Yogi with a Pencil: Mindfulness Through Journaling, Part 2

» Posted by on Nov 14, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

This is the second post in an ongoing monthly series by guest yogini MaryAnn Safrey.

Thanksgiving Word Buffet

This month’s journaling exercise requires you to rethink “the random.” To what extent are random details “given” to you as opportunities for your growth? To what extent should you feel gratitude for randomness?

October’s exercise asked you to meditate on something from nature. What series of seemingly random events “conspired” to put that inspirational object in your hand? How did that fallen leaf find its way to you? Why did you stumble upon that particular rock or shell? Where did it come from? How many years did it take to reach you? How many forces of nature intervened to bring you into contact with that journal “jumpstarter” and the thoughts and ideas it stirred in you?

November’s exercise begins with a selected page of writing.

Choose a page from a magazine article, a favorite novel or poem, a news article, or even an e-mail or ad. Use your index finger (a “handy” organic pointer), and randomly pass your finger over the page’s text. Bring your finger down, letting it land on any 5 substantial words (they can be any assortment of noun, verb, adjective, etc.). Copy all five words onto an empty page in your own journal.

1. Write five separate journal entries, each inspired by a different random word you’ve chosen. Free associate with each word over several days and write your thoughts: about experiences each word may remind you of, people you might think of in relation to the word, philosophical musings prompted by the word. Don’t edit yourself; just let your thoughts roam. Each word is a gift from “the random” for you to contemplate.

2. Compose a single sentence that combines all five words. The sentence may seem nonsensical at first. But why did your unconscious craft that sentence in the particular way that it did? Think about it. What relevance, no matter how far-fetched it may seem at first, might that sentence have to your life? Write your thoughts. You may be surprised how “the random” has moved you to contemplate something of personal, or even universal, significance.

The dishes at a Thanksgiving buffet appear appear to be a random assortment of food on the table. But each dish is sourced from a special and blessed place. And when they are gathered together, the dishes represent the personal and collective efforts of the many who planted, harvested, sold, bought, prepared, and served the meal. Be mindful, this month, of the sources of things. Be grateful for how your own history interfaces seamlessly and effortlessly with people and events around you. Give thanks for the interconnectedness, grace, and benevolence of the randomness in and around you. Each encounter with the random presents a new opportunity to re-create your thoughts and life.
MaryAnn Safrey is an English teacher of 31 years, now also working as assistant principal at a large New York City high school. She’s taught literature, drama, and creative writing and has written and published poetry, short stories, and a novella. She first studied yoga 40 years ago…and went on to give birth to Emerald Yoga’s dedicated owner, Jennifer Safrey.

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