Rest Stop (Tuesday) … finding light & warmth in Winter

hope, peace, faith, joy, love, God, perspective, stress, anxiety
hope-in-focus (Credit: Natalie Swartzendruber)

The month of February approaches and I find myself in the midst of Winter, a time of darkness, cold, wind, snow, lack of flowers and leaves on trees. A time of the year many people dread. Yet all of this is perfectly fine with me since this time of the year does not depress me, quite the opposite!  The time from when Fall enters the scene through the bitter cold Winter months I am quite excited and content!  These are my seasons; times I relish in quite the same way others are fond of the warmer Summer months.

I am aware of my uniqueness in my excitement during this time of the year, just as I am aware that many people find Winter to be a depressing time.  Our journey has now taken us away from the holidays, relegated to our rear view mirrors; the cold and increased darkness coupled with the passing of the holidays, lead many along a journey they wish were different.  A journey, for some, lacking in warmth and light.

Yet for me, along the perspective of my journey, I find this time of the year as one full of warmth and light.  The warmth of family and friends, warmth of a fire, a blanket, flannel sheets, etc.  In the darkness of the season we light candles and we turn on more exterior and interior house lights than we do during the sunnier warmer seasons.  But this is my experience.  You may be reading this and thinking “how nice for him, but I am depressed and stressed.  It’s dark and cold, the holidays are over, taxes are due and Spring is nowhere in sight!”  If that is your journey, please read on.  And if you are on a journey similar to mine, read on as well, for I, too, feel stress and anxiety even during my favorite time of the year.

life, journey, rest, stress, anxiety, peace, zen, spirituality, religion, psychology, God, Jesus
zen dog (credit: unknown)

In an earlier blog post I introduced you to this picture of “zen dog”.  I am a fan of dogs, and I ask that you reflect upon this picture.  Those who read my writings know that I often write about the importance of centering ourselves and taking time each day to seek our inner peace. Recognizing how we are all so busy, I have often written about needing only 10 minutes (or less) a day to center ourselves.  I rarely can find the time to reflect or meditate for any length of time, so for me, the 10 minute rule of thumb has worked well.

I mention this because of a video I use in the college class I teach, a TED presentation by Andy Puddicombe entitled “All it takes is 10 mindful minutes”.  Really?!  Someone else believes in only taking 10 minutes too?  In the video Mr. Puddicombe challenges us to take 10 minutes a day to clear our minds.  Not, as he shares, to make our minds silent, rather, embracing the thoughts by stepping back from them.  I often talk about our need to shift our perspective, and this is essentially what he recommends; to spend quiet time stepping back and reflecting on our thoughts from different perspectives.  To change our perspective and perception to that of an observer and analyzer of my thoughts, not just me thinking or feeling my thoughts.

I try to do this on a daily basis, but of course am not always successful.  But I will testify that when I do stop and attempt to reflect, I find myself more at peace.  We are inundated all day long by information and stimuli; when do we process it all?  How about during your 10 minute “zen” moment?

Take a moment to watch this short video and meditate daily.  You will feel the difference! 

Share with us your thoughts about this “technique” and what you do to reflect and center yourself.

… continue the conversation …

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