Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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A Year of Mindfulness-A Media Fast

It seems hard to believe that we’re nearing the end of the first quarter of the year. So far in our year of mindfulness we’ve practiced using our non-dominant hand, leaving no trace, eliminating filler words, appreciating our hands, and simply eating. We’ve paid true compliments, paid attention to our posture, expressed our gratitude, truly listened to sounds, paused before answering the phone, and practiced loving touch.

This past week we took the time to practice all forms of mindfulness while waiting; waiting in traffic, waiting in the check-out line, waiting at an appointment. How did you handle your time of waiting? We’re you able to feel yourself relax if you practiced deep breathing while waiting? Did you feel your frustration clear if you closed your eyes and meditated while waiting?

This Week’s Practice: Take a Media Fast

Practicing mindfulness while waiting seems to dovetail nicely with this week’s practice. This week we are asked to take a complete media fast. No email, no TV, no computer, no iPod; no newspapers, books, or magazines; no Twitter, Facebook, or other social media.

OMG!

Think you can do this? My first reaction was “Wait, I run a business. I’m the only one running my business. I can’t go cold turkey.” So I’ve decided a compromise may be in order. If you can’t take a complete media fast, can you eliminate one thing for the week? Or can you reduce the frequency of your media usage for the week?

The intent with this practice is to find alternatives to consuming media. Long before we had the internet and cable TV, most of our media exposure was limited to whatever happened in our immediate surroundings. Local news was truly local. Now that we can access all forms of media 24/7, the odds are pretty good that our anxiety has increased as we witness suffering that we are helpless to fix. That suffering sits heavy in our hearts and in our heads. We can easily suffer from “secondary victimization” where we are affected by trauma simply by hearing about it.

So this week, consider taking a media fast, eliminating some form of media, or reducing your frequency of exposure. Become mindful of what opens up or presents itself to you.

Reflection:
If we can decrease our intake of these toxic images, we can more easily establish a heart that is open and a mind that is serene and clear. This is the best foundation we can have if we want to move out into the world of woe and make a positive difference. -Jan Chozen Bays


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My 2010 Word of the Year: Soar. A Look Back

In January of last year, I chose the word SOAR as my word of the year. I chose this word because I considered it an extension of the word Momentum. Momentum was the word I almost chose. But SOAR seemed to fit me better. I liked the sound of SOARING through the year. You can read more about why I chose SOAR here.

The idea behind choosing a word for the year, as opposed to making resolutions, is that a particular word provides you with guidance all year along. I admit that sometimes I forget that. Maybe that isn’t a bad thing. If I beat myself over the head with my word of the year, I probably wouldn’t enjoy the process any more than I like making New Year’s resolutions. So I often choose my word, put it out to the Universe, and then let it go.

How did I embody the word SOAR during 2010?

I embarked on a long thought about goal and started teaching polymer clay mixed media classes. We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary by visiting Italy. I had mixed media artwork (on canvas) published in two different books by Patti Digh. I was interviewed by our local newspaper and a local cable channel. I dove more into social networking by finally creating a Facebook personal page and a page for my art business. I also created an online studio on ArtFire.

Many of these events and other accomplishments happened rather effortlessly. For most of the year, I felt like I was soaring on thermals. Opportunities appeared and I accepted or let them go.

My full phrase for 2010 was SOAR with MOMENTUM into ABUNDANCE and have FAITH.

And in the last two months of the year, FAITH came into play. Big time.

First I received a surprising notice that one of my galleries wished to end their contract with me. The loss of a contract is not entirely new. I’ve ended them in the past and consignment shops have ended them with me. In this case, however, the loss caused me to question the value of my artwork and my self-worth as an artist. Would I be resigned to create production artwork forever?

Then came the health issues. At 47 I expect to be facing some changes as I move closer to a new phase in my biological life. However, what I did not expect was several doctor’s appointments, a biopsy, blood tests, unplanned weight loss, and an ultrasound. As a generally healthy person, to be confronted with a body in sudden revolt over a period of several weeks not only made me angry, I was scared, tired, and crying. I found myself delving deep into prayers and searching for faith in my self and my situation. Faith that I was well, that I would be well, and that all would be well.

The sketch below sums up all the feelings I experienced during those weeks.

As the year drew to a close, my health started to return to an acceptable level of normalcy. Answers were received and a solution to the situation was found. The experience caused me to think deeply about several areas of my life. This has put me on a new path for 2011 and influences the word I’m leaning toward to guide me in 2011.

In some ways SOAR in 2010 was a mixed blessing. Much like the hawks that I love to watch, SOAR carried me on the thermals of success but it also meant I had to dive deeply to find the source of myself.