Prayer Chaplain Thoughts January-February 2017

Wed, 02/15/2017 - 12:12pm -- Toni

The following is an excerpt from an article by Joseph Cardillo, Phd, in a 2013 article for Psychology Today. It will help us see the beauty and wonder of winter.

“Getting more in touch with nature can help us find our deeper stillness, especially during the winter season. Within this quietude, we can fulfill our need for a deeper sense of calm. It is this kind of cooling and calming energy as exemplified by the winter season that facilitates the generation of new, creative directions in our lives – big or small. For this reason, it is good to take some time each day to get out and be still with nature.

Use winter’s coolness to shut off your thoughts and send your attention into the present. Then, keep it there. Fill your focus with wintery images that have a positive effect on you. Tell yourself that your job is to fill up with good, positivity to replace where other elements of your day may have left you feeling drained. Use images/places you already know have this restorative effect on you or look for new ones.

As soon as you begin to feel your mind clearing and “re-charging,” slow and measure your breathing – counting 1–4 on your in-breaths and the same when you exhale. Take a slow look around at the wintery landscape. It is okay to substitute pictures and/or recorded sounds and the power of your imagination if you wish.

Focus on the natural stillness of things – e.g. the pocket of white light filling what appear to be random spaces carved out of snow, there one minute, gone the next; the stripes of blue-gray light that dip across an open field; perhaps the low gurgle of moving water. Let your images float across your mind. Observe them. Do not disturb them. Just objectively watch them. Look closely and with patience at any one object. As you view your chosen object, try to see subtle changes that occur with it from one moment to the next. This takes patience, but you will see – though don’t become obsessed as you will notice naturally. Perhaps the one brown leaf that moments ago was still as a brush stroke on a painting suddenly stirs – then others, then all seems still again – but not really. All is in constant flux, just slowly, slowly evolving, flowing into the next moment. Observe this characteristic of acceptance and flow in nature. Feel the peace of the movement. Let it guide you toward the same characteristics in you.”

I hope these thoughts lead you to a new appreciation of this renewal
season. Namaste!

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