By some good fortune, I found myself working in the library. I didn't know librarians needed a degree in Library Science. I just thought anyone who liked to read could be a librarian and they can, but it takes some studying.
A compassionate reference librarian told me the deal. She was not condescending. I thanked her and years later when I got my MLS, I wondered if I would have been that kind to my younger self. I'd like to think I would be, but in any case, I'm glad to be surrounded by books in work and life.
As society gets busier and more stressful, the library becomes a sanctuary. If you are reading this, you probably agree. But why? Here is my list of reasons libraries are good for your mental health. If you have more to add, I would love to hear about it.
TOP 7 REASONS LIBRARIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
1. It's pretty much the only place you can go without a television blasting
2. You can find books about uplifting things...
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.
LUMI SIT: Butterfly Mind
Eventually, the butterfly will settle. It will find the plant with the best pollen, spot...
Jump in a jalopy, splash at the shore, or kick up the grass and go on foot because it's time to get outside and do something different. Whenever you feel as if you're standing still or moving backwards, try changing directions. Move forward differently.
What is one area of your life you would like to change? When we sit quietly, answers often appear as if by magic.
LUMI SIT: Summer Stillness
Relax, the days are getting longer in the Northern Hemisphere. Is there a question that has been weighing on your mind? Write it down. Close your eyes and breathe. Notice thoughts and feelings that arise. Do you feel sad, angry, betrayed? Emotions can only hurt if we give them the power to do so. As you sit quietly, imagine the ocean. We are so small in the big ocean. Take a thought and drop it into the sea. Repeat. Relax. Breathe.
When you are done, imagine any negative thoughts on an adventure. Use...
Before Covid, I taught several yoga classes a week and was either presenting Writing Yoga® workshops or planning them during every second of my spare time. I miss my yoga students! But I had no time to focus on doing the work I was meant to do. Now, I can serve even more people, take time to practice yoga and write more poems too.
Just a few lifestyle tweaks can work big magic. Mothers tend to be major multi-takers who put the self-care task at the bottom of the list. Mothers mother. It's what we do. Teachers, nurses, your BFF might mother you too.
The Writing Yoga® method is a powerful way to connect with your creative self, feel healthy and inspired, and still live a peaceful life. There are many working parts but ANYONE can do the essentials: 1) SIT & relax 2) WRITE in a journal and 3) MOVE the body in some way each and every day. Ultimately, they make us feel LUMINOUS or "Lumi" for short. Aka: Lumi Sit, Lumi Write & Lumi...
The cranky man on the supermarket line has a lot to say about you and the terrible state of the world. Everything is going to "hell in a handbasket." The lines on his face detail decades of serious frowning. When someone he knows says, "Hi, how are you today?" The man replies, "Could be better" and goes on to list all the terrible things in his life and the world.
Of course it could be better and there is plenty wrong with the world, but what if you never answered, "I'm great, how are you?"
My nephew always answers this way, "I'm great! How are you?" It makes me smile and say, "I'm great too." Even if I am not great, at that moment I feel great, because optimism is contagious. Our brains go with the information we put inside them. Our bodies follow those instructions. You make your own instruction manual. Are your instructions: a) be great or b) go to "hell and an handbasket."
I am not encouraging forced happiness, fake laughter, and blind positive thinking. That can...
If you know me well, you know I am a tropical climate kind of human. You don't see turtles and egrets walking in snow. My family has been coming down to Florida for decades, not in a fancy kind of way, but in a swim in the gulf, grill some veggies and walk on the Pinellas Trail kind of way.
On a walk in this breezy easy part of Southwest Florida, a turtle blended in with the grass. Unexpectedly large, totally still, and hanging steady on the lawn, we watched her for a while. Was she alive? Where did she come from? How did she get here?
While we studied her shell, she suddenly turned her head at us and ran away.
Great to meet you turtle, glad you are on your way to bigger and better things.
WRITING YOGA® PROMPT #2005: Keep Going, Turtle
SIT: Be the Turtle
Turtles can remain still for a very long time. How long can you sit before you need to adjust your shirt, scratch an itch or change your posture. In Transcendental Mediation, a...
When have you been a beginner? It can be a little bit scary, but also exciting and invigorating to be brand new at something. Yoga teaches us how to approach arriving on the mat each day with a new attitude. Holding a beginner's mind can help us perform better as writers and teachers too. Do you agree?
Grab your journal and watch this 1 minute video to guide your writing. It worked for me and I hope you find it helpful too.
I look forward to hearing your ideas!
With warm seasonal wishes,
Can you hear those sleigh bells starting to ring? Does the thought of the approaching holidays bring on some stress? Break out your journal and write for some instant stress-relief!
Yoga philosophy teaches us to listen to our instincts, stay focused, be a warrior for what matters, and show compassion for ourselves and others. These are great skills to help thrive during challenging times.
If it's been a while since you have felt healthy, creative and calm, here are some lessons from the yoga mat. Think of these words throughout the day and whenever you pick up a journal to write.
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)...
Do you remember thinking as a kid that the year 2000 was some mythical place in the future where robots ran the world? The robots aren't quite there yet and 2000 was 20 years ago!
There is a good chance that this is a milestone year for you. Where were you in 1900, 2000, 2010? Maybe you were a kid, maybe you were having kids, maybe you were dreaming of a future that is quite different from where you are today.
Writing Yoga® Mindfulness Prompt:
Lumi Sit: Take 5 minutes to acknowledge your milestones. Close your eyes. Think of something that the year represents for you. Maybe it is an anniversary or birthday. Not everyone made it this far so at the very least, breathe deeply, celebrate with each inhalation your arrival on this planet at this time.
Lumi Write: Let your subconscious be your inner writer. Take 5 minutes to celebrate this milestone year using any thoughts that arose during the Lumi Sit.
Lumi Move: Mountain pose (wall optional). This is an...