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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

february muse for tranquil space

"creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun." - mary lou cook

happy, happy february. i hope 2010 is off to a fabulous start for you and that your january resolutions have now become habits. or at least a few of them. or maybe even one!

choosing a favorite topic to muse upon is always a tough decision. i'm blessed with multiple passions (one may say too many) and an ongoing desire to sprinkle inspiration. i write regularly on my blog, tranquility du jour, along with other talented guest bloggers so focusing for my month tranquil space muse is like reigning in a wild horse.

here goes, i've decided to narrow it down to my two focused passions for 2010: creativity and spirituality. creative expression fuels my spirit. i rewarded myself for the completion of the tranquilista manuscript by signing up for a creativity retreat. i played with acrylic paint, stamped goals, cut and tore images, and designed a visual journal. the experience was magical and it was insightful to see how yoga, of course, played a part.

my week was about svadyaya - self-study and reflection. this came up through pulling images that spoke to me (lots of gardening - looks like i'll be busily planting this spring), writing my intentions, and listing the varied to-dos i handle regularly. all this provided insight. i also practiced aparigraha - non-coveting. surrounded by an actress from hollywood, veteran painters, and a few newbies such as myself, i did my best to avoid comparing or wishing i had the talent others did. although i did proclaim loudly on the second day, "my journal doesn't look like emily's!" then i remembered my yoga and focused on uncovering my own style instead of comparing. that was santosha - contentment. i was able to find my way, gain inspiration from the veterans, and cultivate a way of working that resonated with my spirit. ahimsa - non-harmng, also reared its head as we were encouraged not to comment on other's work and to be mindful of what you say to yourself. your first work probably won't be worthing of publication or an art show, but at least you are trying. be gentle. finally, tapas - discipline - played in. i did my best to stay offline during the 10am - 9pm creative play time. i napped or recharged in the hammock during lunch, wrote in my journal about the process, and mingled with the other creative souls on this journey. staying offline 24/7 and staying present was a challenge and the practicing tapas defininitely worked.

these concepts are a sprinkling of the ten yamas and niyamas that make up the foundation of yoga. explore a few for yourself and note how beautifully the practice of yoga translates off the mat, even into your creative play. the bottom three photos are samples of my creations during the retreat. for a recap of my takeaways and fun ideas for your colorful expression, click here.

finally, i have spent a lot of time this past month basking in spirituality diving deeper into my study of mindfulness. the art of being fully present in the situation. the top photo is a shot i took while sitting in meditation. as i showed up each morning to a workshop on mindfulness yoga at kripalu, i pulled out my fuzzy pink socks to help keep my feet warm during the lecture and practice. this past weekend i was able to sit with sharon salzberg and mark epstein as part of catholic's social work program's offering of spirituality. i'm finding that i can't get enough of this topic.

how best to infuse mindfulness into your everyday? be fully present when interacting with a colleague. chew your food slowly. take three deep breaths before answering the phone. soak in the tub. sip your tea. read inspiring texts. tune into this podcast with mindfulness meditation teacher gina sager.

may this connection to creativity and mindfulness offer you a glimpse into tranquility on and off the yoga mat and meditation cushion. thank you for supporting our love of all things tranquil. namaste.

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