In my daughter’s girl scout troop, we made “mind jars.” These are plastic bottles filled with water and loads of glitter. The girls loved this project. We saw how when we shake the jar, the glitter clouds the water and we have to wait for the glitter to settle for clarity to return to the water. We talked about when we are activated that our mind and feelings become stirred up and it is very difficult to see clearly and make appropriate decisions. We practiced breathing and allowing the glitter to settle. I am not sure how much they understood but they certainly loved making the jars:)
The question to ask ourselves is, “Are we willing to allow the glitter to settle before we can see clearly?” Sometimes we can be so enmeshed with our “glitter” that we don’t even realize that we are seeing things through a clouded lens. I can certainly relate to the confusion many of us face when trying to make decisions- big or little. Should I move? Change my career? Leave a relationship? Go back to school? No matter what the situation is, the answer can never come from a place of reactivity and confusion. When we are not centered and present, our mind will take us off course. We can think our way in and out of any scenario. The excessive thinking (which is a form of reactivity) will leave us feeling more confused, frustrated and lacking trust within ourselves.
Having awareness that we are activated or caught up in confusion is the first step. Then turning inward and allowing the experience to be just as it is, without trying to “figure anything out.” Can we have the courage to sit with the uncertainty, to sit with not knowing what to do? We are so used to doing and fixing and reacting. The act of allowing and being with our experience may be foreign but it is the only way that I know to find the true answers to our questions. Never make a life changing decision based on our momentary reactivity. If you are facing a difficult decision, can you be brave enough to wait for the glitter to settle? Patiently wait and allow all of the “what if’s”, “why’s”, “maybes” to quiet down. Watch the emotions shift in the body. This is not passively waiting. In fact, it is the most active thing we can do. While we are waiting for the glitter to settle, we are building a spacious inner container that can watch our experience and not become it. We are strengthening our ability to witness, without judgement, our inner terrain-the thoughts, emotions, body sensations, resistance, confusion and build a space to contain it all as we rise above it. In this space, we open to our inner guidance and all the fear, confusion and false beliefs can disappear in a moment because they were never real anyway. This space takes time to cultivate (much longer than it takes the glitter to settle in our mind jars). No one can do the work for us. It takes commitment, intention and deep self-love to do the work.
If you are interested in learning mindfulness mediation, consider joining my all day retreat on Sunday, June 4th from 9am-4pm at the Middlefield Library. We will be turning our attention inward, witnessing our experience, and cultivating the inner spaciousness needed to live a present, centered and fully awakened life.