The permission to relax and be still is a step in my own Self Care process that is really difficult for me. Turning off, even after a 14 hour workday, evokes guilt and anxiety about what was left undone. I have been blessed with a busy brain but distracting it while I seek rest and “being” is tricky. Through years of meditation, I have found that music and mantras are helpful. I can point my brain at the music or mantra and the rest of me BREATHES. As my breath infuses me and the music or mantra begins to dance within me, I can let the distracted thoughts, the busy thoughts become part of the current of my meditation. I do not have to do anything other than to acknowledge that those are “busy thoughts” and allow them to go about their business.
As I was meditating this weekend, I needed something gentle and uplifting to listen to and on these occasions I turn to the intensely soul-soothing music of Diane Arkenstone. She is a bright light in the Universe and her voice, her music is simply just what we all need more of in our lives.
Inspired by Diane’s gorgeous piece entitled The Secret Garden (below) … I journeyed to My Secret Garden and sat with my head in the lap of Gaia. She has the most wonderful embrace – supporting, nurturing and for me, she always smells of honeysuckle in late summer. Bees buzz lazy, butterflies tickle my skin, the sun is warm and penetrates all of my centers. Breathing deeply of the honeysuckle and earth scents of Gaia, I give myself permission to relax, to be restful, to sink into the music … the Garden … the Goddess.
I invite you to take some time this week to cultivate your inner secret garden. Spend some time meditating, journaling, contemplating and ask yourself: What does your inner secret garden look like? Are you alone? What animals are wandering the garden? How is the weather? Are there ponds or is it at the shore of a lake or ocean? What does the soil look like, the trees? Build this space within yourself. Stock it with all the wonders of your imagination. Populate your secret garden with forms that nurture and support you. This inner space that you create is one that you can return to over and over within your meditation practices. As your mind connects your secret garden with the place of your Whole Heart, it becomes a touchstone for times of challenge and stress. Returning to it often makes it a powerful inner space for ourselves. Is there perhaps an area that seems dark or overgrown? Observe the messages from your inner secret garden and take time to prune, weed and plant new seeds. Most importantly, breathe and bless yourself.
I would love to hear about your secret garden if you care to share … post on our Facebook, leave a blog post link in the comments, a Pinterest Board, or share some photos on the (new!) MotherHouse Flickr Photo Group – let’s connect and have a tea party in our gardens together!
My Secret Garden Pinterest Board that I created to inspire myself!
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti!
Links to Love …
Pema Chodron‘s writings and teachings about meditation and how to be KIND to ourselves, both in and out of meditation practice, are life-changing. Self-Compassion is an important component of Self Care for all of us. Our inner critics have had sharp edges honed by years of practice. Taking the time for relaxing, being – time to enjoy our inner secret gardens is a Self Care step that will give you room to breathe and cope and balance.
How to Meditate by Pema Chodron is a book I love to give away again and again
Rest without Guilt by Mara Glatzel and Christie Inge – the permission to rest – wonderful video!
Being Yourself by Jennifer Louden – reminders to reinforce kindness to ourselves.
Self Compassion, the Conversation in Our Heads & The Goddess Kuan Yin – speaking to ourselves the way that Kuan Yin would … WITH LOVE!
Come into the Secret Garden (Diane Arkenstone) …