Sunday… for some people it is a high energy day to get things done, for others a day to relax in whatever way makes most sense to them. Some people sleep in, some worship, others watch sports all day… some people clean the house and go for hikes and mow the lawn.
Me? I am a mixed bag, in part because I set my own week and my days off are usually Wednesday evening through Friday afternoon, when I go to DC and visit the beloved boyfriend. But Sundays are still usually pretty laid back for me, and today – with the grey, heavy skies – definitely has a “slow down and contemplate” mood.
Meditation serves several purposes for me.
One, it helps realign myself – back to my goals and purposes. Back to my inner vision. Back to the best version of me I can summon.
Two, it helps release the tensions and anxieties gathered up as I’ve moved through the week.
Three, it helps me replenish my exhausted energy stores. I can use the time to recharge my inner battery by investing in myself.
It is a form of self-care that also gives back to the world around me, because I am much better at being with the world when I take this time to go inward and clear out the dross that I’ve collected.
Here’s some of the things I do to meditate:
Breathing: sit comfortably, upright if possible [so you don’t fall asleep!] but whatever is the easiest/best for your body is fine. Start paying attention to your inhales and exhales – feel the breath come in, fill your lungs. Let it slip back out through your nose, one long exhale before inhaling again, deeper and slower. Try to slow and deepen your breaths, hold them for a loose count of five before breathing out again. Feel how your body expands and contracts with each breath, how the oxygen spreads energy throughout your body.
If you are meditating on an intention, now is a wonderful time to start thinking about what you want to achieve. If you are looking to have more energy, imagine each breath spreading yellow-orange energy throughout your body. If you are trying to release negative thoughts, you can let your mind feel that heaviness dispel out of you with each exhale. Play with this and see what results you get! No matter what, you’ll feel refreshed and relaxed, I promise.
Concentrating: you can use a candle, crystal, plant, oracle or tarot card as a concentration tool for focus and clarity. Choose an object that feels like it resonates with why you are meditating – if you just want to be calm and unfocused, a candle or crystal is a fantastic aid. I like plants for contemplating growth, grounding, or a reconnection with nature. Oracle or tarot cards can be chosen to reflect a specific goal or feeling that you want to invoke. Again, get comfortable, place your meditation object in front of you, and let your eyes and mind wander around it. Consider the energy you feel from your object – you can pick up a plant or crystal and experience how it feels in your hand, or let the flame of the candle invoke various shapes and designs. Let the experience happen, and just be there in the moment.
Chanting: you can pick a well known chant [om mani padme hum, for example] or choose a word or phrase for that moment. Choose carefully, because your words have more power than you know! Always phrase things in a positive way. Simple is usually best. Recently I have used “let me bring peace” and “I am creating beauty” as mantras. You can use a mala if you like – that’s a bracelet or necklace with beads to help you keep track of and concentrate on your chant. They are also nice to wear as reminders to keep our practice up! They’re often referred to as “Buddhist Prayer Beads” but other cultures use them too, and they can be incorporated into any activity where you want to concentrate on repeating an action a number of times. If you don’t have a mala, you can make one – I often use a piece of textured handspun yarn that I tie an appropriate number of knots in, to serve as beads!
Would you like a demonstration of how to make a handspun Mala or Meditation/Intention cord? Let me know and I’ll make a tutorial sometime this week for you!
Another thing I like to use in my meditation are items placed in one of my hand crocheted meditation/offering bowls. I use them all the time – to hold in my hand as another textural aspect of my meditation, to hold several crystals at once, to enhance an air plant… they are palm-sized and interesting to touch and look at, perfect for some deep contemplation. Adding textiles to your practice can enhance your results immensely!
Do you meditate? If so, what is your favorite method? And if not, are you inspired now to try it out? Let me know!