Hello friends, creatives, journal keepers, artists, and small business owners! This week I wanted to share with you a practice deep in my heart in conjunction with my spiritual practice, which includes singing with my tambourine, prayer, study, journaling, quiet, song writing. Of course, my spiritual practice didn't start out with all those components.
Early in my spiritual practice, it mostly pertained to study, writing my own devotionals, prayer. Then, about 5 years ago, I found Martha Beck's book, The JOY Diet, and the first "ingredient" on her menu was Quiet. Doing absolutely nothing for a minimum of 15 minutes. Now, in this fast paced society, being still and quiet for 15 felt like a feat for me. And that timing didn't stick when I first discovered it, but it was a seed planted...
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Then, in addition to study, journaling and prayer, about two years ago I began to delve into the possibility of music, specifically using the tambourine, with the idea of writing songs as a result of my study. To me, this practice has been meditative in and of itself. Those lyrics and using my tambourine have brought great JOY to my spiritual practice, heightening my experience and my connection with Spirit.
Since then, I have added time for Quiet, where I just sit in a chair or in my bed. I often focus on a word that has deep spiritual meaning for me, both visualizing and verbalizing for greater focus.
Often you hear, when it comes to meditation, to focus on the breath. Every time I've tried to do that, it is only a distraction for me, thus contributing to my struggle to stick with it. So, instead, I decided to use my senses, specifically Hearing, to tune in more deeply and to focus when I'm not using my focal word.
My Hearing sense is so helpful since I can focus on the sounds of what are nearby without necessarily thinking thoughts...like hearing the wind chime from the neighbors yard (with hopefully no complaining thoughts about the South winds blowing in allergens!), vehicle sounds driving by, rain falling, birds chirping, etc. (I choose not to do my Quiet when grandson is home due to noise making!)
When I first started keeping this Quiet practice, I determined to do the 15 minutes recommended. It truly slows things down. Being very deliberate about the restful quality of lack of activity is amazing, very much in contrast with always doing, which I can Always Be Doing!
Then during the month of January, I decided to take my Quiet up a notch and increase it to 30 minutes. Of course, this doesn't happen every day, just on those days when I have the time to actually donate to this practice, when all is completely quiet, which is most weekdays.
I noticed with the 30 minutes, it intensifies the experience. I hear more clearly, ideas are more succinct, the energy is more alive. More restful. More rejuvenating.
So, now I try to Start my Spiritual Practice with Quiet, then song, then prayer, journaling/study and poem/song writing and more singing. When I can get a full practice in, I feel deeply Connected with Spirit, with Truth, with JOY.
Recognizing what works for me based on my senses instead of the breath, along with writing, singing, studying and taking time to really Listen, makes my Meditation all the more impactful, more energizing, more clarifying, more faith building.
Listen to your heart and where it might lead you in your spiritual practice. Don't be afraid to try what works for you instead of trying to fit into a pre-conceived box that doesn't fit right.
Honor who you are in Spirit and see what opens up for you--in your heart. It's always listening.
Record previous meditative experiences in your spiritual practice. What worked for you and why? What didn't resonate? What did you start and quit? What did you start and stay with? What works for you now? Detail your journey, connecting with Spirit in a whole new way.
Art Journaling Prompt:
Using images that truly resonate with your spirit, create a spread to honor your Spiritual Practice showing all it entails.
Using the word, Spirit or Meditate, draw the word in colors that speak to your soul. Or Sketch an object that you keep in your spiritual practice that holds great meaning for you.
Copyright 2019 Dawn Herring
Copyright 2019 Images by Dawn Herring
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Dawn engages in many roles: As Writer/Blogger and Artist/Creative and Founder of Refresh with Dawn Herring: Where Art and JOY Align, She enjoys sharing from her vast experience as award-winning, life-long artist and leader in the field of written journaling, offering encouragement and proven tips to other journal keepers. Dawn's focus is on written journal keeping, artistic expression and finding your Creative Voice, and positive change that leads personal empowerment, encouraging you to leave your authentic and positive mark in the world. Dawn is a Commercial artist, hand letterer/illustrator and writer/blogger and enjoys sharing insights, humor, and encouragement as she shares from her life experiences as a woman, wife, mother of two grown daughters and as a Grandparent to a special needs grandson. She enjoys keeping a journal and reading spiritual texts to help keep the light on. May JOY Align with Your Creative Heart.
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