5-Minute-Meditation: Swim

By Brian Hay

Faith allows you to keep going in the absence of information. (David Sloan Wilson)

Every summer at the cottage I swim out half a kilometre to the middle of the lake to the “table top rock.” That’s a large house-sized flat rock, submerged about two feet under water, surrounded all around by very deep water. Each summer someone at the lake goes out to mark that rock with a buoy, so that the boats can go around it without wrecking their propellers.

For my first swim this year there was no buoy. There was no way to know with certainty where the rock was. I’m a strong swimmer for distance, but in previous years the thought of swimming out there and searching for the rock, not finding it and growing too tired to make it all the way back has always deterred me from trying.

Except this year, on a warm evening, the water warm and smooth as glass, I felt willing to take the risk. I would swim in the direction of where I remembered the rock to be and I would trust that I’d find it. And so I began: strong strokes, rhythmic breathing, sun setting, it will be there. Part way out I had doubts, insecurities, and worries.

But I swam on and soon saw something just under the surface of the water. It was the old buoy, from last year, submerged but visible from up close. I had faith that the rock would be there, that it would support my feet to stand and rest, to turn around and swim back. And it did. (BHH)

I have faith that the solid rock will be there beneath my feet to stand and rest when I need it.

© Brian Hay 2016

Swim was originally published in “Creative Journey Five Minute Meditations for Transformation” Published by Heartspace Writing School.

Biography –Brian Hay

Brian Hay is a retired lawyer and a writer. He completed Transformative WritingTM studies at Canadian Mennonite University and received facilitator certification at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Center, European Centre for Life Writing for TransformationTM, in Birmingham, England. Brian took motorcycle lessons after he turned 60, consistent with Michelangelo’s motto: “I’m always learn-ing …” He loves reading books about writing and daily personal/spiritual reflection. Since 2012, he has envisioned and helped guide this book to completion.

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Who Inspires You toWrite?

Who Inspires You to Write?

Is there someone in who inspires you to write about the things that matter to you? My friend Joy Playford once told me that her father, a successful businessman told her, “When there’s a big enough WHY, the HOW will be found.” We all need to find our own personal, compelling reasons to write. Sometimes the reasons come from people who have guided our steps toward expressing ourselves through writing.

Three people come to mind right away for me. The first in my mother, Peggy Hindal who longed to write and share her knowledge in the field of nursing, specifically child and maternal health. She also wanted to share her faith and the inspiration she found in travelling a miracle-strewn path through life.

Mom’s pursuit of helping others, any time of day or night, kept her from finding the time and discipline to write. She was an avid supporter of my writing and sent me more story and project ideas than I will ever fulfill.

The second person is Norm Taylor who was a driving force, in life and death, for my creation of Heartspace Writing School. I have written about Norm and love to share how his unwritten stories motivate me to write and encourage others to write and share their authentic selves, to be known for the persons they truly are.

Matthew Hindal, my beloved nephew, was not yet thirty when he wrote, “I know that what I am about to do will hurt you, but this is the last time I will hurt anyone, including me. The truth is that it hurts too much to be me and it has hurt too much for too long. . .”

Accompanying my brother to identify Matt’s body was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Matt was a brilliant young man who wrote with passion and promise, but without living long enough to find a supportive, appreciative audience for his writing.

Transformative Writing circles are safe, accepting, encouraging havens in which writers face, write about, and share essential aspects of who we are; how we see ourselves in relation to others, and how we interpret and interface with life’s full, terrifying and empty moments. I wonder if a nurturing community that affirmed his unique gifts may have changed the course of Matthew’s life?

I write because Eric, a 13 year old friend, consistently wanted to hear what I’d written and always gave the enthusiastic endorsement, “That was a good story!”

My oldest daughter, Tiffany was living in Chicago when I started Heartspace Writing School in 1998. She emailed me to ask for stories, which she read and emailed to her friends, who passed them along to others. The feedback I got from strangers in far away cities was uplifting and encouraging. Tiffany is the cheerleader every writer dreams of.

My youngest daughter Anna has an innate, deep spirituality that she expresses in so many ways. I have decades-old reflections and poems she has penned in quiet moments in her busy life that uplift and encourage me. As a teenager she literally pressed her head on the dining room table when given a writing assignment in school. She would groan, “I can’t write!” When she accompanied me to a mother-daughter Transformative Writing retreat she reminded me that she probably would not write. After the first exercise she surprised me by being the first person to raise her hand to read what she’d written. “That was easy,” she told me. I love what Anna writes and it reminds me that the transformative tools do their job in removing blocks to expressing our creativity.

Finally, my husband Ted tells me I am the best poet he has ever read. He urges me to publish the filing cabinet full of poems I’ve written, assuring me they are not ‘way too personal’ as I insist they are.

As I reflect on the people who inspire me to write, I realize that this is what I hope my writing classes do for others: connect them to an inner team of encouragers whose lives remind us that we have a big enough why, the time is now, and we know how.

Joanne Klassen

Thursday April 4, 2013, 4:45 p.m.

Birmingham, England

5-Minute-Meditation: Zing

By Eleanor Chornoboy

True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.

(Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

Seed after seed, the perky chickadees, sparrows, brilliant American finches, and Common Redpolls peck sunflower seeds I’ve left for them in the bird feeder. They are a generous lot, spraying seed onto the ground, to ensure the chipmunks and bunnies below have plenty to eat.

Their chirps and songs sing of their zest for life, savouring every moment, worry-free, knowing nature and the neighbours will provide food and fresh water in the bird bath. They only need to be. For a song, supper is served.

At the end of my garden, Tibetan prayer flags breathe zest, reminding me that beauty is in the moment, giving joy that sinks into my soul.

I glimpse the apple tree blazing with mature fruit. Its boughs have room to spare, holding a red and a green hula hoop, tempting the child in me to “have a go.”

My purple benches, rescued from auction sales by my father and painted a bright purple to zing the white winter landscape with colour, sizzle with happiness throughout the year. In winter, they beckon shy deer to rest beside them, finishing the silent landscape—breathing deeply and fully, in and out—beauty and a zest for life abound.

I take my happiness from nature’s creation.

Beauty + calm + breathing = 

Zest for the moment, for life.

© Eleanor Chornoboy 2016

Zing was originally published in “Creative Journey Five Minute Meditations for Transformation” Published by Heartspace Writing School.

Biography –Eleanor Chornoboy

Author of Faspa and Faspa with Jast, Eleanor writes to capture moments in history. Through co-facilitating Life Writing for TransformationTM classes, she has had the joy of joining writers on their journey as they put their stories on the page. To delight the child in her, she has authored Snow Angels and Pajama Tears. Eleanor and her husband Larry live in Winnipeg, Canada.

5-Minute-Meditation: Attune

By Bertha Fontaine

In each of us, there lies a divine connection to a power… Today is the day to attune to that power and use it… (Marianne Williamson)

Upon awakening this morning, I felt a slight difference in myself. I wasn’t sure what was happening but I fatefully left for work.

I had to give a short presentation later to a group of people at a meeting. I found it difficult to keep my emotions in check. I stopped a couple of times in the middle of a sentence to contain myself. I shed a few tears before completing my talk, all the while asking myself, “What is wrong with me?”

Later in the day, I realized that it was my deceased father’s birthday. He would have been 96 years old. All day long, without realizing it, I had felt his presence in my mind, my body, and my spirit.

I reflected on how important he was to me, and yes, the world, even after being gone to the spirit world over eighteen year ago.

I take time to listen to my body, 

my mind, and my spirit today.

© Bertha Fontaine 2016

Attune was originally published in “Creative Journey Five Minute Meditations for Transformation” Published by Heartspace Writing School.

Biography –Bertha Fontaine

Bertha Fontaine is currently a manager and counsellor at an addiction treatment centre in Winnipeg, Canada. She attended a Transformative WritingTM program at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) and other writing classes led by Joanne Klassen. This helped Bertha realize the healing power of writing. Bertha loves being with family, especially her two sons, daughter-in-law, and four grandchildren. She believes and practices the Ojibway and Cree traditional ways of her ancestors.