A Moment of your time, please….

Dear Fellow Journalers,

One of the hardest things you face when starting a Moment Journal is that you feel that what you might write is insignificant or that you’ll end up with mundane journal entries. You have to remember that in journaling your innermost thoughts you will remember what you once believed was of true value to you. Your journal will enable you to look back and understand how you evolved and developed as a person.

Little moments of joy are things you might possibly forget if you don’t write them down. For instance, a friend you haven’t seen in a long time comes to visit and gives you a huge heart-warming hug; or you see a spectacular sunset; or witness a gift of kindness shared between strangers. Whatever is happening to you at the moment is ok to journal.

What kind of journal do you need? I kept a small, lined notebook in my purse and one on the bed table so that I didn’t have to hunt for pen and paper.

There are two types of journaling that aid in the creation of Moment (Mindfulness) Journaling. One is Meditation Journaling. I touched on this topic in my previous posts. For this type you need a blank, un-lined journal or notebook. Write the date, name of the meditation practice and how long you meditated. Then you write how the practice went – what distractions you had, what you did about them, what positive factors (calmness, patience) were present.

Example: Mindfulness of breathing. 25 minutes. Hard to stay focused. Fell asleep. Feeling sad about family situation. Depressed and having insomnia issues.

     Some people find that Double-Entry Journaling is best for this type of experience. In this method you leave every second page blank in your journal. You write on the right-side of the page. Then when you do a weekly review you make notes on the left-side of the page. Those notes might include further reflections on some aspects of your experiences.

Tune in next week for tips/covers/pages etc.

‘Til next time,

~Sallie

 

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Prompts and Resources

Dear Fellow Journalers,

quiet-the-mind-meditation

     When you write in a Mindfulness Journal you are already moving toward the practice of mindfulness. You observe your feelings in real-time, paying attention about your thoughts and not challenging them.

     As you become adept at practicing awareness and living in the moment, you’ll naturally want to write out your thoughts. Some people can start with a prompt to inspire them. The main thing is to begin with the same intention  that is a the crux of all mindfulness practice stay present and fully aware.

Some tips:

     a) Decide how much time you want to spend writing your entries.

     b) Write, don’t edit. “Stream of consciousness” writing allows you to access the part of you that lets you experience your life moment to moment.

     c) If you do re-read your journal posts, do so without criticism. If you write long enough, you’ll begin to see patterns in your life. You’ll see what emotions or distractions consume you while you meditate. You’ll be able to see how mindfulness has changed your relationship with stress, difficult people, problem solving and the balance of your life.

     d) When you write note the date, name of meditation practice you used that day and how long you meditated. Then write your comments on your experiences, what you used to re-focus and what you felt.

Questions to ask yourself:

     1. What did I notice and how am I feeling about my meditation?

     2. What am I feeling in this moment?

     3. What is bothering me?

     4. What are my strengths?

     5. I want to thank …..

     6. People always…..

     7. I would like to volunteer my time today doing….

     8. I remember….

     9. I’m really afraid of ….

    10. I don’t want to write today because…

~~~Resources~~~

     There are many books, web sites and videos for Mindfulness. Here are a few resources I would like to share:

Apps

www. headspace.com      turns your tablet/phone info into a guided meditation

www. mediationstudio.com  step by step course available to apple app store

http://www.balanced.com   app to track your life’s goals available to apple app store

Blogs

http://www.bayart.org/2016/09/16-meditation-quotes-that-will-change-the-way-meditation-vibrates-inside-you/

check out my blog post on 4/16/16

Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nwkbm_vjc

http://www.oprah.com/own-super-soul-sunday/Oprah-and-Jon-Kabat-Zinn-practicing-mindfulness

Other sites

www.copperbeachinstitute.org

https://uniquelyyourscraftjournal.com/2016/04/15/labrynth/

Books

“Wherever you go, there you are. Mindfulness meditation in Everyday Life”

                                                                                    Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Journaling with Jesus”   Laurie Snyman

“Mindfulness made simple” Calistoga Press

“Mindfulness, Meditation and Mind Fitness” Joel and Michelle Levey

“Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment and your life” by Jon Kabat-Zinn

“Peace is every step. The Path of Mindfulness in everyday life” by Thichi Nhat Hanh

     May Peace and Joy fill your life.

‘Til next time,

~Sallie

Mindfulness and Mediation

Dear Fellow Journalers,

I first heard about this practice when I taught a fifth grade religion class at my church. I had a rather rambunctious group that year and it took a lot of energy and wasted time to settle them down each morning. Several weeks into that school year, I was invited to a teachers’ conference and was introduced to one of the books that would change my life. It was written primarily for teachers of Religious Middle Schoolers and featured scripture stories and meditations.

I have to admit, I was skeptical at first. I read through the book and adapted one of the stories and meditations for my next class. The reaction was amazing. Several students didn’t want to stop and “come back to earth.” Even the most mischievous of the group was calmer. I decided to try the experiment once a month, but after the second month, the students asked if we could meditate every week! In time, I grew confident enough to script my own stories (based on the lesson) and meditations and found myself meditating as well. This practice continued throughout the rest of the school year until I “retired” some 10 years later.

Along the way, I was formally introduced to Mindfulness Meditation at Holy Family Retreat Center in West Hartford CT. The workshop has become the highlight of my yearly retreat. I learned that this practice has no specific goal except awareness and acceptance in your life. There are many types of meditations – some focus on a word or a phrase, some on a particular image or visualization. You look at your thoughts and feelings as though you were looking at a different person, without analyzing those thoughts or feelings.

Some of the mediations are breath, common concerns, body scan, walking, emotions, night, smile, laughing, loving, difficult people, self-criticism, positive feelings, anxiety, stress, insomnia, gratitude, and peace.

The following is a brief synopsis of how to practice mediation. If you have a book or better yet, an audio of meditation, please refer to that resource.

  1. Find an environment where you can be free from distractions for a short period of time. A peaceful view of the ocean or a picture will help you create this space. Some people light candles or create an altar of found objects like shells or stones.

  2. Choose a chair where you can sit up straight with your feet touching the floor. You can close your eyes completely or just gaze downward.

  3. Pick a time for practice every day that will be non-evasive on your schedule. You can even make an appointment with yourself, if you wish. The duration is up to you. Some people start with 10 minutes a day and build from there.

  4. Pick an anchor. Those pesky thoughts may intrude and distracted thought is not constructive to meditation so it helps to re-focus from time to time. The anchor can be one of the objects in your room, part of your body (like a hand), or word or phrase. My practice has always included the breath as an anchor. There are many books, audio and even apps that can help you in your practice. Mindfulness meditation requires practice not perfection.

  5. Follow your breath. Begin by taking 3-4 breaths. Be aware that you are breathing. Feel your breath traveling from your mouth or nose to your lungs, chest and abdomen. If your mind wanders go back to the breath. After your timer goes off, reconnect to the world around you and process the meditation by writing in your journal.

‘Til next time,

~Sallie

 

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