What Do You Do When it is Hard to focus? Trust Your Butterfly Brain [WRITING YOGA® PROMPT #2013]

#mindfulness #poetry focus ideas for writing journal writing monkey mind yoga Jun 07, 2023

In yoga and meditation we often speak of "monkey mind." It's as if a monkey is swinging in your gray matter while your focus tries to follow. Good luck following that monkey. All you can do is slow it down because there will always be distractions. 

My students created a pollinator garden at our school and when the first butterfly appeared last week I thought of that monkey. It didn't swing from trees, but rather flew from one flower to another very quickly and in no apparent order. The kids were amazed. 

Back in the library, we thought of that beautiful, busy butterfly. Could it help us to quiet our bodies and brains? 

If the thoughts are a butterfly, and there are so many plants to land on, how do you choose where to rest?  

Let's figure it out using this week's prompts. 


WRITING YOGA® PROMPT #2013: Trust Your Focus

LUMI SIT:  Butterfly Mind

Eventually, the butterfly will settle. It will find the plant with the best pollen, spot of water and sunlight. Watch my video of the butterfly, or any butterfly video, or a real insect if you are lucky to find one. 

Close your eyes. Let your thoughts be like the wings of the butterfly. Allow them to fly. After several moments, witness what happens without criticism. Did the butterfly slow, stop or maybe it flew away?  Just notice and breathe. For most of us, the butterfly will quiet after a few minutes and so will any feelings of anxiousness and undirected urgency. 

LUMI WRITE: Help the Butterfly Land 

Close your eyes and breathe. Think of an important project or task you would like to complete today. Imagine the butterfly working out all of the details. Imagine all the steps you need to complete the task as if they were just spots along the journey to pause. The butterfly isn't anxious or worried about getting anything done. In that same spirit, open your eyes and write a map of everything you need to do today to complete your project (or part of it if more long-term.)  You can use the butterfly image to help you make a diagram. 

As you work throughout the day, check off each step. Whenever you feel distracted, think of your butterfly landing safely on the garden's ground. 

LUMI MOVE:  Horse Pose and Butterfly Flow

You may know this pose as Utkata Konasana, but it is also known as horse pose. Hold it for a minute and you will build some real strength. Start by standing with your feet wider than your hips, toes pointing outwards. As you inhale, bend your knees and sink your hips down into a squat position.  

Raise your arms to look like a cactus.  Hold the pose for 3-5 breaths. 

Come back up to stand. Relax your arms. 

Repeat the horse pose but this time, let your arms be butterfly wings and sweep them over your head as you keep the squat and exhale.  As you inhale, bring your arms back to your side and stand. 

Repeat this flow throughout the day. Let the exhalation release the butterfly brain. Let the inhalations bring you focus and calm.  

Try these "Lumi" activities to feel luminous throughout your week to help you find your focus. Vary these exercises in your journal by drawing, sketching or making your own mind maps. Let me know how it goes & see you next week! - Stef 

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