Writing, Yoga, Meditation, Retreats and SEL Professional Development
One night, my mother and sister had the same dream as I did. It was a realistic dream, just a normal day at a busy city park. I sat at a long picnic table loaded with snacks and canned seltzer. The park was crowded, but my family sat quietly around the long table. Okay, take back the realistic part. My family is never quiet.
My grandfather walked by the table and said, “I am still here.” My sister and mother said he appeared in their dreams that night too. And he said the same thing, "I am still here." We all felt so peaceful afterwards.
I don’t know what event in our lives made my Grandfather whisper reassurance in our sleeping ears. We could have been under a spell of any number of life’s transitions. It was long ago but I remember the dream part perfectly.
Breathe deeply. Close your eyes. Think of a wonderful dream or daydream (if night ones are hard to remember) that was memorable for...
Humans, just like all of nature, move in spirals. We may even feel crushed by backward momentum, but once we see the other side, our rewards can be tremendous. That's the gift of a spiral path.
Writing Yoga® Mindfulness Prompt:
Lumi Sit: Take 5 minutes in silence. Close your eyes. Breathe. Say to yourself, "I am here." Repeat. Slow down the words inside your head. "I am here." Repeat.
Lumi Write: Draw a picture of a spiral. Take your time and notice what thoughts and images appear in your mind. You can color it in with pencils or decorate it any way you wish. Write down any words that come to mind inside the spiral. I kept thinking of the word, "lighthouse."
Lumi Move: These variations on the forward fold can be done anytime you need a break. Your head is down, but you are not going backwards. We can only restore ourselves when we step off the spiral and rest.
FORWARD FOLD VARIATIONS
Forward Fold: 1) Stand. 2) Bring your hands to your hips, bend your knees and 3)...
The baby boomers paved the way for us to think differently about getting old. They just aren't having it! Studies show that it's possible to feel and look years younger than you are by developing healthy habits including practicing yoga, journal writing and meditating. Writing Yoga® combines all three to help balance your mind, body and spirit. And that balance is what makes you feel AMAZING!
Let's take a page from the boomer's book not because we actually want to be younger, but because we want to experience a life filled with child-like wonder and possibility.
Writing Yoga® Mindfulness Prompt:
Lumi Sit: Take a deep breath. Ask yourself this question: What makes you amazing? Set a timer for five minutes. Close your eyes. Breathe. With each breath, imagine how amazing you are in your mind's eye. Notice how it feels in your body to be amazing. If there is an obnoxious voice telling you you are not amazing, defend yourself as you would your own child or student. Or you...
Venus stands in the middle of Dallas. She’s golden, glowing and powerful, but her bedroom is a mess. Could it be she has too much to wear? This artwork, Venere deglistracci dorata (Golden Venus of Rags), by Michelangelo Pistoletto was created between 1967-1971, long before Forever 21 sold disposable clothes.
I took this picture and sent it to my daughter by text, “This looks like your room.” Very funny, she said. But it’s true. It does.
What does it take to create beauty? Naked, Venus is stunning. What transformation will be made by adorning rags? What is true beauty? What is excess? Do you really need all those clothes, Venus?
Write Venus a note. Begin something like this: Dear Venus, How far you have come from Botticelli’s shell. Or, Dear Venus, let’s sing to Bananarama and wear rubber bracelets up and down our arms. Or, Dear Venus, I’m sorry it took me so long to write, please forgive me for not understanding your...
A horse rides through the streets of Dallas. Soon he will be back on the range, dusting dirt off his jeans, but for now, he’s suspended in a painting on the 12th floor hotel wall.
I passed this cowboy on my way to the rooftop pool. He tipped his hat. At least I could have sworn he did.
The man pushing a pickle cart definitely tipped his hat. We were on Houston in New York’s lower east side. He was wheeling past, heading to Delancey and I was in 1899.
Every city has history and imaginary ghosts. What stories do the ghosts of your city tell?
I stood in front of the cowboy at the hotel. He would never have met the pickle man in New York City. I relate better to tenements than ranches, but both are far away from my life today. When we write about the past through the lens of a modern visitor, interesting things can happen in the mind and on the page.
Find a park bench in any town or city and visit it with your notebook. Notice the people...
Nothing like a bee sting to interrupt your Zen.
I raise my hand in the lawn for a seated twisted yoga pose. My waist is wrung out like a wet rag. I think I’m so graceful, my fingers reaching for sky. My arm moves in slow motion toward the grass. I’m fully in the moment, describing the pose to my students step-by-step. The gaze comes last and with my head and neck aligned with the spine there is no reason to look down.
When my hand reaches the earth, it meets a bee. I’m stung. My yogi mind observes. It says, “You have been stung by a bee.” Yes, I have been stung, it hurts, and the class remains centered in the pose while I look down at my swollen finger and continue to cue.
It’s near the end of class and my non-yogi mind says, “Run! Get ice. Get Benadryl. Your throat will close. You will go into shock. You will die.”
We finish class. I ice my hand. I’m calm and surprised to be alive.
Have you ever been stung? I have...
It wasn’t the golden trimmings or the opulence of the mansion that struck me. It was the child strapped between roots, light hitting just the right way to reveal what nature had tried to hide.
The Banyan tree took over, growth by growth. A statue of a child is hidden inside it, on an estate that was made to look like Venice, Italy in Southwest Florida. Such is America.
Ringling (aka Ringling Bros. Circus) was a walking circus. His home has that clown-like feeling, creepy and disturbing, but mesmerizing.
What is the creepiest thing you ever saw? Did you ever visit a place and not even care what the brochure had to say? Did you ever find your own circus? This week’s prompt is dedicated to all the creepy things found in unlikely places. Write about what that means to you in the past, present or future. Or you can tell the story of this child who has been stuck in a tree for decades.
What does it mean to be an expert?
It feels much better to be an expert at something than to sit in a room and feel completely lost, but being “lost” can be just the thing we need to grow. Take some time today to get to know the expert in yourself and the expert inside people you know. Is there a particular yoga pose you want to master? Is there a topic that you want to know inside and out?
In this week’s writing prompt, we are exploring what it means to be “an expert.”
What steps will it take to arrive at mastery? One of the biggest lessons of working toward mastery is to realize that it’s okay to not be perfect at everything. There are plenty of experts you can call on. Think about the experts in your life. Who would you call….
I mistakenly thought my friend was taking pictures of her toes. She had her feet up on the front seat’s armrest and her phone held up to her face while she reclined in back. We were on a three hour car trip upstate and I was learning all about Snapchat.
Snapchat (for those of you who have been living under a rock like me) is an app where you can add filters to a photo of someone so that they look like a member of the band KISS or have a jaw that is wider than a face. You can add flowers and face paint.
My friend took this pink floral filter of me (above). I loved the flowers dancing over my head! It made me think of the day before our trip when we sat by the hotel pool at the place where I teach yoga. A guest came up to us and asked if we wanted to try his “color blind” glasses. Of course, we did.
The glasses made the trees greener and the sky bluer. The pale pink flowers were now fuchsia. I didn’t want to give the glasses back. But I did.
Now it is Monday,...