Find a sacred, quiet place where you can listen to this guided meditation. It's approximately 24 minutes long and set up in three parts. You can choose to pause at any point (will be clear when listening) or listen to the whole thing, trusting your body, mind, and heart to know what feels most nourishing.
Have a journal/paper, pen/pencil (or laptop), and art supplies nearby, in case you want to dive into the reflective journaling, artistic expression right after the meditation. You may also choose to wait, taking any necessary breaks between the meditation and writing/art.
-Timed writing. Set a timer for a certain length of time (20-30minutes). Try and write for the full length of time. Keep the pen moving on paper like a skater on ice. This will encourage you to keep exploring, even when you feel stuck. That being said, sometimes the kindest thing is to stop writing if you are feeling overwhelmed by something or feel as if your exploration is complete before time is up. Writing continuously helps to bypass the left, logical, linear mind and the inner critic to access our creative, intuitive side.
-Nothing will be graded. Let go of grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. Give yourself the permission and space to write in a manner that supports your exploration. If it’s helpful, imagine you are having a conversation with a kind and supportive friend. Feel free to say whatever you want to say. You may even choose to write in your native language.
-If you get stuck, you can always write ideas down like a grocery list. They don’t have to be complete sentences. You can also rewrite part of the poem or writing reflection question that stands out to you and see where it takes you.
-Trust yourself. If you’d like to write about something other than the writing prompt, feel free to do so. This is your time to explore in a manner that will best serve you.
THE BIRDS OUTSIDE MY WINDOW SING DURING A PANDEMIC
by Lee Herrick (deep bows of gratitude for permission to use this poem)
What we need has always been inside of us.
For some—a few poets or farmers, perhaps--
it’s always near the surface. Others, it’s buried.
It was in our original design, though—pre-machine,
pre-border, pre-pandemic. I imagine it like the light
one might feel through the body before dying,
a warm calm, a slow breath, a sweet rush.
There is, by every measure, reason for fear,
concern, a concert in the balcony of anxiety
made of what has also always been inside of us:
a kind of knowing that everything could break.
But it hasn’t quite yet and probably won’t.
What I mean to say is, I had a day dream
and got lost inside of it. There were dozens
of birds for some reason, who sounded like
they were singing in different accents:
shelter in place, shelter in place.
You’re made of stars and grace.
Stars and grace. Stars—and grace.
Have you felt a sense of belonging near the surface or buried for you? Though it was in our original design, which do you identify with more? A concert in the balcony of anxiety, knowing that everything could break, or dozens of birds who sound like they are singing, Shelter in place, shelter in place. You’re made of stars and grace?
(Have you felt a sense of belonging or separation? Who/what has influenced this sense of belonging or separation?)
(deep bows of gratitude for permission to use this artwork)
How does Greta Dietrich’s artwork inspire heart connection? How would heart connection, a sense of belonging look like for you?
Dyads: If you decide to share this experience with someone who has also taken the self retreat as above, set up a day/time when you can safely, virtually connect. Decide who will share first, while the other simply listens. (You can choose to set a timer for sharing 10 minutes each, or keep this more spontaneous. Each person should be given the same respect of time.) The one sharing can read what was written, share the process in his/her/their own words, or a combination of both. If you would like to share part or the mediation experience or art process, this is also welcome. The listener listens with his/her/their whole body, mind, and heart without the need to say or do anything else. After the speaker is done, the listener thanks the speaker for the vulnerability it took to share. Then roles are reversed. After both parties have the chance to share, the dyad may choose to move to an open dialogue about the process, or not.
May this offering be of service. I'd love to hear how it goes for you. Donations accepted to support the Southwest Indian Foundation (Navajo Nation).