And We’re Back…

 

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To school that is… As a teacher and mom, the summers are GREATLY appreciated. Having lots of quality time with my family and friends is a wonderful opportunity. Of course, going back to work after 2 lovely months, can be tough (even if I have done this for 15 yrs!)  I know that other colleagues, moms and educators share the feeling… So I wrote about getting ourselves back to work mindfully this month. You can find the article here. And while some of us may not be educators or parents, simply getting into the “swing of things” – can sometimes be tough. We hit stumbling blocks – it’s ok, and just part of the journey. Using some of the mindfulness techniques mentioned here just may make those blocks a lot easier to get by.

You may also want to use some of the resources from this blog for other “tips and tricks” on using mindfulness in your every day living.

Lastly, a few visuals (for rainy days or times you’re “forced” to be at your computer) to help you breathe a bit easier…

 

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It’s almost summer time…

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Summer is just around the corner… check out this GREAT post from wildsister.com“25 Summer Self-Love Ideas” – so many awesome thoughts and inspirational ideas…  #s 10, 12 and 20 are a must!

 

Map it out…

I was never a very good scout, which led me to being even worse when it came to cartography, and simply reading a map…. There were no Google maps or iPhones when I was in college… it was a good old fashioned paper map. My mom loved them, had them everywhere. We would buy updated maps for our cars every year. And while I found them beautiful and fascinating, reading them was nearly impossible. Thank you, Apple!!! Thank you , Google!

But today maps still interest me… mind maps, mapping your heart and soul on paper can become a beautiful piece of artwork, or simply a colorful list of ideas and thoughts… Try it out! Sit quietly and comfortably with a large blank pad of paper, some markers, pens, paints – any of the art supplies that excite you 🙂 Map out your day, something simple at first. Try mapping your work day, or your school day, or a “regular” weekend. See what it looks like on paper – use little sketches or blots of color to make marks and comments around your maps.

Below are  a few different mind maps – there is no right or wrong, just lots of mindful flow onto paper….. You can use any “topic” to start a mind map, even school subjects or work projects, chores around your house, plans for a new room, your brain, your pets, your cup of coffee… Ideas are endless, but getting them on paper and learning how to focus on their meanings can be an amazing journey and  outlet.

Add a little color…

It seems as if no matter where I am these days, I tend to see “coloring books” everywhere. They used to be something for bookstores or toy stores only but now they show up as I check out at the food store or even a local coffee shop! The “zentangle”  and mandala mania has definitely grown in popularity, and most likely, for the better.

Our home is filled with coloring books, and more so now, zentangle-like books. These books range in difficulty and patterns – and you can find them in just about every theme possible. My daughter loves the animal themes, I tend to go for floral, trees and botanicals. Plus, these books come in ALL sizes too now – mini ones for long car rides or travel, and GIANT versions for the whole family to get involved in – which, by the way, is a GREAT idea!

While tiny boxes and lines may not be your thing, the art of simply coloring is quite meditative and you there are LOTS of resources out there to choose from.  Next time you’re feeling a bit edgy or anxious, give this a try:

If you’re an artist and want to try your own design, then color it in, give it a whirl.

If, however, you would prefer not to draw, pick up a zentangle or “meditative” coloring book of your preference.

Have lots of your favorite colors ready to go! Markers, crayons, pencils or paints can be used for any of these.

Color away! Don’t think of anything else except for the beautiful colors or shades that you are blending, mixing and creating. There is NO right or wrong, all you have to do is color.

Here are just a few examples of zentangle and meditative coloring ideas:

 

You can find LOTS more of these ideas via Pinterest or my Pinterest Mindful Board here

Check Amazon and local book stores too  – they have some wonderful collections too!

Crafty Zen

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Looking to bring some zen into your own room? home? classroom? Here are a few great places to check out! Zen gardens are a lot of fun to build, and use… and, of course, they’re simple to make. You can add to your zen garden too – and create it with your own signature “design” too… take a look and get zen crafty!

Japanese Zen Gardens – find out what they are, how to make one and how to use it in your own home, office, classroom , etc.

Zen Stones – find some river rocks or favorite flat stones (you can even pick some up at Home Depot or Lowes!) and use sharpies or paint to create unique, zen patterns like these:

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Not sure which color to choose for your next zen craft or creation? Use this interesting chart on the psychology of color for a better look at what your colors really mean.

Jars are a great place to make mini plant scenes! Take a look at just how easy it is here… Spice-Jar-Mini-Terrarium_tzom