..........slow down.......take a breath.......be in the moment.......hold your thoughts & feelings as gently as you would a baby bird.......let them go.......just be..........

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Being Held

I have often wondered if I needed to combine my websites, because there seems to me much that crosses over.  Yet, having them separate helps me compartmentalize my lists of things to do.

This post I just put on my prayer bedes website was one I had a hard time deciding where it should go.  It does have to do with mindfulness, but it has to do with prayer beads too.  My resolution was that I would just put the same post on both websites, so here it is.

A couple of weeks ago I was listening to a podcast on the Greater Good Magazine.  Krista Tippet, creator of the On Being show on NPR, is one of the guest speakers on the podcast.  The podcast is titled Krista Tippet on Being Grounded in Your Body.  In it she describes her experience with the body scan meditation.

The body scan meditation is something I learned many years ago in therapy, but had forgotten about.  Yes, I still struggle at times with panic attacks, but lately my frustration has been with not being able to fall to sleep at night.  Amazingly, going through my body and focusing on relaxing each part from toe to head has actually been working!

One of the things that stood out to me when Krista describes her experience is this:
You feel heavy but it is not like feeling held down.
It is like being held.
What a wonderful explanation.  I might add that some might resist that heavy feeling like they are falling down too.  But the description of being held is perfect!

I have always thought of getting one of these parachute fabric hammocks and my order arrived in the mail today.  When you lay in one, that is exactly what you feel like--being held.  I think I have found a new prayer space this summer.  Even when I am not laying there, I can remember that feeling of being held.  There is a letting go and a trust involved in that too.  There are many times I need to let God hold me, and need a reminder to do so!

As with any meditation practice, the key is practice.  Just as with prayer, practice is important for communication with God as well.  (Though I am uncertain if I even want to draw a line between prayer and mediation as I consider mediation a form of prayer when that is the intent.)

Besides the hammock that came in the mail from Amazon today, I also received a new book titled Bead by Bead by Suzanne Henley that my friend, Kristen Olsen Vincent of Prayerworks Studio, brought to my attention.  In the back of the book, my prayer bedes website is listed as a source.  I am humbled and honored!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Mindfulness Wall Art

Still 8x10 print by WindGullDesignCo on Etsy
Still 8x10 watercolor print by WindGullDesignCo on Etsy

I ran across this lovely watercolor print today on Etsy.  It is always interesting to me how saying the same thing in a different way can help us understand and connect with its meaning.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Just Float

Soft Tranquil Blue Glass Mindfulness Reminder

It is another day of listing a new necklace to my Center Rings Etsy shop.  That is when I have to study the particular necklace I am listing and try to describe it with tags that someone might search.  Trying to read peoples minds has never been something I clam to be able to do.  So, instead I decided to describe what comes to mind when I look at the necklace.

How do I describe the color of blue in the glass?  Light blue?  Light turquoise blue?  Then, I thought of the color of a clean swimming pool.  Yes, that is what it reminds me of.

Then, that reminded me of an example I heard once in therapy of what not do do if you are having a panic attack in quicksand.  If you thrash around trying to get out, you will sink deeper.  But, if you lay on your back and float, you will not sink.  It is strange how our mind can so often fool us into thinking something is true.  I know my mind would say "get out of there" if I found myself sinking in quicksand.  The knowledge to lay back and float would not come to mind.  Yet, it is a perfect example of realizing that what we think might not be the truth.  Our instincts are not always right.

So, when I am feeling a bit anxious or panicky, I am going to think about just laying back and floating.  It is quite a remarkable feat of our natural world that water can hold us up if we let it.

Wishing you a wonderful little float today--even if it is just in your imagination.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

This too shall pass...eventually

This is Spring in Minnesota today.  Hail, ice, and snow--lots of snow.  It is reminding me of one of the hardest things about panic attacks.  You know that the feelings will pass, but when you are in the midst of a full blown panic attack, seconds seem like hours.  The strange thing is that the more you try to push those feelings away, the worse they get. 

Most of us here in Minnesota are really sick of this winter weather.  Yes, we are crabby.  But, that will not make it go away.  We cannot control the weather. 

I have decided it is okay to be crabby today.  It is okay to feel whatever I feel.  With that, however, I can still go about my day.  The weather will not stop me from breathing and living.  Maybe today will be a practice in mindfulness.  I can be here right now and just feel everything I feel and not judge it.  Yes, it is "uncomfortable".  I would rather be out in the yard getting ready for warmer weather ahead.

But, I do know that this will pass...eventually.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Aromatherapy, Mindfulness, and Panic Attacks

Aromatherapy Mindfulness Reminder Necklace

One of the other things besides practicing Mindfulness techniques to help with my panic attacks has been essential oils.

The Mindfulness Reminder necklace above includes a lava bead, which because of its porous nature makes a wonderful diffuser for essential oils.

I was excited when I ran across this study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) on Mindfulness Meditation in combination with essential oils to help reduce anxiety.  It was brought to my attention by the Tisserand Institute.  Robert Tisserand is one of the leading experts on the study of essential oils and wellness.

Here is the link to the notice from the Tisserand Institute
and the study from the NCBI.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Inspired by the Little Bird Tracks

Mindfulness Reminder Necklace with Little Bird Tracks by CenterRings on Etsy

Yesterday was a snow day in Minnesota.  (Yes, many of us here were groaning a bit that is was April and we still had snow.)  At our house, we also had an abundance of little Juncos in and out and all around our bird feeder.  I just love the little prints they made in the snow--so much so that it was my inspiration for the pattern on these new hammered brass rings.

Slow down
Take a breath
Be in the Moment
Hold your thoughts and feelings as gently as you would a baby bird
Let them go
Just be

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Mindfulness Like Celadon Must Be Experienced to Be Understood

When creating a listing on Etsy, one of the things you do is add tags that describe your piece, such as  color, shape, usage, etc. so people can find it more easily in a search.  It is often difficult to decide what colors to use.  Do you just use the word "green" when it is really a lime green?  If someone is searching for a green necklace are they that specific?  Needless to say, the answers are quite illusive, and you just use words that seem to be the most direct.

Describing the color of the little green-blue bird on this necklace yesterday I had to stop and really think what words to use.  One issue is that describing color can be very personal.  What looks like blue to one person might look like purple to another.  It is actually quite difficult to find true colors.

Then the color "celadon" popped into my head. Yes, the little glass bird was celadon in color.  I typed it in with the other tags and posted the listing.  But I could not help wonder if what I thought the color celadon looked like was really the same color in the little bird charm, so I googled "celadon" in Google images.  Above is a picture of the necklace with what showed up in Google images, which confirmed I had found the right descriptive color.

It was interesting to read a bit more about celadon.  It is actually used most to describe a certain Asian glaze in pottery.  (I know the little bird charm is actually glass, but it is the same color as many of the celadon glazed.)

I was quite struck by this description I found for celadon green in Wikipedia:

These pots have blue-green glazes and are made in elegant shapes and were produced in kilns from all over China. Korean celadon pottery has been described by ancient Chinese artisans as having a quiet elegance whose color is "beyond description", in that it must be experienced to be understood, and its simplicity of form and style has been compared to the spirit of Zen Buddhism.[49]

I really like how they describe celadon as:
"having a quiet elegance whose color is beyond description"... "that must be experienced to be understood..."

That really is another description for mindfulness, and it is really not as illusive as it seems at first.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Giving Ourselves a Soft Place to Land

Colorful Textile Mindfulness Reminder Necklace

Yesterday, I tried something new and different adding a some color.  As I created this necklace, these are a few thoughts that streamed through my mind:
  • What does it mean to offer ourselves a soft place to land?
  • What does it mean to accept all our thoughts and feelings--the good, the bad, the easy, the hard, the right, the wrong?
  • Do we even need to label them or judge them?
  • By giving our thoughts and feelings a soft place to land, will they never go away?
  • Is giving our thoughts and feelings a soft place to land in a way a metaphor for acceptance?
  • We don't cling to them or shoo them away.  We just let them be there.
I wrapped the metal rings with embroidery floss to make this necklace.  It is much more colorful.  I notice that when I give myself to the present moment, I notice things I would not notice otherwise.  Sometimes, what I notice more is color--the different greens in a leaf, the pink of a blooming gerber daisy, or the turquoise of an ocean bay.  Yes, all these are a soft place to land.

May you all find your own soft place to land.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Mindfulness Reminder Necklace with Hand Stamped Ring


I had some fun stamping brass yesterday.  The brass circle is not a "perfect" circle, yet isn't that how our lives really are?  Today, I am embracing my wonky circle.  So many times beauty really is in the imperfect nature of things. 

May you hold yourself gently today--wonkiness and all.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Leaves on a Stream Mindfulness Reminder Necklace

Leaves on a Stream Mindfulness Reminder Necklace by CenterRings on Etsy

When I received these rings with holes in them in the mail the other day, I started playing around with different designs. After I looked at this leaf combination, I was reminded of a visualization practice my therapist taught me years ago. The idea is that visualize a stream with leaves floating by and place your thought or feeling on a leaf and watch is float away. 

There is quite a bit of information on this practice on the web.  This one from YouTube is one of my favorites.

As with so many of not all Mindfulness practices, the key is to practice.  It is always best to practice even at times when you are not necessarily stressed.  Frankly, I had sort of forgotten about the Mindfulness practice using leaves on a stream.  This necklace will be another reminder to practice observing my thoughts and feelings and just letting them go.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Little Blackbird Mindfulness Reminder Necklace

This song may or may not apply to the practice of Mindfulness, but it went through my mind when I was making this new necklace.  :)

Little Blackbird Mindfulness Reminder Necklace

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

CenterRings Little Etsy Shop is filling up!

CenterRings on Etsy

Slowly but surely,
I have been listing the Mindfulness Reminder Necklaces in my Etsy shop!
Come take a visit! 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Other Mindfulness Reminders on Etsy

The other day I ran across one of these leather bracelets with a ring on Etsy, and I thought how many things could be used as mindfulness reminders if that is our intent.

Etsy no longer has a Treasury, which allowed you to make picture boards of your favorites with direct links to the items.  But this is a screen shot of leather circle bracelets I put in my favorites.  I think I want one of these!

Here are the links to the Etsy shops for the bracelets above:

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Irish Celts and the Circle

I think I have always been drawn to the significance and symbolism of the circle shape.  There is more than one reason I have chosen that shape as a focal point for CenterRings mindfulness reminder necklaces.  To me, the circle is a symbol of acceptance and trust.

From the perspective of Celtic spirituality, I feel this quote sums up the significance of the circle well:

A Celtic Model of Ministry: The Reawakening of Community Spirituality

New CenterRings Mindfulness Reminder Necklace listed today.
 Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 16, 2018

What You Think Might Not Be the Truth

I ran across this article from Psychology Today that reminded me of a very profound statement my therapist said to me when I was first trying to figure out to cope with my panic attacks.  I was describing some of the thoughts that spun around in my head at high speed when I was having a panic attack.  She said to me, "What you think might not necessarily be the truth."  Well, that got my attention!  When I looked at my thoughts like that, it made me sound like some kind of ego maniac with all the answers.  Whoa!


Was that what I was doing with my thoughts?  Ya, I kinda was!  Granted, in the midst of a panic attack shutting down my thoughts seemed impossible to do.  In fact, I found that trying to get rid of anything just so I would not panic actually fueled the panic even more.  Still, realizing that I was believing what I was thinking was a significant turning point in my journey.

First Etsy Listing!

I started working on this idea of CenterRings over two years ago, and I finally made my first listing and opened my Etsy shop.  That may seem like no big deal to many of you, but I was reminded how much work goes into getting an item ready to sell.  If only I could just make these necklaces and they would magically be photographed, described in writing, priced, weighed, measured...  I went through all this before when I opened my Etsy shop prayer bedes (which I hope to get active again soon.  And I am telling myself that "soon" does not mean 2 years, like it did for the first post on this website!)

The pricing and shipping parts of selling my work are my least favorite.  In order to just get this off the ground, I decided to simply charge $18 and include complementary shipping in the US.

So, here it is--my first listing in my new Etsy CenterRings shop.  There will be more to come, today!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Mindfulness and the Woodpecker

I saw this video the other day on Facebook, but it was not until today that I really thought more about it.  It is quite an amazing thing to see--a woodpecker hanging on to the side of a car window while the driver drives through Chicago on his way to work.

We have many woodpeckers in our yard.  They can be very annoying.  We even have holes in our house to prove they have been there.  On more than one occasion I have stuck my head out the window to attempt to frighten them away as they hammer their little beaks into the siding of our house.  They are very bold, and sometimes just keep hammering away even when I am only three or four feet away trying to shoo them away.

Yet, they are quite a beautiful bird too.  I see the large pileated woodpeckers hammering away at the trees in our woods. The funny thing is that it is not the large woodpeckers that seem so bold and peck on the side of our house, but the smaller ones.

When I first watched this video, it was mesmerizing to see how long that little woodpecker hung on to the car's open window.  I thought the wind would cause him to fly away.  Then the bird decided to fly into the car.  That is where I became a little concerned.  I pictured the bird flying around, feathers flying, and pooping everywhere because it was so scared.  But no.  The bird just hopped around on the driver's shoulders and chest, seemingly without a care in the world.  That little woodpecker was not annoying but quite amazing.  It is also very sweet the way the driver responded to the situation. 

So back to today and recollecting that video.  I could not help but think about how much those woodpeckers are like my panic during a panic attack.   I have a good imagination, which when I am having a panic attack is not a good thing.  Maybe I can imagine those little woodpeckers next time I have a panic attack, or for that matter any annoying thoughts and feelings that arise.  How might I treat those feelings differently if I thought of them as woodpeckers?  What if I treated them like the driver treated the little woodpecker that rode with him through the streets of Chicago?

Here is that video of the woodpecker in the car window.  I found it on YouTube.  I bet this guy filming the event never thought it would be something that helped someone else deal with panic attacks.  I must insert a smiley face here.  :)