winter calm

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So winter is here, and despite the blue sky today, it was freezing… the air in the mountains has that chill to it that reminds you there’s snow in air, making it a little harder to get out the door for a walk. But I’m so pleased when I do, winter has her own prettiness and is worth the chilly bits. I do it for the peace I feel when walking in a beautiful garden, to breathe clean air, to be close to nature, and for my physical health.

I’m working on making the looking-after-self thing more of a priority lately, which means more walking and finding more time to meditate. Sometimes it’s just a little mind wander, or a slower pace in the frenzy of swirling thoughts, or a mountain of zen, or a quite moment, and occasionally it’s the real deal, a peaceful deep state of calm. But that takes a lot of time and constant practice and I really struggle with the time thing these days.

Then along comes Sash over at Inked in Colour with her post Tea to meditate to. It’s a simple way to bring a little calm mindfulness into the day, without a lot of time and preparation and made a lot of sense to me. I’m definitely going to try to incorporate this into one of the many times I make myself a cuppa during the day. Even if you don’t meditate, I reckon you could have a go at this and maybe benefit from it. I always feel better and more together when I’ve had some slow in my day and calm in my head. And it’s such a bonus that it only takes a few minutes! So on that note, I’m off to pop the kettle on and make myself some tea to meditate to.

May you find peace in your cuppa.

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being mount zen

Hello, how are you? Are you feeling a bit stressed, busy, overwhelmed? Well I’m heading to my mountain of Zen, wanna come?

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I remember back when I did Yoga a few years ago, our teacher talked us through this meditation at the end of class where you see a mountain, and then eventually during the meditation, you ‘become’ the mountain. Lately I’ve been finding it quite the challenge to meditate and cope with stress… and I really need to do the former in order to deal with the latter. So I’ve decided to bring back this meditation, tweak it a bit, do it often, and see if I can improve both my meditation and my stress coping ways.

I wrote a little ‘How to be Mount Zen Guide’ just in case you wanna try to be a mountain of zen too… no pressure though!

mount fuji

How to be Mount Zen Guide
Step 1
First imagine a mountain. It could be one you’ve visited, a real or imaginary one – it doesn’t matter really. Take a little walk up the mountain, it’s a nice easy walk up to the top. Find a comfy spot to sit and enjoy the view. Notice how calm and peaceful it is, feel yourself relaxing just being there. Take in the pretty vista all around for a while. If you drift off that’s fine – it happens all the time! Just go back to your comfy mountain top spot and soak up the peace. After a little while try to imagine that you and the mountain become one entity/thingy. What the mountain ‘feels’ and ‘sees’ is what you now feel and see.

Step 2
Notice the weather. Is it calm and still? Mild and overcast? Gentle? Wild? Warm? Windy? Rainy? Freezing? ‘See’ the weather happening around you and take note how it doesn’t really affect you. Your hair might get blown about, you might get a bit wet, as you feel the effects ever so gently on the surface, but that’s it – the weather doesn’t really alter you. The weather happens around you but it doesn’t disturb you.

Step 3
Now you want to relate the stressy crappy things to the weather. Let them blow around you, calmly or wildly. Notice them, but don’t breathe them into your being and let them become you. The sun rises and falls, the moon rises and falls, the mountain remains a mountain, untroubled by the passing of time and the weather. The weather/stress doesn’t have to disturb you. It can just be. It is what it is. You are a mountain and are way too strong, and stable, and unbreakable, and solid, and secure for the weather/stress to bother you. You’ve been around for eons and the stress is just a drop of rain.

When you’ve had enough, walk back down the mountain and get on with your day! Take with you the calm feeling of being all zenned out on top of your mountain, this is the feeling you want to call upon during heat-of-the-moment-stressypants-attacks. Remembering that you are the mountain and the stress is the weather happening around you, not inside you.

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I know meditating and coping with stress is hard, and this isn’t a magic fix-all-pill. But if it can help us separate ourselves from the stress (instead of our heads spinning in the whirling winds of stress – or at least mine does!), then I reckon it’s worth a visit. I’ve been doing it for a little while now, and I’ve totally said to myself during stressy moments, ‘hey I’m Mount Zen and I’m not taking that shit in!’ … Feel free to use this line whenever you need to!

So, would you like to visit Mount Zen? Do you think you could remember Mount Zen feelings in times of stress? What do you do to cope with stress? Have you any tips or tricks up your sleeve to cope with trying times? Let me know if you do ok?

Wishing you calm weather and sunshiney visits to Mount Zen.

ps. First image is of Mount Maunganui, New Zealand. Second image is of Mount Fuji, taken by my daughter. Third image is of the mountains of Chinchero, Peru.