These times have a been a whirlwind of emotion for everyone. I know I should just be speaking for myself, but after talking with family and friends, our wedding couples, and many other clients, I don't feel like I am out on a limb with this statement. Bob and I are navigating our schedule for the year. Typically we participate in our first craft show of the year in June. We just found out that it has been moved to September. Typically, we book about half of our weddings from the previous year through February, and fill in the rest of our wedding schedule from March through June. That is definitely not happening. We feel so fortunate to have some wonderful weddings on our schedule and to be able to work closely with all of our couples during a stressful time.
It is clear that I have no control over any outside circumstances-something that I have learned as the years have passed! It's become necessary to really take a look at the few things that are within my jurisdiction (or within my hula hoop as some friends like to say), and really focus on those instead. How can I do this? I have found some help from a couple of wonderful women, who I would love to share with you now!
Mindfulness and Meditation
One of the first people I met in 2005 when I moved here to New Hampshire was my good friend, Liz. At the time, Liz was working an office job but was hoping to do something else. She had a background in theatre and is a wonderful writer. We have attended several of her theatrical productions (she directs and acts too!)
Photo credit: Liam Crotty Photography
Liz started laying the foundation for her new career. She had always practiced meditation and mindfulness, and now she was taking it to a new level. Liz became certified as a mindfulness teacher in 2015. Currently Liz teaches mindfulness classes at the college level, to individuals, and in a workshop setting.
The idea of meditation always intimidated me. Liz and I talked about it though, and I will always remember what she said to me. She said to approach meditation like it was skiing. If I was new to skiing, would I go to the double black diamond trail first? Of course not. The place to start out is on the bunny trail. Start slowly with a simple meditation. 5 minutes of just sitting still in a chair and being mindful of my body sitting there and trying to tune out the distractions around me.
Liz offers some great classes and currently there are some groups on Zoom for people to try. The guided meditations are so helpful. I encourage you to sign up for Liz's email list. The last email I received had a wonderful, guided check in meditation. Please give yourself 15 minutes to try it!
As an aside, Liz performed out wedding ceremony! She did a wonderful job writing our vows and inserted humor into them because she knew us so well.
If you are free this Monday, April 27th from 4-5pm, Liz will be co-hosting a Creative Mornings Field Trip! It's called "Be Fiercely Human" and it's all about Mindfulness and Improv. I just signed up and there are still seats available! Sign up now and I'll see you there!
Mindfulness and meditation looks different for everyone. For me, working on a painting project that I have been wanting to do is meditative. I can spend hours with my paints and paper in my office. Often I enjoy working in silence because it is more calming to me. But don't get me wrong, I love to turn up the 80's classics too! Bob practices mindfulness on a regular basis. One of my favorite examples is when he washes the dishes, he treats the dishes with such care as though he is "washing the baby buddah". I'm working on that! Ha! My dishes are always rushed.
Whether you already have a meditation practice or not, Liz has great ideas for getting started. I hope you will take some time to explore her website.
Yoga with Adriene
A couple of years ago, I was looking into finding some good yoga videos on line. This is when I discovered Yoga with Adriene on You Tube. Her videos are fabulous and you don't need to be an athlete to do them!
She has a video for anything you can imagine. My latest favorites are the following:
Her sense of humor and positive attitude are so enjoyable! And Benji is always fun to watch when he's included. The thing I love most is that the videos are all different lengths (as short as 10 minutes to over an hour if you are feeling ambitious.) and I always feel great after completing the sequence. I can't recommend Adriene's videos enough. This yogi with personality also has a website: Yoga with Adriene.
Morning coffee and short readings
This routine is just part of daily life now. Bob and I have a few meditation books we like to read together in the morning. It's a nice, quiet way to start off our day. Over the years, our book selection has grown and changed. Sometimes we just take turns reading and other times we find something to hang on to and discuss. My current favorite is a meditation book that Bob gave me for Christmas last year. It's called Believing in Myself by Earnie Larsen and Carol Hegarty. It's full of great reminders about staying positive and being good to myself.
This week some of our readings seemed to have the theme of overcoming fear. How appropriate. It's easy to get wrapped up in "what happens now?" when I watch the news. But if I can keep things in the day or even just in the moment, it's much more manageable. Always remembering to stay grateful for my life and what is happening right now. Some days, it has really felt good to slow down and not be in such a fast paced whirlwind with "the schedule".
There is another lovely book that I would like to recommend. Bob and I were given this book by some beloved family members last year after a family tragedy. It has been truly uplifting to read. It's called The Power of Kindness by Piero Ferrucci. I know I will read it many times again.
We have been in the good habit of going out for a daily walk for fresh air! We live close to the post office, so often if we have anything to mail out, we incorporate the post office run with our walk. It sounds so simple, but I really look forward to this time every day. Ordinarily because of our busy schedule, it's harder to make the time to do this. I'm so deadline oriented and when I am in the zone, I don't like to get distracted. But making this walk a habit has been helpful. We have been watching the trees starting to bud a little more every day and it is finally warming up a bit!
However you find serenity is personal. For me, getting out of the multi-tasking mindset and reminding myself to slow down has truly been a great help. It is much more efficient for me to concentrate on one thing at a time. Whether that is doing a new painting for a wedding invitation, or washing the dishes! Not waiting for "the next thing" and staying mindful of the moment always brings me more peace.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend!