Tag Archives: meditation

Relax is all headspace

Not long ago on a cool November day I stopped in a small town for coffee on my way home from a trip to The City. Well, really, I missed the coffee house, an old house alongside the highway, upscaled into a relaxing place to sit with coffee or tea. When I turned around at an intersection down the road a ways I noticed this almost secret garden between buildings. Just enough space to invite anyone to sit and relax, slightly removed from the street scene. Mind you, this is a small town with a highway running through it. The noisiest thing you might encounter here is a logging truck passing through.

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I asked 4 people in the hardware store and 2 in the coffee shop about who created it and is it a memorial for the lady painted on the sign.  No one knew. And they all live here. It’s a real place but you can easily remember or create in your mind such images of relaxing spaces. Relaxing is all in your head. Right? I’m inspired to put some of these garden elements into my home landscape.

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Relax is a state of mind.

Our minds think in images. Whatever images help you relax, that’s what you need to see in your mind’s eye until nothing else is there. Nothing. Think of it. No. Don’t think of it. If you can really think of NOTHING you are really relaxed. No THINGS are in your awareness.

Try this. Slowly push all the air you can out of your lungs, visualizing negative thoughts or images leaving your muscles and blood vessels as you exhale. Then slowly pull new oxygen into your lungs, visualizing light and new energy entering into every cell in your body. Make an image in your mind’s eye of a place where you feel relaxed, keep your focus on it and let it move you deeper within the relaxing space. Repeat. Repeat. Stay there as long as you feel comfortable and slowly come back when you are ready. You don’t have to be any place special or private to do this relaxation exercise. Just let yourself relax often during your day. If even for a moment and inside your own mind.

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Relax

 

 

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Who’ll Turn the Grindstone?

ax-grinding-great-grand-1946

Ax grinding was a necessity 70 years ago. A well sharpened tool made work more satisfying. Skill in ax honing was an art. The man or woman at the grinder peddled foot pumps to turn the grindstone. Notice the grinder’s posture as he leans against the tree and holds the blade at a certain angle. He looks fully focused on the task, perhaps in mindful meditation as he listens to the steel and grindstone in harmony with the motion he creates using his body.

When I feel nostalgia* for times gone by, like this sort of work that was part of rural life before I was born, I wonder if people really felt satisfaction from such tasks. Certainly life moved at a slower pace for most before all our modern conveniences, but was it any more pleasant or annoying than our lives today?

*Nostalgia:  a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition. (Mirriam-Webster  Dictionary)

How do you spell ax or axe? Where did the phrase “an ax to grind” originate? What is the story “Who’ll turn the grindstone?”?

By the way, that’s my Great Grandfather Barlow grinding the ax in this image from family archives. He was known for this skill and for growing bountiful vegetable gardens. And this image is my response to this week’s photo challenge:  nostalgia.

For a beautiful photograph of a blade sharpener in a different culture click here. The photo tells a story.

 

Winter Walk

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Walk with me on a sunny January day in the Rocky Mountains.

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Contemplate a place to meditate next to the creek. Think of spring when iris blooms over the grave on the slope. Think of summer when you sway in the hammock strung between the trees.

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Spy on unwary quail that live beneath snow and branches.

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Discover a chickadee’s pantry where it has stashed seeds from your feeder.

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Let it show you how it cracks a black sunflower seed open for lunch.

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Wonder if it was a fox or cat that left its tracks along the creek, up the hill,

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beneath the pine, across the field, over the show covered chair, under the Elderberry brush,

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across the puddle (those are my show shoe tracks next to the animal trail), between strands of barbed wire,

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into the forest.

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Breathe deeply along the creek.

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Feel like you are being watched.

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Take your time knowing a pair of Red Breasted Nut Hatches.

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Catch a bubble and float away.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge:  Optimistic

 

 

A mind of winter

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Nut Hatch Near Winter Nest, looking over its shoulder at mate in trunk

The Snow Man,

by Wallace Stevens

One must have a mind of winter to regard the frost and the boughs of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

and have been cold a long time to behold the junipers shagged with ice, the spruces rough in the distant glitter

of the January sun; and not to think of any misery in the sound of the wind, in the sound of a few leaves,

which is the sound of the land full of the same wind that is blowing in the same bare place

for the listener, who listens in the snow, and, nothing himself, beholds nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

 

Emptiness; Not even nothing exists

When your spirit is not in the least clouded, then the clouds of bewilderment clear away, there is the true void. – (Masashi 1974, 95)

from Simple Zen, A Guide To Living Moment By Moment by C. Alexander Simpkins Ph. D. & Annellen Simpkins Ph. D.

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Twilight Symmetry

Hands in spotlight

Life

Edith Wharton

Life, like a marble block, is given to all,
A blank, inchoate mass of years and days,
Whence one with ardent chisel swift essays
Some shape of strength or symmetry to call;
One shatters it in bits to mend a wall;
One in a craftier hand the chisel lays,
And one, to wake the mirth in Lesbia’s gaze,
Carves it apace in toys fantastical.

But least is he who, with enchanted eyes
Filled with high visions of fair shapes to be,
Muses which god he shall immortalize
In the proud Parian’s perpetuity,
Till twilight warns him from the punctual skies
That the night cometh wherein none shall see.

Weekly photo challenge:  https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/symmetry/

I made this photograph yesterday after my stream walk as I strolled up hill on my south acres. I used Adobe CS4 to adjust hue and saturation, then cropped it and used render>spotlight in the filter menu to give it an eery evening mood as if using a flashlight to look for twilght deer or spirits. The 2 stone chairs (plastic of some kind) provide resting and meditating seats behind 2 Grosso Lavender plants left from years ago when I started a small lavender farm. These two produced 8 small starts that are now in their nursery edging my new garden.

Arise from decay

small drooping sunflowerbee on echinaceabee on big sunflowerwilted tulip

Gardening gives me opportunity to look closely at worlds around me. I like to watch the changes as plants and animals interact with the soil, air, and water. The declining stage fascinates me more even than the perkiest part of life. That’s when new life is beginning, That’s when everything begins. The old life generates and nurtures new growth. I need to ponder that process today, to let something new arise from decay. It’s the creative process.

Landmarks for Meditation

beach with driftwood ship wreck

Why is it?

Because:  all phenomna are like a dream, an illusion, a bubble, a shadow, like dew and lightening.

Thus should you meditate on them.

– The Diamond Sutra, translated at the Sukhavati Forest Retreat

Hazard Mountain

 Rough Country

– Dana Gioia

Give me a landscape made of obstacles,

of steep hills and jutting glacial rock,

where the low running streams are quick to flood

the grassy fields and bottom lands.

A place

no engineers can master – where the roads

must twist like tendrils up the mountainside

on narrow cliffs where boulders block the way.

Where tall black trunks of lightning-scalded pine

push through the tangled woods to make a roost

for hawks and swarming crows.

And sharp inclines

Where twisting through the thorn-thick underbrush,

scratched and exhausted, one turns suddenly

To find an unexpected waterfall,

not half a mile from the nearest road,

a spot so hard to reach that no one comes –

A hiding place, a shrine for dragonflies

and nesting jays, a sign that there is still

one piece of property that won’t be owned.