Moments of Zen
It’s a new year and the stress has not let up. Does it ever? I find that I have begun to dread and even hate the holidays lately, everything bad that happens usually waits until then to hamstring you. BUT, regardless of what pitfalls have tried to ambush me, I have been able to find my moments of zen.
I am quite surprised how inventive I can become in finding time to destress myself. I have found time to color, to draw, to attack my poor garden with hedge shears, and to discover some awesome chanting mantra that spoke to the core of me!
I have about a million coloring books that see very little action. When I actually sit down to color one of two things happen, I either become a perfectionist or I feel guilty that I am spending time away from something else to color. I have begun to learn to let go when I color, to not take a wrongly placed color as the end of the world, and to limit my color choices so I don’t overwhelm myself in choosing what would be the next best color. I have been able to create two pieces (that can be found on the coloring page) that filled me with the sense of a gratification...a job well done…I bloody finally finished one!
Flying on that sense of euphoria, I tackled trying to recreate a wand from one of my work in progress stories. Let me stress I am not an artist. I cannot draw. Having said that, it does not stop me from trying to draw things from time to time. Sometimes it works and I have something nice to show for the efforts, mostly it sucks. The wand I drew is from the top view, the handle is carved into the shape of a raven with the feet holding gemstones and twin tail feathers entwine along the shaft of the wand. It took me a few days of drawing and erasing and trying to figure out how to get as close to the look I wanted. Here is the result of that work!
Then came disaster. It felt like everything was happening all at once and I really wanted to go on a terror bend. Instead, I grabbed some hedge shears and terrorized my poor trees in my garden. This was not an activity I have done before, but it was very cathartic. Yes, the trees are still standing, minus a few limbs, but now I have a nice shaded area where I can set a chair under and enjoy the cool ocean breeze. My dog Smokey kept looking at me as if I had lost my mind. My other pup, Lilbit just kept out of the way of the crazy girl. It was an interesting experience, to say the least. I went from just cutting away to actually slowing down my mind and thinking about what I wanted to accomplish at that moment.
Lastly, I have tried standard forms of meditation, yeah... no. My mind is way too chaotic for that. I use guided meditation to fall asleep, which is the best I can look forward to standard meditation. Having said that, I found a type of meditation that resonates with me. Chanting mantra and the work of one person speaks very deeply to me. Matthew Jadev's work is very visceral. His works borders more on tribal and pulled me in a way none of the other types of meditations could. You sway, you sing and chant along. It makes you want to dance and you still feel relaxed and at peace when it's over.
Here is a link to my favorite chant: Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung.
I think that what moments of zen are – giving your mind time to slow down from all the motions, emotions and stress, to be in that one moment and not worry or stress about anything else. It's not something trendy, but just anything that takes you out of your mind for that moment and places you in front of whatever you are doing. For some, it's running; for me, it was attacking my garden and sitting in bed at 10 at night chanting and dancing while my brother thinks I have finally lost my mind.
Until next time, enjoy finding your Moments of Zen!
The world is a stressful, frustrating place that can leave you wrung out and ready to go DARK. Unfortunately, becoming a Dark Lord and casting Crucio on everything in sight is frowned upon. Fun though it may be to contemplate – yes, I have contemplated it a lot – I have resorted to other means of finding my moments of peace and happiness… My moments of zen, which I freely share with you. (End results may vary!)
No, I am not going to be babbling at you about Buddhism and finding your path to inner peace. With long work days and dealing with frustratingly annoying, demanding people, I would happily trade inner peace for moments of quiet and being alone. So my advice is making, creating, DEMANDING, and carving out a few moments for yourself throughout the day. Five to ten minutes at a time works for me. Time to just sit quietly and breathe, sneak a look at my favorite fan fiction . . . you know that one that makes you laugh, go bang my head on the wall while contemplating why I keep my wand locked in an anti-magic safe in my locker (oh yeah, going dark is bad…going dark is bad…).
Learn to say NO. Why is it that a three-year-old has an easier time than an adult saying that word? Honestly, use it! There are times when it is an inconvenience, when it just adds too much to the workload, and sometimes I really just want to have some time to myself that I refuse to be guilt-tripped into it. If it is a toss-up between the person feeling disappointed and me ending up in Azkaban, they are just going to have to learn to live with being disappointed. But seriously, do learn to say no once in a while. You will feel so much better in the end without the added expectations and pressure.
Hiding works! Do not set yourself up for failure by trying to have some alone time in accessible reach. Everyone will just find an excuse that they believe is really important for why they need your attention. Bathrooms (let me specify that as clean bathrooms) are great hiding spots to get five minutes away from the madness. A warded empty classroom, office, or storage space works too. I have been known to hide out in changing rooms for a moment of peace – remember to tuck your feet onto the bench so anyone peeking under the stall will not see them and find you.
Take a walk. Really take a walk! Take the elevator to the top floor and take a walk around the floor and work your way down. Stop and look out the windows from time to time. Just walk and breathe and let go of the stress and thoughts. Take a walk in your garden or through the woods near your home or at the park. Think about how blue the sky is, how green the trees and grass are. Watch the insects buzzing around, take notes of the different birds, the shapes of the clouds, how hot or cold the air feels. Open yourself to the beauty around you and know that there is more to life than the problems we face.
I know it is so much easier to complain about how stressed we are than to actually make an effort to address it, but it is worth the effort to carve out small amounts of time for you to relax. As you get used to making time, you find that carving out more and more time becomes easier. Next time I will discuss what to do with the time you know have!