I find meditation quite a challenge. Before children came into my life I never truly appreciated the moments of stillness that you can cultivate by sitting for a moment and just breathing.
Now I am an opportunistic meditator. I take it as it comes and delight in the free gifts of time that are handed to me. The wee hours of the morning (like right now – 3:30 am!) when my little one has woken me up (or when the rooster decides the day has started – or both) and my brain kicks into gear. Sleep is usually all over for me at this point so why waste time tossing about in bed? I also make wonderful use of the moments I spend in the car with two sleeping girls in the back while I am waiting to pick up my school boy. My craft, too, is an act of meditation. Rolling large pieces of felt is a repetitive task that lends itself well to letting your mind drift off into peaceful thoughts.
Anything tedious and repetitive is an opportunity to meditate! Stacking the dishwasher, hanging out the washing, mopping the floors … all wonderful opportunities to let your negative thoughts go and cultivate some light in the rhythm of your heart and your breath. And of course the plus side is that if you are meditating while doing housework your home benefits from all the love 🙂
I once had such a profoundly beautiful experience meditating with plants and I thank Ashra from MoonTree for this gift. Ashra was hosting a seasonal women’s festival day and I went along, for I was in such need of women’s company, and a whole day of spiritual nourishment. Ashra offered us her garden and we sat together and drank in the garden, growing living imaginings of the plants within us and listening to their stories. We sat together in front of a magnificent Grevillea plant and just appreciated it for the beautiful being it is.
It was that simple. We began admiring the plant, looking at it softly, breathing it in, asking if we could join it. Looking at it with love and openness before closing our eyes and continuing to see it in the same way within our hearts. We repeated this process, until before I knew it I was on that plant, a part of the spindly ends of the Grevillea leaf.
I was on the branch and just watching the plant and animal life do their things around me, and what I noticed most of all was the rhythms. Flowers budded, blossomed brilliantly, drooped and died. Leaves budded, unfurled and grew strong and green. Each plant with its own green, its own flower, doing it’s thing in its own time. Insects came, worked, shared, chatted and left. Birds fed from the flowers, called and sang and left. The plants around me grew, changed size, changed colour, flowered, fruited …like I was watching the world continue in time-lapse photography, but like a beautiful dance where each being knew what it had to do and did it because that was what it was supposed to to. Each living being did their thing, lived their rhythm, and did it dutifully and beautifully.
It was a gentle and gradual return to my physical presence. I became very aware of how stuck I felt at that point in time in my own physical existence. Of how I had been living my rhythm dutifully, but not beautifully. Going about my own daily life with resigned detachment at times, resentfulness at other times. Bitterness about how tired and hard-done-by I felt. Unappreciated.
I always talk about the importance of rhythm for children and parents, and most of the time I am pretty good at moving in a mindful and beautiful rhythm through our days and weeks – but the very nature of being human means we must experience contrast … and through this experience my RHYTHM had become a ROUTINE. I was stuck in a cycle and the lack of beauty in the way I was moving through my life was hurting me. I was losing sleep, thinking bitter thoughts, suffering eczema, over reacting with the people I live with. The Grevillea had shared a moment of its life with me and reminded me that life goes on around me in a beautiful way, regardless of what I am experiencing now.
Through this meditation I experienced such a sense of peace and purpose. It happened at the same time I began the GAPS diet, at a time when I have really needed some focused healing. When Melissa, the ther half of Sacred Essence, collected some astoundingly beautiful Grevillea flowers for our circle the next night, I just had to share my experience with her. That evening Melissa led us through another meditative imagining with the plants and I was right back there. Melissa uses Australian Flower Essences in her therapeutic work – and phoned me the next day to let me know that Red Grevillea is a treatment plant for that feeling of being stuck – and also beneficial for eczema! I feel strongly that I connected with that healing during the meditation.
So it was a beautiful reminder to cultivate my daily life as a dutiful and beautiful dance, I am always looking out the window, or wandering outside, and although sometimes the opportunity to sit still eludes me in my busy days, I use those moments of otherwise ‘tedious’ work to reconnect with that experience, or to take a new plant into my heart and appreciate them for their story.