5-Minute-Meditation: Connect

By Astrid Schuhmann

A hidden connection is stronger than an obvious one.

(Heraclitus)

ConnectThrough my living-room window a warm Fall breeze carries the sound of chewing made by an ill-mannered giant having a picnic on my front lawn. The inquisitive child inside of me peers out the window: The lawn is black—an iridescent black with hues of green. I’m looking at a flock of black birds, countless, gorging themselves on a fresh crop of acorns. The myriad of their individual sounds blends into a concoction of chirping and chewing.

And yet, for all their apparent sameness, I notice a diversity of manners: some picking, turning over every leaf lest they overlook a special morsel; others, feeding in stoic repeat motions; there are those who appear overwhelmed by the abundance, fluttering about, barely eating at all; and the agitators, who, seemingly ever unhappy with what is before them, just must disrupt another’s peaceful meal. Which of these birds am I? At times perhaps, a bit of each.

A short spectacle it is. After all, how many acorns does it take to fill a bird’s belly? As if summoned by a distant call, the flock lifts in unison, becomes a dark cloud that drifts southward, no particle left behind.

During these minutes, I witness a curious shift as an apparent whole first reveals glimpses of its distinct parts, then reintroduces itself as a coherent ensemble.

I connect freely, assured I belong to the earth and the sky.

© Astrid Schuhmann 2016

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

Biography –Astrid Schuhmann

Astrid’s adventuresome spirit led her from her native Germany to Winnipeg, where she has applied her passion for organizational systems in several settings. After completing a Transformative WritingTM program, she was trained as a facilitator and has led groups for seniors. Astrid has coordinated two training manuals and three books, including this one. Her passion for language led her to transcribe her father-in-law’s journals and translate them from their original German into English.

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5-Minute-Meditation: Forgive

By Moira Fitt

Who understands much, forgives much.

(Madame de Stael)

Forgiveness has been a challenge to me for many years. Recently I have been exploring the practice of Life Writing for TransformationTM at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre.

During one such retreat, I wrote about finding a book about day-to-day life during the Second World War, which appealed to me as a “war baby.” The pages held familiar pictures of air-raid shelters, gas masks, and bomb-damaged houses—and a timeline giving specific dates relating to Britain’s darkest hours—the Blitz and the bombing of London and Coventry. The dates were within days of my birth that summer in 1940, and I was overwhelmed by the dawning realization of just how traumatic this time must have been for my mother.

My perspective on my mother shifted palpably, coming to terms with the significance of those dates when she was expecting her first child. She could probably see the distant glow of fires over London at night where Dad was working. She had told me the babies had been taken down to the air-raid shelter the night after I was born at the local Nursing Home, but the Mums were left on the ward as a bomb fell nearby!

Sharing my writing afterwards with other “war babies,” I came to realize I was not alone in having had a bewilderingly cool relationship with my mother which I never understood. A long-held burden lifted from me as I received the blessing of forgiveness for the person my mother had become as a result of her war-time experiences.

I am healed by the transformative power of life writing.

© Moira Fitt 2016

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

Biography –Moira Fitt

Moira is a Quaker and feels that her Life Writing for TransformationTM skills, poetry and healing are all inspired by the inner creative spirit to help her and others to discover their potential. In 1986, she began designing and facilitating personal development courses for “women returners”, alongside her education guidance role in Cornwall. She retired to enjoy her grandchildren, swimming, and relaxing in the New Zealand sunshine.

5-Minute-Meditation: Read

By Margaret Harms

The man who does not read good books has

no advantage over the man who cannot read.

(Mark Twain)

I love to read. I learned to read even before attending school. In Grade One, I met “Jerry and Jane” in our first readers and this series started me on a lifetime addiction to the world of words. Through the books in our classroom library, I was captivated by the intriguing stories of adventure, pioneer families, mystery, and even romance. The information in the books of science and history were fascinating. I was introduced to poetry and memorized many of the poems in our readers. Reading became a passion for me.

I grew up in a large family and learned to concentrate on my studies, or reading for enjoyment, surrounded by the noise of talking and laughter. There were times, however, when I sought refuge in other places to immerse myself in my reading. I would take a good book, climb a huge maple tree, and sit comfortably in the fork of the tree trunk, hidden from view by the thick foliage. At other times I scrambled onto the slanted roof of the bunkhouse, shaded by a massive poplar. Another secluded spot was the large hayloft of the barn where I could nestle into the hay and read undisturbed while the pigeons cooed on their high perch and the pigs grunted below me.

Now in my retirement, I’m still passionate about reading. When I find an exceptionally good book, I treat myself to a day in which I read, exclusively.

Books are my friends.

© Margaret Harms 2016

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

Biography –Margaret Harms

Margaret Harms is a retired teacher. After retirement she has travelled to Burkina Faso, Africa, completed a Life Writing course at CMU, and has taken up painting. Margaret writes poetry, memories of her childhood, and stories of her family and her teaching experiences. Her passion is reading. Margaret and her husband live on a small acreage near Lowe Farm, Manitoba, Canada, where they enjoy gardening in summer. She lovingly tends her roses.

5-Minute-Meditation: Choose

By Joanne Klassen

Choosing to live your life by your own choice is the greatest freedom you will ever have.

(Dr. Shad Helmsetter, Choices)

Looking out the window beside my desk, I see heavy gray clouds hanging all the way to the horizon, mirroring my own weighty sense of the week ahead. My schedule is over-flowing—again. No one has forced me to say yes to so many responsibilities. I have chosen each one and now they are stacked on top of each other like cordwood.

Squirming under the load I am carrying, I realize that the gatekeeper of my choices is me. But I am free to close the gate on some of the commitments I have chosen. I can set down the excess responsibilities that I heaped on without accurately estimating the weight of the accumulated load. A cartoon I’ve kept in a file suddenly comes to mind, it is man being led from a building in a straight-jacket. The caption is a bystander telling the woman beside him, “We’ll miss Joe. He volunteered for everything.”

This place is familiar. In my 20s my escape from the weight of so many community roles was getting very ill. In my 40s it was making a career change. Today, I can use the aware-ness and further decades of experience to make some less drastic adjustments. I will distinguish what is essential from what I can release to other capable, willing hands.

My work load is comfortable and manageable.

I complete each task on time with joy.

© Joanne Klassen 2016

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

Biography –Joanne Klassen

Author and Heartspace founder, Joanne began facilitating personal development programs in 1975. Her career and life changed in 1998 when she received a vision for Transformative Life WritingTM which is now offered to teens, adults and seniors around the world. Joanne’s ideal day includes writing, singing to a baby, visiting thrift shops and walking along the river with her husband Ted in Winnipeg, Canada.

5-Minute-Meditation: Bless

By Bertha Fontaine

Blessed are the peacemakers, for

they shall be called children of God.

(Matthew, The Bible)

One day during my annual vacation down south, I sat on the shore, admiring the ocean. I noted how everything in nature around me seemed to function in total harmony. The palm trees swayed in the soft breeze, while ocean waves ebbed and flowed rhythmically. The sun’s warm rays embraced everything and everyone on the beach.

I became aware that peace is present when all elements are working together. Nature perfectly projected peace into my life, here in paradise, when I allowed the peaceful surroundings to become part of me. I felt the peacefulness of nature penetrate every cell of my being, holistically—felt the peace engulf me, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

I want to remember to recapture this peace with my family and in my workplace when I return home.

I am blessed by peace.

 

© Bertha Fontaine 2016

Bless 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.

5-Minute-Meditation: Click

By Joanne Klassen

To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.

(Mary Oliver)

I recall my mom chiding my dad to, “Turn off the T.V. before our guests arrive.” He didn’t see the need, but he’d grumble and click it off.

“It’s not polite to have it on when we have company. We should be paying attention to them,” Mom added.

Dad even liked the sound of the T.V. while he was napping in his big brown recliner in the living room.

When I asked, “Why do you keep the T.V. on all the time, even when you’re not watching it?” He replied that it “kept him company.”

Today I see lots of people, including myself sometimes, staring at hand-held screens, even when we’re with other people. It’s as if we’ve grown so accustomed to the company of the electronic world that, like Dad, we don’t consider it impolite to give our attention to a screen instead of the living, breathing, feeling human being we’re with.

I tune in to the people I’m with. 

As I click off distractions 

I seize the gift of time with others.

© Joanne Klassen 2016

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

Biography –Joanne Klassen

Author and Heartspace founder, Joanne began facilitating personal development programs in 1975. Her career and life changed in 1998 when she received a vision for Transformative Life WritingTM which is now offered to teens, adults and seniors around the world. Joanne’s ideal day includes writing, singing to a baby, visiting thrift shops and walking along the river with her husband Ted in Winnipeg, Canada.

5-Minute-Meditation: Cherish

By Astrid Schuhmann

A thing of beauty is joy for ever.

(John Keats)

There are places that from the very first glance seem familiar and make me feel inexplicably at ease. The Alsterarkaden mall in the Northern-German city of Hamburg, where I grew up, is such a place. Tourist guides might simply call it an open-air shopping mall, but its cafés and restaurants, its boutiques, and its white colonnades with their view of a serene canal always invited me to slow down and linger rather than hastily consume. In my mind I can still hear buskers playing their music that would drift through the 170-year-old arches and make strolling visitors feel as if they were travelling back in time or away to somewhere Mediterranean—Venice, maybe.

When I saw a photograph of the building in a newspaper, I instantly wanted to draw it. This was strange, because I cannot draw. Undeterred, I resolved to cheat a bit by employing a grid, copying the photo square by tiny square. My little “work-of-art that could” has found a home on a wall in every place I have lived since.

Reflecting on this experience reminds me to look at the world with an inspired eye and to heed creative impulses for their own sake, using the best of my abilities. I’m not discouraged by projects that refuse to gel, knowing that sometimes something meaningful is meant to come into being quite unexpectedly.

I notice beauty and surrender to its inspiration.

© Astrid Schuhmann 2016

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

Biography –Astrid Schuhmann

Astrid’s adventuresome spirit led her from her native Germany to Winnipeg, where she has applied her passion for organizational systems in several settings. After completing a Transformative WritingTM program, she was trained as a facilitator and has led groups for seniors. Astrid has coordinated two training manuals and three books, including this one. Her passion for language led her to transcribe her father-in-law’s journals and translate them from their original German into English.