Mindfulness Blog ~ Week 5
Last week was my birthday. Birthdays always feel like a milestone worth reflecting on. This birthday was definitely different. I zoomed with friends I cannot see in person and tried my best not to miss giving them giant in person hugs. Has this pandemic made you think about what you are grateful for and what’s important to you in a new light? I feel more grateful for my best friends and family that I can’t see and want to shower them with love (in the form of knitted things!) because I miss them SO MUCH! I notice that I’m sweating the usual small stuff a little less because it feels like at any moment the world could just be turned upside down - in fact this is what happened mid-March. Somehow the virus is helping me focus on the things that mean so much to me because we all just have no idea when they could be gone, overnight. Small things like the messiness of the house or a bad email I got, feel important but not on the scale they were before. Since mid March, I started journaling again at the start of each day and even though this isn’t always intentional, I usually write about something I’m grateful for that brings joy - my boys, the knitalong, fixing up this old house etc…! It is such a happy way to start the day and I want to encourage you to do this same. Some call this a gratitude journal or practice.
Elizabeth Gilbert is one of my favorites! She does something she calls a Happiness Jar - read more here. I think this is a must implement in my house.
This week, I invite you to spend some time reflecting on what you are grateful for and if you're not sure when to do this or if you have time, DO IT WHILE YOU KNIT!! Just a list in your mind is perfect.
If you have littles at home, another sweet gratitude practice is “A Handful of Gratitude.” Hold one hand up like you’re giving a high five and, with your other hand, gently squeeze each finger one at a time, connecting to something or someone you’re grateful for. Not only does this practice boost our immune system and help us feel more connected, its a handy warm up for our knitting fingers.
Another practice that goes hand-in-hand with gratitude is lovingkindness. Doesn’t that word just warm your heart a little bit? Lovingkindness wishes are hopes for the wellbeing of ourselves and others. We can say lovingkindness phrases as we knit, with each stitch or row, whispering kind words to ourselves and those we care for. This practice is very helpful in times of difficulty and uncertainty and can help us feel more connected to one another. I just received stitch markers for my birthday that actually say LOVE on them and go so hand in hand with this meditation. I love the idea of knitting love into my finished objects.
Emily Hagenmeir has helped me immensely with this post (actually all of them!) Here are some of her (and my) favorite lovingkindness phrases are to consider as you knit.
May you/ I be safe
May you/ I love and feel loved
May you/ I be healthy and strong
May you/ I live with peace and ease
May each day allow you/ me to grow and prosper
o But we can also write our own - learn how here.
o Sharon Salzberg is one of the most beloved teachers of lovingkindness. You can listen to a guided practice with her here: https://www.tenpercent.com/guided-meditations
or for COVID-specific lovingkindness practices here:
"There's a lot of science that strongly suggests that this practice and its variance can produce really meaningful physiological, psychological and behavioral changes. And if you think about it, this is a radical notion, the idea that warmth, friendliness, kindness, dare I say love — these are not factory settings that are unalterable.
You aren't wired a certain way when it comes to your interpersonal relations and unchangeable. In fact, these are skills that you can develop. And that is such a radical notion, that the mind is trainable. I've been doing this loving-kindness meditation now pretty intensively — including going on long retreats where that's all you do — for several years. And I've found it's made a big difference in terms of my inner weather, and how I relate to my own ugliness, because we all have ugliness."
Love this and I hope it provides some solace this week. If you're new to a gratitude or lovingkindness practice, maybe this is the week is the week to give it a go. My small goal is to spend the first few minutes when I sit down to knit, thinking about the lovingkindness prompts above.
All the love KAL friends,