Here's a short Creative Mindfulness Activity to do :) Enter it with a moment of lightness, openness and curiosity, for these are the gifts to insight, courage and intuitive awareness.
Think of a moment that you experienced in the recent past that really mattered to you. A moment so that even as you think of it now brings a sense of connection to a feeling inside your body. Perhaps it was an intimate moment where you connected on a deeper level with a partner so that you felt more attuned to each other - more present to his or her needs or gained a sense that something in you had shifted in how you understood the other.
- Perhaps the moment you're considering gave you an insight into a new understanding, a sense of knowing something at a deeper level,
- Perhaps you were searching for a solution to a problem and suddenly you felt as if a veil was lifted and your mind opened up new creative pathways filled with possibilities,
- Perhaps you were experiencing a moment in nature where your senses felt attuned to the sights, sounds and smells around you,
- Perhaps it was a moment of healing where pain or discomfort dropped away.
As you're thinking of this moment, you may notice that the memory invokes a bodily memory. You're not simply 'in your head', lost in thought - rather transported in a sensory way to a moment that connected you in a meaningful way.
When we think of what we value most, say for example, 'love' in the natural sense of connecting to something that's important to you - you're rarely 'in your head' - the experience is visceral, nearly tangible - so much so that you may have a sensation in your chest, a memory of a scent you associate with your 'love', a tingling through your body or an awareness of feeling more present and alive.
As Tara Brown says, "True wisdom and insight come from a direct engagement with reality itself - not an interference of thoughts".
To connect to this inner presence and to become more appreciative of sensory moments let's pause for a moment and listen to our body. I invite you to do the exercise below in a quiet and private space - if you have any paints or colours have them ready for you to use at the end.
Step 1: Grounding
Notice which parts of your body are touching something firm - for example: your feet may be touching the floor, offering you a sense of feeling grounded, your hands may be resting on a table or on your lap, you may be noticing how your clothing hugs one part of your body more than another.
Step 2: Breathing
As you're noticing these minute sensory experiences begin to notice your breath. Notice the sensation of air entering your nostrils - is it warm or cool? Imagine your breath travelling into your lungs and notice which part of your body responds - does your chest rise and fall, or perhaps you're noticing your stomach moving in and out as you gently focus on the simple and natural movement of taking a breath - one after the other - a process that goes on subconsciously no matter where we are or what we're doing.
Step 3: Imagining
As you're sitting quietly and breathing, imagine the air you're breathing in has a colour. Perhaps it's white, a soft blue, a light pink - I don't know - leave it to your imagination to choose. And if it has no colour - that's ok too.
Step 4: Releasing
Stay 'noticing' your body and breath for as long as it feels right - it may be a matter of moments, minutes or longer - it's up to you. And as you're doing this, notice that if your mind wanders you can let the thoughts easily go if you choose to - simply watch them drift away as you bring your attention back to this moment.
Step 5: Sensing
At times, I notice an image or a sense arrive that often has no words to describe it - merely a feeling. Sometimes of peacefulness, at others of acceptance of things I may be concerned about, or even a feeling of lightness in my body - a place of ease. Notice any senses that you are aware of and be curious about them. Is there a sense of something swirling? Or a sense of something floating away from you? Or a sense of stillness?
Step 6: Connecting
A beautiful way of extending this experience is to choose a colour that resonates with you - either water colour, an oil-based crayon (one that's soft and can blend) or chalk. Using your fingers/brush/crayon/chalk (whatever you feel comfortable using) - allow your hands to move the colour around on a piece of paper in any way that feels pleasing (use your fingertips, the palm of your hand or your nail to create different patterns/textures) - it doesn't have to 'be' anything - this is more a sensory based response to a way of connecting with your 'felt senses'. If you feel that you'd like to add another colour, do so. All I ask is that you remain 'present' to any sensed emotions that may be arising. At times, this activity can raise tears, a feeling of joy or even a sense of release. It's the beginning of being more present to what your body and mind can create for you if you bring a sense of trust to the process.
Step 7: Journaling
In your journal, describe the experience as richly as you can. Use words that describe how you felt, what you saw or heard. Record anything that comes up for you, these thoughts or insights can be powerful and help link moments of memory with what's really important to you.
Step 8: Sharing
Share your thoughts on this activity in the comment section below and suggest the activity to anyone you feel may gain value from it.