Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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A Year of Mindfulness: Notice The Trees

As we ended the month of April, we were asked to be mindful of entering new spaces. The focus of this practice was to increase our awareness of leaving one space and entering another; something that we rarely pay attention to as we tend to move quickly from one space to another.

How did you do with this practice? I failed. Dr. Bays said it was one of the hardest mindfulness practices and it is indeed. I rarely found myself pausing while leaving one room and entering another. Dr. Bays comments in her book that one reason this practice is so hard is that as we leave one room, our mind moves ahead toward the future, moving into the next room and what we will do in that new room. It happens so quickly that we aren’t even aware of it.

This Week’s Mindfulness Practice: Notice the Trees

Doesn’t this sound like a wonderful practice? This week we are asked to notice trees; their shape, their texture, height and foliage. Don’t analyze the trees. Appreciate the trees. If you don’t have trees where you live, notice the grass, the cacti, or the bushes.

What is the point of this practice? To become aware of our interconnectedness with trees, nature, and the environment. Trees are part of life. They provide shade, shelter, and filter air. You might even have a favorite tree to sit under, to climb, or perhaps it holds a swing.

I remember how much it hurt to see the tree damage that occurred from the early snow storm last October. The broken, snapped and twisted branches. And yet, this spring, many of those same trees sprouted new leaves and flowered as if nothing had ever happened. Now that’s resilience.

So this week, notice the trees when you look out your window, when you walk or drive.

Reflection:  There is always music amongst the trees in the garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. -Minnie Aumonier

I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues. -Dr Seuss (The Lorax)


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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


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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