Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit

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A Year of Mindfulness: Empty Space

How did you do last week becoming mindful of the bottoms of your feet? This practice is an important one for me for health reasons. I have sciatic nerve pain & herniated discs. Last year I had to become mindful of my walking and placing my weight on the big toe side of my foot (versus the little toe side which was my “normal.”) Since last summer I have become very aware of the bottoms of my feet. I have to remind myself several times a day to ground my feet. My feet are essential for providing me with good posture and improved core strength.

This Week’s Practice: Become Aware of Empty Space

When I saw the title of this week’s practice I thought it literally had to do with empty spaces-empty rooms, empty boxes, empty spots inside of us. But that isn’t quite the case. In this week’s practice we are asked to shift our focus from the objects in front of us to the space around the objects.

Why would we want to focus on the empty space around an object? One reason is to break us of our “tunnel vision” where we typically focus on the object in front of us. That might be a building, a tree, animals, furniture. Instead, by being mindful of the empty space around the object, we shift our focus and invite the mind to rest.

As humans we are often identified by our objects-our books, our CDs, our collection of whatevers and whatnots. Yet when you’re in a room with your “stuff”, how often do you step back and see the background of the room? Are you even aware of the space around the stuff?

(It just popped into my head that this lack of space must be why I can’t deal with extremely cluttered rooms. I literally feel closed in, want to start tossing stuff out, and open up the space. Hmm….)

This observance of empty space can also be applied to our minds. When we let go of thoughts and the yammering in our heads, we find a sense of relief. So too when we release objects, we find a sense of relief and opening. Become aware of the empty space around objects. Begin to quiet the mind. In both you will find a sense of relief and peace.

Reflection: It is only in the world of objects that we have time and space and selves. -T. S. Eliot

Space, the wonderful something in nothing. -William Carmen Soyak III

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A Year of Mindfulness: Gratitude

Last week in our mindfulness practice we were tasked with becoming more aware of our posture. How did you do?

Proper posture has been an issue for me since I was a little girl. I remember my mom putting a hardcover book on my head to get me to stand up straight. I was an introverted kid with low self-esteem. I’m sure that was evident in my posture.

As I got older and my self-esteem improved, my posture issues were compromised by other bad habits. Slinging a bag full of books over one shoulder (using backpacks in school wasn’t very common then), weight bearing more on one leg than the other, a couple car accidents, desk jobs, and lugging around therapy materials.

Eventually I learned that my back issues & hence my poor posture could be traced back to weak abs and a tendency to weight bear on the outer aspect of my joints versus the center. It only took 40+ years, sciatica & SI joint pain to figure out that one.  So let’s just say that postural awareness is a daily factor in my mindfulness practice. If I don’t pay attention to my posture, my body will eventually remind me in sometimes uncomfortable ways.

When I keep my body in alignment, I feel better.

This Week’s Practice: Gratitude

Gratitude is a great practice and should not be limited to this one week. A few years ago, Gratitude was my word of the year.

For this week, the practice is fairly simple. At the end of each day write a list of 5 (or more) things that happened during the day that you are grateful for. If you’re concerned you might forget, carry a small notebook with you and write down the event immediately after it happens.

Practicing gratitude is an antidote to the negative mind or voice. It helps us see the upside of many events in our lives.

Reflection: Gratitude helps you to grow and expand; gratitude brings joy and laughter into your life and into the lives of all those around you. -Eileen Caddy