Monday Mindfulness

Cultivating Strength, Joy, Peace & Resilience


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Reflections

I am an open landscape on which you paint your experience.

I mirror back to you just what you put out there.

If you aren’t sure of what you are painting,

pause,

step back,

clear your mind,

open your heart.

Come sit a spell in my grand, vast emptiness before you start to fill the canvas with elements that may not produce the landscape best for the both of us.

Tread gently on the rolling hills,

pause and watch the rising and setting sun,

see ocean…

flowers…

wild flowing grasses…

Deep wooded forests.

The landscape is yours in which to play.

Just remember that whatever you add to this landscape – the meeting of your choice of media, colors and textures – is yours to assimilate and accommodate, not mine.


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A stone’s throw

To cross the stream, I search for stones that seem fixed despite the moving waters.

These stones suggest a level of safety in my crossing as they seen unmoved by the current,

stronger than I could be on my own.

Is the stream really too deep and forceful that I need the stones or

can I make the crossing?

I question my capacity to carry myself,

despite the quiet flash of reassurance in my belly suggesting I could navigate the waters just fine on my own.

I turn instead to the stones’ promise to hold me.

Without hesitation, I step wildly, quickly, with hope that they will be what they appear to be.

I put my trust completely in the stones

Only to find them unbalanced, slippery, unable to hold me, and

Depositing me completely and fully into the water.

My trust in the stones vanishes into the darkness.

I fight the current…the message…trust no one.

Suddenly the flash returns…trust…trust yourself.

It doesn’t have to be steady, clear, easy, or look a certain way.

I dive into the self-reliance that holds me, guides me, connects me with the edge of safety.

There in that moment I find trust on the inside that inspires more reliable trust on the outside.


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Kaleidoscope of Change

What is regular? Normal? The way things are “supposed to be?”

It seems our nature is to crave stability and consistency, to look around us for the expected.

Can the expected really be a constant pattern of change, redefined based on circumstances?

In the fall every tree chooses a slightly different timing and color and pattern of change based on its relationship with the earth, the air, and its surroundings.

Even the evergreen loses some leaves, changes shape, and becomes something different year after year.

This shifting is considered beautiful, an often awe-inspiring evolution.

No tree taking the exact same steps, no one looking the same, yet all normal, regular, naturally changing.

This change allows the tree to thrive.

I must remember there is no right or wrong in change, simply an opportunity to be unafraid, vulnerable, and resilient.

Think about the possibility.


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Likeness to Lillies

I imagine to the universe we are much like day lilies,

endless varieties,

no two alike.

Ages in the making,

we are relatively predictable in our growing,

blooming just for an instant.

The landscape of our world is ever changed by each little bud and blossom as it pops briefly open and vanishes instantly, leaving just its memory imprinted on the wind in its unique and lasting fragrance.


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At the center of my being

Right there, in between the meandering branches of my life,

the shifting sands of time,

the ebbing and flowing waters of my mind,

and the soft current that carries my heart,

there is a bright and constant light

that moves and shines through my existence,

the steady point that reminds and renews me over and over again,

guiding me back like a porch light,

to the warm, quiet, stillness of my eternal home within.

Photo credit: Brian Danahy (from the port of Mykanos, Greece)


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Contain Me

For each of us there is a layer that surrounds and holds our thoughts and feelings, that ties physical material existence to a sense of being. Built into the walls of that container are our beliefs, values, and desires, ever connected and blending with the feelings of others. These characteristics are what give the container strength but can also become places of vulnerability, weakness, and destruction. Stress fractures can begin to appear over time in the container where the values, beliefs, and habits are challenged, become inflexible and brittle.

Signs of wear or weakness are not markers of fault in the container, but a means for assessing whether repair or replacement could be useful. It may be the values and beliefs woven into that section are ready for reconditioning.

When I visualize the materials, tools, and mending — stitching the fabric, soldering the metal, molding the clay – and give myself permission to reshape the container, perhaps even layering different media, I can begin to fill and empty with experiences in a way that projects and protects the me I have come to be.


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Contrails

Every morning through my window I watch the airplanes carve a path through the sky, a seemingly straight line built of swirling vortices.

The pilots consider themselves on a steadfast course, honed to the coordinates entered.

But as I watch the swath cover the sky, I see that one path dissipates into a thousand threads of opportunity to go in a different direction.

What one perceives as the path another sees as the starting point. A straight line swirls and morphs into a cloud.

There is nothing wrong with the trajectory on which I ride, but I find it quite fun to imagine where else I might go.


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Meditate Me

The gentle breeze brushes the hair off my face, opening my eyes to all the possibilities that lie on the path before me.

Sunlight bends and shifts through the branches above me, sending waves of warmth and shadows dancing upon my skin, drenching my muscles down to the bones.

The earth below pushes up into the soles of my feet, every step met with a symphony of sensations – crackling forest debris, jagged rocks protruding through the dusty soil, the path shifting and bending me.

The pops of green in the scattered brush and the sprinkling of wild flowers and occasional sprigs of berries remind me of the lushness in this life.

Smells meld together, carving new trenches in my memory, designing a magnificent tapestry of infinite connections linking the past to the now.

My palm now meets the furry edges of the bark on the thousand year old gatekeepers of this sacred space, full of knobs, notches, and burn marks, all signs of a life well lived. It’s touch drains the deepest crevasses of my being, tears now flowing in synchrony with the close by river, eroding the stone edges of my cheeks, chin, and chest.

All the pain, struggle, and fears, begin to melt. All the doubts and failures dissipate. My body, my soul now willing, softness consumes me, not absent strength, but expanding into the subtle power of me.

It is here that I witness harmony, balance, and beauty in the inconsistencies, imperfections, death, and birth before me…within me.

It is here that I discover my own capacity for healing.

It is here that I meditate instead of medicate.


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Sail Away Home

Settling into my breath, I find the spot where the inhale meets the exhale – the moment of attachment of my body to the breath, the point of connection to my inner knowing.

At that point, I find stillness. Projecting from that stillness is a clear and receptive space of awareness.

From that awareness, I follow the path of least effort to discover my intention – the sensation, word or object that reflects my true state of being. In that intention I find reassurance, guidance, and confirmation in my decision making.

I sit for a moment longer in the stillness, awareness and intention until I can let go of all discomfort. Full of ease and comfort, my sails fill confidently with my inner knowing, fulfilling my purpose and potential.

Finding stillness, awareness, intention, and letting go, I sail away home.


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See you on the bright side

I find fear exhausting.

Negative thoughts so draining.

Judgment and greed just tie me up in knots.

Why do we have to find fault and blame?

My breath flows so freely when I express kind words.

My muscles glide with ease as I extend gratitudes.

Joy makes my whole body sparkle.

This bright side is where I want to live,

no pain in perceived inferiority,

no striving or comparing,

no forgetting that everyone is always doing their best

and mistakes are the delightful gifts we are given to develop our curiosity, wonder, and awe.

Meet me here in this place of freedom to be the splendid, courageous, bright and imperfect beings that we are intended to be.