Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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A Year of Mindfulness: Become Aware of Your Posture

We are well into our second month of mindfulness, following along with Jan Chozen Bays’ book How to Train a Wild Elephant. To read more about mindfulness, please return to the first post in this series: A Year of Mindfulness: Use Your Non-Dominant Hand.

Last week, we practiced giving true, genuine compliments. This is a great practice for two reasons: it causes us to become aware of the positive things people do on a daily basis and breaks our habit of focusing on ourselves and it causes us to get out of a negative mindset. After all, isn’t it easier to complain than compliment?

And did you notice how the recipient of your compliment reacted? Possibly surprised and hopefully happy. By giving a compliment you probably made that person’s day.

This Week’s Practice: Become Aware of Your Posture

In this week’s practice, we are asked to be mindful of our posture. First, become aware of what posture you’re in and how it feels within your body. Then, as you notice your posture, adjust it.

Some good times to become mindful of your posture is at meals, when standing in line, while driving, or when in meetings or classes. Really pay attention to your posture from the front and the side. While your posture may look fine from the front, if you get a side view you may see slumping, rounded shoulders, hips jutting forward, booty sticking out, belly sagging…well, you get the picture.

Becoming mindful of your posture is important because your posture projects your demeanor. Think about your first impression of someone when you see them slouching.

Posture and mood are also related. Become mindful of how you hold your body when sad, angry, or anxious. How does changing your posture affect your mood?

Reflection: There is so much to gain from improving your posture. Everybody’s interested in the way they look, and then they’re astounded to find the other benefits. -Janice Novak


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A Year of Mindfulness: True Compliments

Last week’s mindfulness practice was to eat without distractions. No newspaper, book, internet, iPad, or TV.

How did you do with this practice?

I found it to be a nice change of pace. Since I work by myself,  I typically eat while either checking email and news on my iPad or while sitting in front of the TV.  Sometimes I do this because I want to catch up on events. Other times I simply need the noise in the background. I can’t say that either activity enhances my dining experience.

When I first tried this practice, I think I ate a little faster. Then, as I slowed down, I noticed how quiet my environment was. I could listen to the rhythm of the clock ticking. Or I could enjoy the birds singing. I noticed the taste and texture of my food; sweet, juicy, cold, crunchy.

Without the distraction of my iPad or the TV, I ate my meal and got into the studio a bit sooner. At lunch time, I’d go for a walk after my meal. All good things to do instead of lingering over the news or flipping through the TV channels.

This week’s practice: Give true compliments

This week’s practice is to give a genuine compliment once a day to someone close to you. The more specific the compliment, the better.

Giving compliments is a good practice in gratitude. With this practice you must really pay attention to both the big and small things that people do. If this practice is difficult for you, step back and observe if you tend to only notice problems and are critical of people.

As Jan Chozen Bays stated in her book, “When someone becomes part of the furniture of our life, we forget to notice what they do and it doesn’t occur to us to give them compliments. In fact, we may only comment on the negative, the things we think need to be changed.”

With this practice, also pay attention to how it feels to receive a compliment. Depending on how we were raised, giving a compliment may be easier than receiving a compliment.

Reflection: You should know that kind speech arises from kind mind, and kind mind from the seed of compassionate mind. You should ponder the fact that kind speech is not just praising the merit of others; it has the power to turn the destiny of a nation. -Zen Master Dogen