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Meditations in my Zen Garden

It is impossible to put into words what I have experienced in the past 3 weeks during my mini-sabbatical and mindfulness retreat. In fact, as my teacher says we should not talk about that which can only be experienced. I share this journal with you for this reason: to show how easy it is to increase mindfulness into daily life. I begin each morning with an affirmation and end each day with gratitude. This practice takes less than 5 minutes, and the effects are immeasurable. Every small step we take to add mindfulness and concentration increases our insight. May we not be so busy that we forget to be mindful.

Day 1: “How can I increase mindfulness in my life and receive the most of my mini-sabbatical?”
• Silence ~ “I am serene, no matter what is occurring around me.”
• Voyage ~ “I am safe and loved no matter where I am!”
• Adventure ~ “Wonderful new experiences fill my life.”
How wonderful is this? A voyage in silence to discover adventure in my life. This sounds like a perfect affirmation for a Mind Body Retreat in Estes Park, Colorado. If ever I felt one with my spirit, it is today.
I am thankful for our safe travels, my children napping together, making it all the way to Colorado with no movies, smiling as my children name the cows in the field, watching the storm roll in, the sound of the rain hitting the roof, and good friends to travel with.

Day 2:
Transformation: “I am joyously centered and safe as wonderful changes occur around me.”
• May all my old beliefs be replaced with new energy and pathways.
• May I see the world with a fresh, new view.
I am thankful for cool, crisp mornings to enjoy coffee and writing and cool evenings to enjoy a bonfire and s’mores, healthy food to nurture our bodies and spirits, an incredibly supportive husband.

Day 3:
Fulfillment: “Joy abounds in all areas of my life.”
• May I let go of perfectionist qualities that keep me from my deepest contentment in life.
• May I let go of self-criticism that keeps me from my deepest fulfillment in life.
• From an attitude of joy, my desires will be fulfilled.
I am thankful for my safety on awesome breath-taking bike ride, the tender heart of my older daughter, the easy-going spirit of my son, and the spunk and intuition of my younger daughter.

Day 4:
Light: “My light radiates through my life and the world around me.”
• My essence is radiant light.
• Clear the clutter – physical, emotional, and mental junk – to create space for my light to shine brighter.
I am thankful for the early morning to share coffee and love with my hubby, biking with Meghan and Emily, hearing jokes from the mind of a 4 year old.

Day 5:
Leadership: “I am a beacon of radiance, support, and love!”
• Blaze a new trail for others to follow.
• I am a stepping stone for others to use to make their journeys easier.
I am thankful for the sunrise drive through the national park, the innocence and beauty of an elk herd lying in the pasture, our guide and safety on the river rafting adventure, the inhibited fun and laughter of my children, the challenge and courage my children give me to jump off the 25 foot cliff.

Day 6:
Simplicity: “Deep, profound serenity is expanding in my life!”
• Do what matters; Release the rest.
• Rest and rejuvenate.
• Eliminate static and chaos.
I am thankful for my early morning hike with my kiddos, watching my children play on the rocks while Steve fishes, the beauty of the rain clouds coming in over the mountains.

Day 7:
Surrender: “All is well. I surrender to my inner guidance.”
• Let go of the need to be in control.
• The stress of expectations.
• The tension of wanting others to act in a particular way.
I am thankful for all the situations today that allowed me the opportunity to surrender (I hope to master it soon, so I can’t stop practicing!), a husband that is handy and techie, old-fashion ice cream parlors, and reading with my children.

Day 8:
Action: “I step into my glorious future with determination and power.”
• Face my fear and do it anyway!
• Listen from your heart and forge forward with certainty and power.
I am thankful for a supportive and loving husband, a family business that affords us vacations opportunities, sweet hugs and kisses goodbye from my son, the nice man who carried my bags, daughters who are best friends, a phone call from my mom, and the beauty of a full moon peeking through the clouds.

Day 9:
Miracles: “My life is a miracle.”
• Miracles happen every day.
• As I become aware of the ordinary miracles, I accept them in abundance into my life.
• I am allowing and accepting of miracles in my life.
I am thankful for the day in the city – laughing and exploring – with my girls, for hubby and son’s safe return home, for friendly waitresses and bus drivers.

Day 10:
Purification: “My energy field is being cleansed of all that I do not need!”
• Let go of the old and unused.
• Eat lightly.
• Drink lots of water.
• To see my world more clearly and hear my soul speak.
I am thankful for yoga in the morning, a 3-hour art project in plein air Colorado, holding hands with my girls, children who love to read and love me to read to them.

Day 11:
Sanctuary: “I am divinely guided gently and lovingly.”
• Go within and find inner refuge.
• Be a safe haven for others.
• Grace, deliberation, & thoughtfulness.
I am thankful for the grace of the hummingbirds, orienteering, laughing and singing with my girls, sweet text messages from my husband.

Day 12:
Grace: “I graciously accept the infinite love of the universe.”
• Offer understanding to myself.
• Honor the reality of others.
I am thankful for the horses, the vastness of the mountains, beavers, all the squirrels and birds, and the presence of mind with my girls to notice and appreciate.

Day 13:
Playfulness: “My joy is the greatest gift that I give to others!”
• Allow my inner child to play.
• Have fun today!
I am thankful for an early morning run to Bible Point, the entire day in nature, seeing the majesty of two rivers meet, watching the beauty in bird banding, reading under the shade of a tree, the absence of all stress and to-dos, painting and making friendship bracelets with my girls, hot showers and massages.

Day 14:
Believe: “Today is magical!  Be present for it.”
• Believe in magic and miracles.
I am thankful for the abrupt changes in weather and the reminder of the uncertainties in life and for getting off the bus in the wrong place and being able to navigate safely.

Day 15:
Love: “I am wonderful! I receive and give love today and always.”
• Love flows through me.
• My life’s experiences are part of my spiritual evolution.
I am thankful for a hike with my daughters and listening in awe as they point out the wonders around us by name (Indian Paint Brush, Sage, Gum Weed, Aspen, Blue Spruce, etc.),the opportunity to attend a Mindfulness Retreat with my daughters and all the kindness and love surrounding us.

Day 16:
Beauty: “I am deeply and profoundly beautiful.”
• The more I see the beauty of my environment, the more it will fill my life in all forms.
I am thankful for a life of plenty – a good night’s sleep, my health, and love to share, the open and tender heart of Emily and the uninhabited spirit of Anna, deliciously healthy food and the kind people who have creatively made and presented it.

Day 17:
Essence: “In my essence, I am joy.”
• Simplify and contemplate in the Zen garden of my mind.
• Discover stillness in the center of the storm.
• Do what’s important; let go of the rest.
I am the thankful for the security and confidence my children have in me.

Day 18:
Impeccability: “I am impeccable in my thought, word, and deed!”
• Discipline, focus, truthfulness, certitude.
I am thankful for the time to practice Nobel Silence and mindful eating, and all the non-me elements that make me.

Day 19:
Embracing: “I embrace and love all of my life.”
• The path to wholeness is accepting all parts of myself.
I am thankful for my supportive husband who is running the single-dad show like a trooper, my sister-in-law for watching my son today, and all the many people who have made this retreat possible for me.

Day 20:
Flow: “The glory of the universe flows through me!”
• I am in flow with the great river of life, not pushing to run faster or swimming against it.
I am thankful for safe travels, the nice airport agents who made traveling with children easy, the reunion with my husband and son.

Day 21:
Freedom: “Boundless freedom surges through me.”
• Freedom is the foundation of happiness.
I am thankful for a mindful day and date night.

The nature photographs are courtesy of Emily, my 8 year old daughter.  She is my spiritual teacher – she is not too busy to miss the beauty around her and has reverence for all living things.  May I learn to see the world as she does and not rob her of her mindfulness.

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