|Family on a Walk (from The Simple Things)|
Have you been using fresh air to lift your mood? Most of us can walk off a blue mood. When we're outside we remember what is eternal. Part of each day might be slow, or mindless, or even bad. But being outdoors helps, winter or summer. Being outdoors NEVER makes us feel worse, does it? I'm sure that's true.
Being deep in our mobiles seldom lifts our mood. A thoughtful text from a special person, yes. But with the whole world to astound us, focusing on an inch or two does seem a shame. Of course I'm often on my phone. I like firstname.lastname@example.org. There are blogs I like. I want to keep up. But summer mindfulness demands more.
Our brains are designed to think. They never shut off. This is good. Mindfulness teaches us to harness this by being present in our lives in a non-judgmental way no matter what we are thinking. It teaches us to pay attention. To not drift through our own one precious life.
We know that documenting what we're thinking and feeling is good for us. That's why so many people journal, have diaries, write memoirs, or scrapbook. When we've had a shock, writing helps. Or crafting. Both can be a form of meditation. A lot of things can be. American abstract expressionist painter Morris Graves (1910-2001) says that "Painting is a meditation. . . ." A lot of creative people find their work meditative. An extraordinary potter in my class says his work is his therapy. He makes dioramas out of clay, scenes from Disney classics and fairy-tales. They are instantly recognizable.
We can embrace the ordinary in our writing. In our creativity. Maybe just make a list of things we are proud of, from the little to the big. I'm proud of the efforts I'm putting into my own pottery. Into blogging. Into maintaining my health.
Or make a list of what we like: for me colored glass, soft clothes, cedar trees, chilled wine, dragonflies, good books, a day off, fresh eggs, sleeping late, feeling loved, shutting down for the day. . . .
The magazine Flow (www.flowmagazine.com) from the Netherlands, has an article called "Making a Date with Yourself." British mindfulness expert Danny Penman, Ph.D. says that a solo date should be on everyone's to-do list. Go to a museum, a new town (Post: This is Your Kingdom, Part II), take a workshop or class, spend a fun day (or even an hour) alone where you can see, think and wonder, rise above your daily troubles.
What goals do you have? Some of mine are big: to keep my marriage strong, help my family, accept what is, continue to learn. Break the habit of letting a worry greet my day. I know the things that have caused me pain chapter and verse. Why revisit them? Some goals are smaller. I'd love to explore the UK on a canal boat. Or upstate New York on a houseboat. Both look so fun. Whenever I've seen canal boats moored, many piled with greenery and flowers, I've wanted to take a trip. I'd like to live somewhere else for a month. I like having friends for a simple meal, doing a little research and pairing wines.
|From The Simple Things|
What sets the tone for your day? Are you a person who has seen more sunrises or more sunsets? It's nice when waking up feels like a gentle tug. When we've gone to bed early enough and aren't running late before the day even begins. That's a worthwhile goal. What does your summer mindfulness look like?