Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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A Year of Mindfulness: Look Up

Last week we were asked to become mindful of water. To become aware of water in almost everything we encounter and in all its various forms. Becoming mindful of water during the summer season seems rather timely. Many towns in my area have signs posted asking residents to reduce their water usage-odd/even days for watering lawns, no watering after certain hours, etc. These requests don’t seem as severe as in years past when people were trucking in water to fill their pools or abandoning their pools altogether.

Spending a few days on the coast of Maine reminded me of the power of water as waves crashed over rocks and I read stories of shipwrecks and lives lost. Looking out at the ocean it seems hard to believe that we could ever face a shortage of water. One thing I’ve learned about water is that you must respect it because water always wins.

This Week’s Practice: Look Up!

This week we are asked to broaden our visual field and look up. Look up at the ceiling. Look up at the sky. Instead of looking at what is right in front of you, change your perspective and look up. Broaden your mind.

We spend much of our day going through the motions, looking straight ahead, and not even noticing if we’re conscious of what we’re doing. Sometimes we’re so caught up in our routine that when we stop to think about what we did in the morning, like brushing our teeth, we pause and ask ourselves “Wait, did I really brush my teeth?” Ever have that happen?

“Looking” is not the same as “seeing.” There is a great experiment that asks people to watch a basketball game and count the number of passes one team makes. During the game, someone in a gorilla suit walks across the floor. When the people watching the game were asked about the gorilla, most people said they didn’t even see the gorilla.

Why? Because seeing requires attention and when we focus one minute aspect, we miss the bigger picture.

This week, look up! Change your perspective. Open your field of vision. Practice seeing.

Reflection: People only see what they are prepared to see. -Ralph Waldo Emerson


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A Year of Mindfulness: The Bottom of Your Feet

This Memorial Day weekend was a lovely weekend to be mindful of the color blue, our mindfulness practice from the past week. The weather was amazing. The sky was blue and there was blue in the grass & leaves. I could even see blue in the bean seeds I planted and in the cucumber sprout that pushed its nose through the dirt. Glorious blue.

Where did you see the color blue the past week?

This Week’s Mindfulness Practice: Bottoms of Your Feet

Hmm, okay, that sounds a bit curious. Our mindfulness practice this week is to be aware of the bottoms of our feet. This includes sensations on the bottom of our feet from the floor or ground as well as heat or coolness.

So why would we want to be mindful of the bottoms of our feet? Well, as with other mindfulness practices involving our extremities we typically move through our day without thinking about our feet (or other extremities.) After-all, our feet are about as far from our head as we can get.

By becoming aware of the bottoms of our feet, we begin to feel our connection to Mother Earth, we become grounded, and we improve our balance. An excellent way to become mindful of the bottoms of our feet is to practice walking meditation. If done barefoot, the sensations on your feet become more apparent. However, simply walking can increase your awareness of the bottoms of your feet. The same with standing. (I enjoy rocking forward slightly & then back on my feet when standing for a period of time.)

The challenge with any movement is to keep your mind quiet and focused. This week become aware of the bottoms of your feet.

Reflection: The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet. -James Oppenheim


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A Year of Mindfulness: Entering New Spaces

First deep breath.

Second deep breath.

Third deep breath.

Ah.

Now how did you do with last week’s mindfulness practice to take three breaths? This is one of my favorite mindfulness practices. We all need to breathe and taking three breaths is a wonderful way to put a little space between you and any stress you may encounter. I find it particularly useful when sitting in traffic or dealing with drivers in parking lots. Taking a breath brings you back to your center. It helps you to re-focus. It keeps you in the present moment.

This Week’s Practice: Entering New Spaces

Now here is a good challenge for you. This week’s mindfulness practice is about entering new spaces. This practice is all about bringing an awareness to any transition between spaces. Dr. Bays refers to this practice as “mindfulness of doors.”

What does that mean?

It means that as you enter a new space, pause, take one breath, and then proceed. Remember, the theme with mindfulness is to become aware of our surroundings. In this case, think of what you normally do when you leave one room and enter another room. Most likely you just walk across the threshold without any consideration for the space you just left or for the space you are entering. When a door separates the two spaces, we usually just let the door slam behind us or perhaps we don’t close the door at all.

This week, do your best to pause between those transitions when traveling from room to room. If you tend to slam doors, work on gently closing the door. If you tend to leave the door open, become more mindful about closing the door. If you stumble through the doorway, become more mindful of your steps.

Reflection: The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live. -Flora Whittemore

For the wise man looks into space and he knows there is no limited dimensions. -Lao Tzu


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Monday Reflection: Awareness

Awareness of impermanence is encouraged,
so that
when it is coupled with our appreciation
of the enormous potential of our human existence,
it will give us
a sense of urgency
that I must use every precious moment.

-H.H. The Dalai Lama


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Monday Reflection-A Sense of Self

True compassion arises from a healthy sense of self,
from an awareness of who we are
that honors our own capacities and fears,
our own feelings and integrity,
along with those of others.

-Jack Kornfield