Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Sanctuary without an Altar

I have been inviting friends to contribute to this blog by writing about their personal altars and have found there are a number of people who, like me, don't have one specific place designated to display their sacred treasures. But instead, have several places around their living space both inside and outside where they have placed a statue, found items, or sacred gifts. For many of us who live alone, all of our home is a sanctuary of sorts.

My personal meditative art pieces aren't intrusive to anyone's space, nor are they vulnerable to the tiny hands of curious children. They are just there because I want them there, no explanation is needed. For example, I have Ganesh, Kwan Yin, and a candle on my dresser in the bedroom where I like to do yoga. Whatever support is needed at the time - a reminder to have compassion for myself or others, or a reminder that we can overcome all kinds of obstacles, that particular statue comes forward with a votive candle to become the focal point during that meditation.

I invite you readers to write, and send photos if you like, describing your meditative spaces or altars. You can send them via email to nancy@creatingquietspaces.com and I will post them on the blog.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Personal Altar

It started with one. Got the right height for a meditation cushion to slide nicely under, got the seven offering bowls, the singing bowl, the whole shebang. Eventually needed a second one in my work space - to make the vibe right in there. Then found myself needing an auxiliary altar in my walk-in closet, for those mornings when hubby was still sleeping and I was all fired up to meditate. I think it was that one that necessitated the traveling altar, for, you know, traveling. I'm not sure where it will end. I'm not sure I want to know. You can't have too much of a good thing.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sanctuary Spaces

A couple of people have asked me to describe what is meant by the terms "quiet spaces" and "sanctuary". I hesitate to do that given that we all have our own personal take on it. In fact, numerous books have been written on the subject, a few of them listed in the "Recommended Books" section the of www.creatingquietspaces.com website.

But for the sake of an example, I'll describe the space immediately around me at this moment. From my dining room table where my laptop is temporarily located, I'm observing a couple of areas that have become home for various found objects. The windowsill next to where I'm sitting has four little shells of unrecalled origin. Straight ahead of me is a desk with a few more little items on top including a small "Tara" statue purchased in a street market in Vietnam that reminds me of a funny story each time I look at it, a couple of pocket stones with inspirational words, and two small personal gifts handcrafted by friends. The items don't go together in any organized way but each of them has a story.

Many of us have a space where we put shells from a beach trip, special stones that we pocketed while on a hike, a picture of someone or something special, or some other little personal treasure. It doesn't matter where the "space" is, but for some reason we have made that for reminders of good feelings, relaxation and pleasure.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Humor Can Save Us!

Starting a new business is a challenge in so many ways. The ups, the downs, the new things to learn, particularly the technical stuff, the sometimes delicate interpersonal communications, the need to be "out there" promoting the business, products and services, and still taking the time to relax and play. Laughter seems to help release tension, doesn't matter if the joke is about myself, current circumstances, or hearing something funny on the radio... it just feels good to have a laugh. When I was a therapist I studied some styles of therapy that encouraged "release" through laughter and sobbing. They both seem to help me personally, though laughing hard feels so much lighter during the process. It gets back to the body, being fully present, and taking care of ourselves. Peace, Peace, Peace.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Body Never Lies

For a week I was really doubting myself and experiencing higher anxiety than usual, all around business stuff. Wednesday morning went to yoga class, no more than got there, put my tense body flat on the mat, closed my eyes - and got it! I was in a business relationship that wasn't working and I needed to end it. It wasn't that "they" were wrong and I was right, it was just not a good fit. Since the relationship was only a week old with no contract at that point, it was easy to say what I needed with no bad energy coming from either party. The other party was in the same place, I suspect. What a huge relief! My anxiety immediately deflated and I have slept well two nights in a row. When will I ever get it? When my anxiety is off the map, something is not working and I have to fix it. Back on track now, moving forward on the path of my heart.

Anyone have any of their own insights that helped you find peace?


Monday, October 13, 2008

Good Advice

Yesterday was one of those days that "everything" went wrong technically while I was trying to get out an announcement of two upcoming trunk shows. First, I somehow deleted 30 names off my personal mailing list. Darn...that was work to get that back together, fortunately, I had printed out the list the day before. Just before hitting the SEND button, I made a modification to the signature with the link to my website by capitalizing the first letter of each word, thought it looked better... Finally, after copying it from my other computer, without my awareness, it changed the line formatting squishing it all into one paragraph only to be observed on my blind copy. As soon as the email went out almost simultaneously I received an email back from one of the artists that the link wouldn't work... Wringing my hands, I sent her an email thanking her but not sure what to do. She shot back an email with just one word - "Breathe". I did and felt much better. Thank you Ruth!

Please share what you do to take care of yourself.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Walk the Talk

My radio is off this morning after about a half hour of bad news. It gets unhealthy for me to listen to that too much. Skimmed the newspaper without reading the headline stories about the dangerous economic situation. Moved right into the food section...

Starting a new business is both challenging and exciting at the same time. Something came up yesterday that could have rocked my boat and very honestly it did, but it just rocked, it didn't take on any water... Anyway, my challenge is to stay positive, and think of a new challenge as an opportunity for creative problem solving rather than to view it as serious obstacle. I don't have to go into crisis mode. I've always thought of myself as a creative problem solver and here is yet another opportunity to approach things with complete attention and an open mind. I decided that I will need to find people to work with me that also believe in creative solutions and don't have a dark view. For some time I've been working on visualizing what I want in my life and that will continue to be my motto today and tomorrow and so on. Just take a deep breath and trust that I will know what to do next.

Time to do a little yoga and meditation with my lovely friend Kwan Yin, the lady Buddha.