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Mindfulness, Minddumping and Memory

This is something I’ve mentioned before but I thought it deserved more attention.

In January I took part in the ‘a river of stones’ writing challenge, that asked us to really pay attention to one thing each day and to write a small stone about it. See my previous post ‘Skimming Stones into 2011’ for details.

The resulting book ‘pay attention’ is now available from lulu. I have linked to the paperback but it is also available as a download or hardcover. 

As we grow ever busier in our daily lives we race around, jump in the shower and don’t feel the water on our skin, scoff down food so we don’t taste it and do two or three things at once, never truly being ‘in the moment’ of any of them. This is where Mindfulness comes in. This is growing in popularity as a therapeutic tool and should be something we can try and incorporate into our everyday activities. When was the last time you stood outside and breathed the air in deep, felt a flower petal or leaf, looked at the picture on the wall of the room you’re in? Kids can be good teachers for this. 

oak

Another useful tool can be something I like to term minddumping. This is basically an outpouring (it can be a verbal offloading to a friend) of everything that is on your mind. I think I’m in need of this. When I do I will write a to do list (it won’t always help me get everything done but it will help me take stock and feel a little more in control), I might also write about what I’m feeling or just put pen to paper and scribble away. This latter thought can be a useful tool for creative writing too, and is often called freewriting. 

I have to say this blog is a useful place for a minddump (sorry about that guys) and it may become increasingly handy as I progress in my PhD. For me it also serves as a great Memory aid. I enjoy going back and reading things I’ve written (fictional and otherwise). It helps me remember things I’ve done or seen. I was at my parents house tonight looking for a children’s picture book I have vague recollections off reading (It’s about a party in a castle where everyone gets a number and they have to climb the stairs to find the step with the same number.  On the steps were a box with food in. That’s all I can remember but if that rings any bells for anyone please let me know). I didn’t find that book but spotted another called The Tovers, I don’t remember the story but I remember the picture. 

Do you minddump? What are the benefits for you?
How could you/do you incorporate mindfulness into your day?
Are any of my OTs using mindfulness in practice? How?
Do you know the title of the book I’ve mentioned above or how I can find it (I’ve tried Google!)

Skimming Stones into 2011

Dear all,

Life passes us by so quickly now that we barely have time to breathe, let alone stop and take notice.

Well January is a time for new resolutions and there’s one that’s sweeping Twitter and bloggers  – it’s simple – lots of people are resolving to take more notice.

Fiona Robyn, a writer has set up ‘a river of stones‘ – a month long challenge starting 01.01.11 to take notice of something each day and to write a ‘small stone’ about it.

Fiona describes small stones as ‘a very short piece of writing that precisely captures a fully-engaged moment.’ Although you write down these stones, you can choose to keep them private and you don’t have to be a writer.

For some more ideas on how to ‘polish your stones’ – check out what Fiona has to say here.

I have shared this project with Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy Students too because this is a prime example of a mindfulness technique. Mindfulness within occupational therapy is growing, especially within mental health. The theory is about connectedness with our world. It’s not just about being mindful in terms of taking time to meditate but being mindful in our daily occupations. Noticing the sensation of brushing our teeth, the feel of ingredients we are preparing, their smell, their taste. Really listening to someone, identifying their tone, noticing their expressions. Being aware.

I know that a lot of my writerly friends are going to engage in this journey of discovery – I hope that ‘non’ writers join us and discover themselves, their world and their inner poet.

How to join in

The simplest way is to jot down your stones in a notebook but if you would like to share them you can ‘sign up on the site‘ (I’ve added a widget to the right to share the river of stones – apologies this has been removed as it wasn’t working). You can set up a blog or on your exisiting blog use the tag aros against your stone posts. On twitter people are using the hashtag #aros. Or you can post to your Facebook status.

I will be posting here and on Twitter (which will post to Facebook). I have also made a Keynote presentation on my iPad that has a slide per page where I can post a picture and write my stone. This will then be zipped up in a pretty format to keep when January is over.

Now we haven’t officially started but I’ve just taken notice of something out of the corner of my eye so this one is just a bit of fun.

My eye catches a spider – lets it go as a speck – I really need to hoover!


Kirsty

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