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Day 7: January Mindful Writing Challenge (how are you doing?)

Mirror by Maury McCownA middle-aged man sees himself as others see him and sobs.

Wayne Scheer

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We’re on the seventh day of the January Mindful Writing Challenge – please post your small stone in the comments below.

How are you finding it so far? Has it been easy/difficult? Have you missed a day or three? Have you noticed yourself noticing more? Do let us know underneath your small stone today.

If you’re not already signed up, our 31 Days of Waking Up daily email package was designed to accompany you during this (or any) month of mindful writing. Keep writing!

Mirror by maury.mccown

Day 6: January Mindful Writing Challenge

Fingers by Jonathan Cohennight pub
deaf men fingerspelling
gossip

Ramesh Anand

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We’re on the sixth day of the January Mindful Writing Challenge – please post your small stone in the comments below. If you’re not already signed up, our 31 Days of Waking Up daily email package was designed to accompany you during this (or any) month of mindful writing. Keep writing!

Fingers by Jonathan Cohen

Day 5: January Mindful Writing Challenge

Door by Thomas Hawklead to the gate
the baggage door is closed
cicada shower

Ken Sawitri

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We’re on the fifth day of the January Mindful Writing Challenge – please post your small stone in the comments below. If you’re not already signed up, our 31 Days of Waking Up daily email package was designed to accompany you during this (or any) month of mindful writing. Keep writing!

Door by Thomas Hawk

Day 4: January Mindful Writing Challenge

White Chrysanthemum by PL Tandon

The False Spring

Fresh snow sprinkled
On petite flower buds:

White chrysanthemums
Already beginning to bloom.

Joshua Bocher

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We’re on the fourth day of the January Mindful Writing Challenge – please post your small stone in the comments below. If you’re not already signed up, our 31 Days of Waking Up daily email package was designed to accompany you during this (or any) month of mindful writing. Keep writing!

White Chrysanthemum by PL Tandon

Day 2: January Mindful Writing Challenge

hillKaspa says: “Come and look at the moon, honey. Just the way it’s placed.”
A cratered disc, resting on the hill. Gently glowing. One side dissolving into blue.

Satya Robyn

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We’re on the second day of the January Mindful Writing Challenge – please post your small stone in the comments below. If you’re not already signed up, our 31 Days of Waking Up daily email package was designed to accompany you during this (or any) month of mindful writing. Keep writing!

Day 1: Our January Mindful Writing Challenge Starts HERE!

badge 14

What appears in the first light of day as we enter this new year?

The 2014 Mindful Writing Challenge starts today! Post your small stone here.

Will you join us in writing a small stone every day during January? Post your first one in the comments below.

  • Notice one thing each day.
  • Give your whole awareness to it.
  • Write it down.

Share your small stones here in the comments of our daily blog posts, or on twitter with the #smallstone tag, on Facebook or anywhere you like.

Gusting wind. Bulging bottle gourds drum against the fence. Wind chimes play an autumnal capriccioso. The graceful spruces dance.

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Chris Galvin

Give your Mindful Writing Challenge a boost with 31 Days of Waking Up, our options support package for the January Challenge, sign up and get 31 daily emails with writing prompts and tips, an original essay on waking up and four daily practices to help you see the world more clearly.

We’re looking forward to reading your small stones, so get writing!

Invite your friends to join in: Use the buttons below to share this post and start your friends on their mindful writing journey,

How to increase deliciousness

vegan cookiesSatya writes: Over the past couple of weeks I’ve tried out a smorgasbord of new recipes. Sticky toffee pudding crammed with dates, chestnuts & mushrooms en croute, silky baked cheesecake, cashew nut burgers, chocolate & macadamia cookies…

Since becoming vegan in the summer I’ve needed to find replacements for all my ‘old favourites’, and so I’ve been experimenting much more than usual.

Most of us tend towards habit. We cook the the things we know how to cook, we drink the same coffee at our usual cafe, and we wear the same old colours and styles that we usually wear.

These habits can save energy and time, and we think of them as more ‘safe’. They also stifle our creativity, reduce our options and narrow the scope of our lives. They flatten the scrumptiousness of our daily experience.

How do we break free from these deadening habits? By becoming aware of them when they settle over us like dust. By doing three new things every day. By trying a new recipe for apple cake. By watching what your friends do and following their example. By closing down your computer and going outside.

One way of broadening and deepening the deliciousness of your days is to take part in our January Mindful Writing Challenge, starting this Wednesday (with our optional daily inspirational emails, 31 Days of Waking Up).

To take part, simply pay proper attention to one thing every day and write it down – in your journal or here on our special blog posts. You don’t have to be a writer or to have much free time – five minutes a day will be enough.

During these few minutes, time will slow down. You’ll really appreciate the vivid greens of the lawn, savour the smell of your zingy lemon shower gel, and notice the subtle notes of caramel in your cup of coffee.

Deliciousness – what a scrumptious word. Say it and see : ) The deliciousness has been there all along – you just need to pause long enough to taste it properly…

And if you’re vegetarian (or a brave meat-eater) think about becoming a cool vegan too during January with Veganuary… Let me know in the comments if you’re up for it!

 

What sings to you?

hillKaspa writes: Yesterday as I walked through town a view of the whole county appeared.

The low fields were brushed with mist and in the distance the land rose up to become the Cotswolds. My eye was drawn to green-grey church steeples, sunlight catching a window on a slow moving train, a circling kite…

This is the kind of experience that feeds my writing. In those moments the world insists on being seen and if I am not too wrapped up in myself I can listen to that insistence, slow down and pay attention.

Those kinds of moments happen when I leave the house and find new places to walk. They rarely happen when I am sitting at my desk, illuminated by my glowing laptop screen, reading the same old websites.

They can happen in my office, if I make time to really pay attention. Outside my window this morning there is an arc of cloud, a slice of a perfect circle. Looking to my right, through the other window, I can see past the neighbouring houses into a cleft in the hills where there are pools of white frost still lingering in the shadows.

It takes more effort to do that kind of seeing when I stay in familiar places, where little changes: the house plants grow slowly and the patterns of dust on the windowsill remain the same. However when I take myself out my office and into the world, it sings to me.

The January Mindful Writing Challenge will be here very soon. Where will you go to find your small stones? Which places sing to you? Can you make the effort to see new things in familiar places?

Find out about the January Challenge here: Mindful Writing Challenge and if you’d like some extra help in finding your small stones, sign up to 31 Days of Waking Up.

image by Shelly Perkins

What will you choose for your word of 2014?

Summer berries by NanagyeiSatya writes: Blackberries. Seek the plumpest, the darkest. Take the glossy drupelets between your thumb and forefinger and feel the squishy give. Squeeze and pull it from its white core, and it will come away happily. Pop it into your mouth. A sweet, tasty juice explosion.

Every December, I choose myself a word to guide me during the following year.

This word has power. Even when I forgot the word entirely, when I look back at the end of the year I can see how I’ve been nudged in the direction of ‘faith’, or ‘enough’, or ‘letting go’.

To choose my word, I think about what I need. I think about what I’m currently working on (am I trying to relax more? be kinder to others?) and I think about where any resistance might be.

The word that comes to me this year is ‘ripe’.

I have a tendency to pull at the blackberries that aren’t ready yet. The ones that are still shrunken, hard.

I think I know better than the Universe about when something is ripe. I think I know how things SHOULD be, and I force them to comply, with manipulation, with impatience, with a dissatisfaction at how-things-are.

I thought that our local Buddhist group ought to be growing a little faster. We had good stuff to offer, and the same half-dozen people were coming. It made me uncomfortable. I put up more posters, talked about it wherever I could, and when people showed interest I tried to ‘get them to come’.

Looking back, I can see now that our little group needed time to be soaked in the culture of our form of Buddhism, and to settle into the practice. There are no short-cuts to this. We are a completely different group now, and new people will have a very different experience. Maybe we’ll get bigger next year, and maybe we won’t. I don’t know if we’re ripe yet. I’ll keep turning up every week and putting up the posters. I’ll take the pressure off anyone who shows interest, and I’ll leave the rest up to the Buddha.

I am looking forward to trusting something else to be in charge of ripening. What a relief. What a heavy load of responsibility I can hand back. I will continue to do my bit – looking after the fruit by watering and feeding it. I can even give the fruit an experimental squeeze every so often. But I am not the one who decides when the time is right for harvest.

What word will you choose for 2014? Let us know in the comments. I look forward to reading them.

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I’d like to remind you of this new delicious daily inspiration offering to accompany you during the January Mindful Writing Challenge (FB sign up here). And if you could do with some time out with a slice of cake, my novel The Most Beautiful Thing is 99p / $1.99 today. It’s nearly Christmas after all : )

Image: AttributionNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Nanagyei