection: We have no right to ask when a sorrow comes, ‘Why did this happen to me?’ unless we ask the same question for every joy that comes our way. -Unknown

We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have. -Fredrick Keonig


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A Year of Mindfulness: Saying Yes

As we continue our journey in mindfulness, we were asked last week to let our hands rest. This practice resounded with several of you, especially those of you who use your hands every day as part of your job. As I write this, my right wrist is starting to ache. A good sign that I need to take a break and give my hands a rest. Because we use our hands frequently during the day, it is easy to forget and neglect them. So be mindful of your hands. Be kind to your hands and let them rest.

This Week’s Practice: Saying Yes

Hmm, I’m already finding this practice a challenge. This week we are asked to say yes to everyone and everything that happens. The purpose behind this practice is to recognize if the impulse to disagree is really necessary. Is it possible to simply nod or be silent and pleasant?

How often do you take a stance that is negative or oppositional? When someone is speaking, are you aware of your thoughts forming defenses and counterarguments? Can you resist the desire to disagree if the issue is not critical? How often do you automatically think “Oh no” during  a typical day?

When you are asked a question or are having a conversation with someone, become aware of your body language (tensing muscles, crossed arms), thoughts (“I don’t agree with….”), speech (“That’s a stupid idea”), or actions (rolling the eyes.) These may all be automatic, negative responses or reactions. Can you turn these around into positive reactions? Or perhaps no reaction (ie: the “silent and pleasant” comment above.)

As Dr. Bays states: “Not expressing opposition helps us to let go of self-centered views and see that our personal opinion is actually not so important after all. Saying yes can be energizing, since habitual resistance is a persistent drain on our life energy.”

So this week, try saying yes (if the situation is not dangerous to you or others), or nod pleasantly, or be silent, pleasant and neutral. Make note of what happens.

Reflection: If men would consider not so much wherein they differ, as wherein they agree, there would be far less of uncharitableness and angry feeling.- Joseph Addison


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Monday Reflection: Growth is a Lifelong Process

There’s a concept often held
by people in the personal growth movement
that it’s all pretty simple-
all you have to do is change your thoughts,
use a certain technique,
and things should clear up.
People really believe that if they just were able to
follow this particular path
or do this method,
everything should work.
Then, when that turns out not to be the case,
they blame themselves.

That belief is simply extremely naive.

We are going through an amazing transformational process.
We are delving down through countless layers.
We’re transforming the ways people have lived
and behaved for centuries.
We can’t simply say a few affirmations
or do a simple technique
and have it all be done.
Growth is a lifelong process.

-Shakti Gawain
Awakening: A Daily Guide to Conscious Living


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A Thanksgiving Prayer

Lord, behold our family here assembled.
We thank you for this place in which we dwell,
for the love that unites us,
for the peace accorded to us this day,
for the hope with which we expect the morrow;
for the health, the work, the food and the bright skies
that make our lives delightful;
for our friends in all parts of the earth.
-Amen

-Robert Louis Stevenson



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Monday Reflection: Compassion, Sorrow, and Kindness

Compassion is the heart’s response to sorrow.
We share in the beauty of life and in the ocean of tears.
The sorrow of life is part of each of our hearts
and part of what connects us with each other.
It brings with it tenderness, mercy,
and an all-embracing kindness that can touch every being.

-Jack Kornfield

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