Yogi with a Pencil: Mindfulness Through Journaling, Part 3

» Posted by on Dec 17, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

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

Doorbells and Sleigh Bells

December offers an opportunity to recollect. At year’s end, we literally and figuratively feel the urge to re-collect memories of people, events, intentions, and dreams that we’ve chosen to hold closest to our hearts. Every culture and world religion celebrates winter with a particular feast of light. Hours of daylight shorten, and in darkness the insignificant recedes. What’s important surfaces. We ascribe meaning to whatever we select to highlight. And, in return, whatever we choose to remember informs both mindfulness and meaning.

The ultimate objective of this month’s journaling, as it is with yoga practice, is to make us more cognizant and appreciative of the present moment. By focusing and shedding the light of consciousness on a particular memory and moment in time, we absorb it into the present. Past and present merge. We become more whole when we integrate “time”. Regret, guilt, and the pang of nostalgia and loss lift and fade. “Then” becomes Now. In the peace and wisdom of Now, all is forgiven, all is safe. With this mindset, let’s write.

1) Focus on a childhood memory. It could be your first memory, the memory of a Christmas or Hanukkah or any holiday past, the memory of family time, the memory of a first friendship. Picture yourself in a crib, at a table, under the Christmas tree, lighting the menorah, shopping for a gift. Step into your 3-year-old or 5-year-old or 8-year-old self. Write your journal memory in the voice and from the point of view of the child you were then. Feel, smell, taste the memory and write from that sensory recall.

2) Rewrite the same memory as in exercise 1. This time, write as the person you are now, looking back on the event. Add your current insights and write from this vantage point in time.

3) Peruse the first two narratives you’ve written. Make connections between the two versions of your personal narrative. Allow the child of exercise 1 to step into the adult of exercise 2, or vice versa. Consider the relationship between the two narratives. What do you notice? What new perspective does the past give to the present, or vice versa? In your effort to integrate past and present, where do you feel your peace? Write — and as you write, feel yourself growing more whole and wiser. Embrace your softer self. Forgive yourself, experience the joy of being you. Celebrate your new perspective in your writing.

May the peace of the season resonate within you. May the light of the season shine outward through you to warm the world.

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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