Zentangle

I told a story recently about yoga experience that involved a guided meditation. Quick summary: it involved talking to my baby boy, Liam, who passed away in 2005, and some crying. It was, very simply, a healing experience.

zentangle
What I also mentioned back in that post, somewhat shamefully, is that I watch Grey’s Anatomy. But more importantly it’s that I cry—a lot—while watching Grey’s Anatomy. Over the last couple-few weeks it’s come into my awareness that maybe I count on this show to do this thing for me. Maybe. This is what’s really interesting, though, ever since my guided-meditation-yoga-experience (that’s a bunch of episodes) I haven’t cried during the show.

And this most recent episode, well shoot, was super extra sad. Like the kind of sad I can count on for tears dripping off my chin; probably some stuttered breathing. You know? But there wasn’t any of that. Instead I found myself aware of the sadness and curious about my lack response. I didn’t have anything to release. But I was looking for it, almost like I have been counting on this show to take care of me in this way; to get that energy out.

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Even now I catch myself looking down at my chest…I don’t know; looking for the hole? In the months after Liam died I always had this image in my head that my insides had been scraped out, like a pumpkin. Gutted. In watching this last show I realized the pain and sadness were not there. That they were (is it possible?) a little more healed.

You know that place in your body that you feel, quite physically, when someone says something that hurts you? Mine is in my heart center, right in the chest. The right combination of words and BOOM, it can knock me back and take my breath away. That’s my pain body. And if you know what I’m talking about, that’s your pain body. This is what I’m talking about. My pain body didn’t respond. It wasn’t painful.

Cool, huh.

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I don’t think that the pain is completely gone. We’re human. We’re cyclical creatures that experience things over and over again. I imagine I’ll do this again (and again), but with each turn it will get easier. It’s also worth noting that there is a great joy in this healing. I love figuring this stuff out.

With that, I give you:::Zentangle. Like zen and tangle combined into one word. I think of it as a kind of meditative doodle. It’s a structured way of drawing that promotes a zen-like state of being. You can draw something abstract or realistic, it doesn’t matter, and you fill each little open cavity with tangles (that’s zentangle lingo for patterns). Try it. It’s addictive and it feels good and it opens you up to new awareness.

Zentangle
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Ingredients
  1. Paper
  2. Pen
Instructions
  1. Draw a gentle, flowing scribble.
  2. Fill each space with patterns or tangles.
  3. Focus your awareness, your body, your breath, on each stroke of the pen.
  4. Step back and admire. Often.
Notes
  1. Please go to zentangle.com to get more ideas and inspiration.
Melissa Fannin http://melissafannin.com/

Simple Breath Awareness Technique

This kid.

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Lately, in response to this kid acting in very age-appropriate ways, I have found myself dictating open letters to him in my head. For example:

To the free-loading two year old living in my house:
I found the butter knife in the litter box.
(
…)
Gross, dude. So, so gross. The level of grossness is so great that I think I have to go ahead and throw the knife away.
(
…)
Stay out of the litter box, for the love.

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Awareness: All in a Weekend

Part One: Liam

Liam’s been on my mind a lot. I’m really aware of the ten year reunion of his life and really aware that it only lasts for nine months. And this awareness feels important. I’ve put out an intention to check whatever this is out; to be open to…anything.

Part Two: PTSD

On Friday I went to a training for an intervention (SBIRT) and at the very end we touched on PTSD. I was reminded that sometimes people who have been diagnosed with PTSD do not remember the trauma. Or if they do remember it, they don’t perceive it as such. It’s a coping mechanism, right, and it helps people—us—to get on with our lives. So, not remembering and/or not identifying with a trauma—that’s in my head all weekend.
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Campaign to Change Direction

La Crosse is in a very unique position to be the first community in the nation to officially launch the Campaign to Change Direction. It was officially launched in Washington just over two weeks ago and this past Monday night I was fortunate to be at the La Crosse launch at the Weber Center. Take a listen to Michelle Obama:

How do you Change Direction? Know the five signs: Personality Change, Agitation, Withdrawal, Poor Self Care, Hopelessness. What next? If you notice that someone is showing one or more of these signs all you have to do is reach out. Ask them how they are doing. Let them know you care. The intention is to stop ignoring mental illness and to start acknowledging that most every single person is touched by it in some way.

Learn more at www.changedirection.org

Spring

Welcome Spring!
Spring mandala. Don’t think, just do. Paper, circle, paint/color/draw:

spring
I like to think of spring as our reward after the long, cold winter. It’s my favorite season. I love the geese, the first cardinal, hanging clothes on the line, hands in the dirt, crocus shoots.

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Speaking of hands in the dirt. Do you garden?
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