What Brings You Joy: My Corona Workbook
with Tracey Rich
corona [ kuh-roh-nuh ] noun, ...light seen around a luminous body...
Twelve things to do to meditate and get you thru
Favorite pastimes and new rhythms have emerged during this shelter-in-place and have inspired inclusion in this newsletter. Here are some ideas to keep you engaged in your life in both lighthearted and meaningful ways. Enjoy, wash your hands, keep the peace, keep your immune strong and carry on.
My Corona Workbook:
- Collage: Sounds hokey, turns out to be fun and cultivates both the meditative and the waking dream state. Use a page in your journal or workbook, cardboard from package deliveries, shoe boxes, 5x8 poster board cards, or just go ahead and do your whole bathroom. Materials: use old letters, photos, fabric, magazines, junk mail. Create an ode to this time, a visual letter to someone loved, lost or missed, or some inexplicable piece of modern art.
- Create a new recipe: If you already like to cook this will be a positive challenge. If not, even better! Start now--as if necessity has not already dictated you try (because we're sure you're done having cereal for B-L-D). Follow your taste buds and use your imagination to create something you might be craving. Modify it to fit what you have on hand. Or copy a recipe from a book or online for something you already adore. If you're new to cooking, that's good enough. You're already a success. But if you are anything like me, you will always go rogue on a recipe and add your own twists. Whatever you make, write it up in your workbook, even if its a flop. There's always the next meal to triumph and convince your taste buds to trust you again.
- Daydream: Just do it. You're doing it anyway, but now be aware of it. It's good for your brain and a form of lucid dreaming or meditation. Write your observations in your workbook. Some of your most creative ideas come from this space.
- Doodle: Some of us do and some of us don't. Think of this as a moving mind-to hand meditation. It's much less stressful than trying to create a drawing when you don't consider that you have skill sets. And, in fact, its good for you. Doodling is a wonderful way to be mindless. This is actually stress reduction. Doodling lets your mind wander free and that becomes calming and creative.
- Dream-Dream: We all dream and we have come to learn how important it is to well being. Some people don't remember their dreams. If you're someone who doesn't usually remember their dreams, then before you go to sleep you can tell your mind that you want to remember your dreams and it will begin to respond. Keep a notepad by your bed and scribble things down if you wake in the night, ideally with no light and little movement. Definitely write down any dream or dream fragments, upon waking, in your workbook. The language you use in the flow of writing down your dreams can be extremely informative to reaping meaning and the results can be quite nourishing.
- Flavor Your Own Popcorn: Pop some corn. Coconut oil works great for popping because it can take high heat and also gives deep flavor to the popped corn. Now get exotic. Use the five tastes to create some popcorn profiles. There's sweet...think of using barley syrup and toasted seeds to make popcorn balls. Use dulse for a mineral packed salty direction. Nutritional yeast is always a great savory and some think "cheesy" flavor. There's classic popcorn or instead of butter use vegan butter or olive oil and add cayenne. You get the idea.
- Go to Ground: Grow a garden. Use whatever space you have, it matters not. Use indoor pots and window boxes for herbs or grow veggies outdoors. The process of growing something is nurturing and fascinating. It is also very grounding. If you live in the city, rooftops, yards, and sidewalk patches provide space. Check out local hero, Gangsta Gardner, Ron Finley (ronfinley.com). Also check out Alice Waters, The Edible Schoolyard Project (edibleschoolyard.org). Victory Gardens are back in. It's so 1930's!
- Intuitive Flow: Lay down your mat. Now have a seat. Inhale. Place your full attention on that first exhalation that retreats from your lungs. Truly feel and appreciate that initial, conscious out-breath. You're in the game. Just follow every breath from there on out and sense exactly what it inspires you to do. You're already in the flow. It's not what you think. Skip over those thought provoked moments and return to listening to your breath. Move when the breath moves you, and be still when nothing comes your way. Eyes open, eyes closed. Let this be a breath inspired experience. Sometimes this practice never leaves a seated or prone position. You will know when your flow has come to its fullness and resolution. Om Shanti.
- MYOM: Make your own mask. There are plenty of online tutorials when you're ready or need to venture out. They say that denim and other cottons are good materials to use. Sewing is another meditative practice and so is the origami of folding when using an old t-shirt for your mask and going raw edge or simply tying a bandana into your courteous, protective gear. Breath is life and we don't want to constrict during this time. It's a very surreal paradigm we are experiencing, but we are all in it, so let's take care of ourselves and one another. This virus is teaching us, clearly, that we all breathe the same air.
- Pranayama Challenge: I'm going to keep this simple. We need to breathe at all times, but now, attention to our breath is acutely important. We need to keep our lungs cleansed, toned and strengthened. Simple, slow, and increasingly long-count inhalations and exhalations are what we are recommending. Use Ujjayi pranayama, if you know it, or rhythmic nasal breathing if you do not. Pay attention to the natural hiatus that occurs at the top and bottom of each breath. If you choose to prolong those moments, feel free. If you choose to hold your breath in those spaces then just make sure your next inhalation or exhalation is taken with complete ease. It's pretty simple. The challenge is staying present, but then that's the best part too. Jai Ho. Simple Breath Meditation
- Tea Ceremony: Yes, we all drink tea, but why not make it special, ceremonial and a meditation. Heat your kettle. Choose your vessel. Pick your leaves-fresh or dried. Pour your water with patience. Steep. Choose your cup. Sip. Savor. Exhale. Day dream, doodle...
- Write a Poem or Haiku: Big fan of the medium to express the simplest thing. A flower, a feeling, a fleeting moment, poetry allows you to sculpt the experience or observation with just the precise words. Listen for your muse to call and when she does, don't ignore her. She will whisper in your ear as long as you heed her call. If not, she will move on to someone who is listening. If you go for brevity, remember a haiku is a three line poem, traditionally used to describe a season, but they can articulate anything of your choosing. Corona has certainly created a season of its own. The fun is staying within the structure of only three lines using five syllables in the first and third lines and seven syllables in the second. Send us your poem or haiku to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blessings and enjoy your workbook-- <3 Tracey