If anxiety and stress are taking over your thoughts, take a seat in a more peaceful place (like the one above) in your mind by using the following breathing meditation.
Focusing on breathing is the fastest way to release anxiety and help you to focus on the present moment. As you breathe, you will be breathing in peace and clearing out anxious thoughts.
Breathing Meditation Technique to Help Anxiety
- Free yourself from distractions
- Find a chair where you can… Continue reading
Our connecting with God and practicing ways to be contemplative aren’t limited to prayer, meditation and writing. While I promote prayer, meditation and journaling as powerful tools, there are many simple ways to feel the love and presence of God every day. By incorporating mindfulness of the presence of God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, or all three, through simple acts we perform, we can bring a sense of peace, wholeness and clarity into our daily living. What do I mean?
Have you ever stopped to think of simple things you do – Preparing a meal, walking your dog, painting, gardening, cleaning your house or apartment, sitting in the presence of a loved one and not speaking, fishing – almost any kind of hobby? All of these activities lend themselves to putting your whole heart into it. We may even call these activities “mindless”. What these actions represent are contemplative practices.
I put house cleaning on the list because it seems so odd, right? Continue reading
Many references are made throughout the Bible about sheep and about the Lord being the Good Shepherd. There is the famous Psalm 23: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” John 10:14: “I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep.” John 10:27: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.”
In the United States we understand the reference but it’s rare to see a sheep other than in a petting zoo!… Continue reading
This is the second half of How to Free your Spirit, Clear Clutter from Your Life. The first half addressed physical clutter and this half will address clutter that is in our minds.
This picture shows a very cluttered room. It can also illustrate our minds, but instead of furniture and stuff, think of these items as thoughts that cram into our brains. The thoughts include our to-do lists, worries, doubts, fears, work tasks, family commitments, preoccupation with appearance, age, abilities – you get the picture. It’s stated that we have upwards of 60,000 thoughts a day and we’re bombarded with 5,000 advertising messages a day. That makes for one cluttered mind. So how do you get your mind organized? You clear some of that clutter out. How? Through meditation or simply catching your breath.
Now the title of my post of saying it’s okay to get angry does not encourage you to go off on someone or lose your temper. That’s not what I mean. I teed up what I was going to share with you on my prior post Seeking and Finding Abundant Wholeness. Expressing our anger is sometimes exactly what we need to get unstuck.
When we don’t deal with issues that are stuffed down, it makes us feel stuck and overwhelmed. That was certainly the case with me. I was stuck. The process I used to get unstuck was the power of meditation and journaling.
I drew this meditation cartoon as an example of what happens when we don’t get quiet and do some soul searching. We can get wound pretty tight as a result!
I took a cartoon class a year ago and as a result I finally began to draw again after thirty years. You see, growing up I had always wanted to be an artist. That was my passion. As a kid you would always find me with crayons in my hand. As I became older (meaning a teenager) I moved on to charcoal, pastels and dabbled in some painting. Art was an escape for me. I was in my creative world where everything was fun and beautiful – a contrast to the reality of living in an environment with an unstable father who was an alcoholic. His drinking didn’t make him a happy drunk, quite the contrary. We never discussed Dad’s outbursts and violence. That’s pretty hard to process as a child.
I have to say that I am pretty fortunate as a writer that my mind is constantly spinning with creative ideas. But, inevitably, we all hit the wall – the wall of writer’s block. That’s when you sit down with your pad of paper or plop down in front of the computer and nothing comes.
When that happens, you can’t sit and will your brain to spew out lovely prose. It just won’t happen. In the world of true creativity, you can’t force things. That’s when you have to tap into some Divine creative power.
I took this picture at the Monterey Aquarium. It’s a sea horse. Can you believe it? There were 32 different varieties of sea horses. I rarely watch television, but one of my favorite shows is CBS Sunday Morning. Robert and I watch it before we go to church. One Sunday they featured “Creatures.” I had no idea that there are 1.8 million known species!
While I have always admired God’s handy work in the form of sunsets, clouds, mountains – I had no idea how many species God created. And there are more we haven’t even discovered. This solidified for me the mind and creativity of God. It gave me a new meaning and appreciation of God as the Ultimate Creator.
All writers and artists experience being blocked.
“Be still and know that I am God,” is one of the most well known and beloved Bible verses for many. I was surprised to know the meaning of the words be still and I think this meaning (particularly in the New Testament) will surprise you too.
(Watch, listen, or read.)
The words – Be Still – in the English dictionary can mean not moving, and being quiet. From a biblical perspective, these two words take on much greater… Continue reading
The expression to “fall off the wagon” implies a lapse in being sober. Where the expression to “fall off a horse, you need to get back on again” implies a failure and trying again.
Spiritual disciplines: prayer, contemplative prayer, reading Scripture and meditation are all necessary to live a life of peace, power and purpose. They are easy to do and easy not to do. It’s easy to fall off the wagon or horse.
As Christians, we are told… Continue reading