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Posts Tagged ‘meditation’

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Locarno Beach, a good place to slow down and enjoy gazing at the clouds…

It’s OK to “go slow”.

When I was a “youngster”, back in the 1950’s, I spent some time each summer with a friend’s family on the Sunshine Coast here in B.C. It was such a delightful place to visit, where everything seemed magical. Driving along the dusty dirt road to my friend’s grandpa’s place, we would pass a sign on the roadside which always made us laugh. The sign said:

CAMP

GO SLOW

Of course, we called the place “Camp Go Slow”.

Remembering that sign has made me think about the speed at which most of us seem to live today. Not only traffic has speeded up, but the very way in which our minds work is in overdrive. It appears that  moving slowly is not acceptable in 2018, nor is thinking slowly.

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Stopping to notice the sweet scent of a rose, or to look up at the soft white clouds in a pale blue sky would appear to be eccentric behaviour nowadays. What a shame! Our access to myriads of online information at the touch of a finger is filling our brains at breakneck speed. It’s no wonder we can’t remember all of what we’re stuffing into our heads! It doesn’t surprise me that so many people are suffering from anxiety and depression.

We’re even encouraged to walk quickly, cycle, jog, swim, lift weights, anything to get our heart rates up. This is all well and good, but to my mind, not at the expense of our emotional well-being. Finding a balance is key.

Pausing to just breathe, slowing down to notice the beauty that remains in this world can be very healing. Even if I can’t get to the beach, or into the woods, I sometimes just stop and really look at a flower, or a leaf, or a bird or an insect. Nature is amazing!

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White-crowned Sparrow

Getting away from our “screens”, whether it be smart phone, computer or tablet, is such a healthy way to get back into more natural rhythms of living. My own overuse of the computer has led to a gradual decline of noticing what is going on in the real world. By “real world”, I mean whatever bits of “Mother Earth” are left for us to experience in a slow, noticing manner.

Mindfulness meditation is one simple way to slow down and become aware of what’s going on around us. It doesn’t have to be complicated, this type of meditation, nor does it have to be practiced in a rigid way. Simply sitting still, being aware of each out-breath for a short period of time helps to settle our minds. Any activity which absorbs our attention positively can help to centre us, to relieve the need to rush and be “busy”. Raking leaves, painting a picture, knitting something simple, are all examples of ways we can practice “mindfulness”, and achieve a more steady pace of living.

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Crocheting can be a type of meditation:)

Practicing tai chi or yoga can help us to focus, to slow down and just breathe! I’m talking about traditional yoga practice, not one of the speeded up varieties, of course. Although tai chi is a martial art form, the way I practice it is in a slow and mindful manner. This is very calming.

On the cooking front, I may be considered old-fashioned, but rather than using a microwave or any other gadget which speeds up food preparation, I prefer the slow cooking method! Food just tastes better when it’s prepared mindfully, and is probably healthier for us as well.

With climate change forcing us to re-think the way we live on this beautiful earth, I believe it’s time to slow down and actually consider how to do that. How can we learn to (as Graham Saul asks):

“Restore the life support systems of the planet.”

—Graham Saul, environmentalist & Executive Director of Nature Canada

Well, I don’t think that we can help the earth to heal by racing around, “business as usual”, frantically and unthinkingly. It will take time and a great effort from everyone, but I believe positive changes can be made.

Slowing down will help us to once again realize that we humans are a part of the biosphere, part of the web of life!

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Columbine, a self-seeded beauty!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Crochet

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Crochet: My Definition: a calming, soothing, magical craft, a meditation in itself. Creating useful and beautiful items for others to enjoy is a bonus. Crochet is a portable craft: just a ball of yarn, a hook, and a bag to carry it in. So simple!

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“In crochet you hear no needles clicking. It’s like the sound of one hand clapping.”

—Val Bjarnason

Crochet: noun: needlework in which yarn is looped into pattern of stitches by means of hooked needle.

verb: make in or do crochet.

—The Oxford Dictionary of Current English (1991)

A calming, soothing, magical craft, crochet is a meditation in itself. Creating useful and beautiful items for others to enjoy is a bonus.

I love the process of crocheting. It’s been a daily part of my life for many years. Crochet is portable: just a ball of yarn, a hook, and a bag to carry it in is all you need. So simple!

“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”

—Aldo Leopold

Rather than using synthetic yarns, I crochet with natural ones, organically produced whenever possible. Organic hemp, cotton and wool are my favourites. Acrylic and polyester fibres are ending up in our waterways, flushed there whenever we wash items made from them. Acrylics are not biodegradable, and tiny fibres end up being ingested by animals, birds, amphibians, and creatures which live in the oceans, lakes and rivers. I avoid synthetic yarns.

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

—William Morris

Woollen Tea Cozy by Val ©soleil crochet on etsy.com

Woollen Tea Cozy by Val
©soleil crochet on etsy.com

Air Plant Nest by Val ©soleilcrochet on etsy.com

Hemp Air Plant Nest by Val
©soleilcrochet on etsy.com

The “Air Plant Nest”, pictured above, has been crocheted using hemp twine from India. Creating with this rough, but wonderful, hemp fibre is a real workout for the fingers! The fellow I buy it from is off to India again in a few weeks, and will return in the Spring of 2015 with all sorts of treasures. My next project will be crocheting with natural nettle yarn from India, a gorgeous grey fibre which has been boiled to soften it.

After years and years of crocheting, I’m finally creating my own patterns and designs. The possibilities seem endless! So many ideas to try out…

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