Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Joy Diet: Nothing

Last week, the Next Chapter group, under the leadership of the wonderful Jamie Ridler, began reading The Joy Diet: 10 Daily Practices For a Happier Life by Martha Beck. Jamie suggested we make vision cards for each practice in the book. The first practice is Nothing and here is my vision card.


"To begin the Joy Diet, you must do nothing for at least fifteen minutes a day."

I was excited. This was something I could do! Something I used to do and for some reason (something I'll have to look into further) stopped doing. It was time to return to the "center of my being" and listen. Slow down. Tell my monkey mind TIME OUT!

I returned to one of my favorite authors and teachers, Thich Nhat Hanh and the book A Lifetime of Peace: Essential Writings by and About Thich Nhat Hanh. After greeting the morning and a new day, I began to count my breath. Breathe in and count one, breathe out and count one. Breathe in, two. Breathe out, two. Breathe and count to ten. If a thought comes along .. recognize it, send it away and start with one again. Each time count to ten. Counting attaches mindfulness to the breath. Soon I was reaching ten time and time again, without really realizing it. It was so nice to return to this form of meditation and nothingness.

This, however, is not enough for Thich Nhat Hanh. He believes you can "practice meditation when you walk, stand, lie down, sit, while washing your hands, washing the dishes, drinking tea, talking to friends or whatever you are doing". Whatever you are doing - it must be the most important thing. Be mindful.

I often find this "nothingness" while I am doing handwork ... knit, crochet, cross stitch. I zone out, get into a flow, tune everything out. Even what I'm doing just flows. And after, I am refreshed, whole, calm.

It's so nice to return to nothing. To put the do not disturb sign out.

So, this is my Nothing.

I hope you find yours.


30 comments:

sherry ♥ lee said...

Your vision card is stunning Snap. I love what brings you calm, quiet, nothing...and looking at this I can see that too.

I think we can find that nothingness in other tasks too -- I agree with you about art/crafts, anything that keeps our hands busy. I used to lose myself completely when doing counted cross stitch and finish my time in the chair feeling refreshed.

Looking forward to dipping into "truth" with you this week!

WrightStuff said...

I think I'm probably going to learn most from my fellow bloggers this week. I found it so difficult, but am also aware that this must be an acquired skill. I doubted from the beginning that this would be 'natural' for me.
It's great to read your experience. Thanks

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Interesting concept. It's an art being happy. I see that the older I get.

Alicia @ boylerpf said...

Oh, Snap, this is something that I need to practice! I'm not so sure I would be able to do it during activity but often find that zone out period when I am so intent on doing something. I'll realize a couple of hours later that I have not paid one bit attention to anything around me. That might not be nothingness, but something I do need to search for.

Lawendula said...

I really love your picture of the snowy nothing!
Looking forward for yours on next week's truth! :) Take care!

Helen said...

Nice post and a good reminder for me to take out that Thich Nhat Hanh book. I also like your vision card!

Fatma said...

I love your Vision Card too. Your post is totally aligned with the 7 Mindful Days I am practicing right now. I also agree meditation can be anything that puts you in the zone as I call it.

Looking forward to Truth!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh what a neat post, Snap... We all need to find that 'nothingness' in our daily schedules ... My best friend schedules every single minute of every single day. I worry about her. She loves to stay totally busy--but it can't be that healthy for her. She looks bad--but it's hard for me to tell her that. I've tried to get her to slow down--but she won't listen. All I can do is pray for her.

Love your picture... It is so soothing....

Hope you share more of these JOYS with us. Those practices should help ALL of us.

Hugs,
Betsy

Diva Kreszl said...

love your post on 'nothing'...it would seem you are better at this than I am, I will keep trying though!

spiritualsemaphore said...

I agree with a previous commenter...That vision card is stunning.

I'm glad you've regained you little plot of Nothing, at least for a while. :)

Lucy Ladham-Dyment said...

Love your vision card.

Karen D said...

Thanks for sharing your week of nothing.
I love your vision card, I have had experiences after the snow when all sound is muffled and it does feel like a great nothingness but in a good way!

The Bodhi Chicklet said...

Yes, I'm seeing alot about this book lately. Doing nothing, and concentrating on that is a terrific exercise. I'm happily surprised that you eased into it so well. This book is definitely going on my Christmas list.

Linnea said...

Followed your link over here from my page, and I'm soooo glad I did. I adore Thich Nhat Hanh; Living Buddha Living Christ changed my spiritual life forever. I'm so happy you mentioned the other book.

I love your vision board. The quiet beauty of snow invites the meditative state.

lisaschaos said...

I love my moments of nothingness. :) So refreshing - when I can find them!

Pamela said...

Your vision board is beautiful! Thank you for sharing the breathing technique you used and I agree about finding nothingness in handiwork. It seems to come much easier for me that way.

I look forward to words about this week of truth. :)

Pamela
(blogging at http://blog.sweetsoliloquies.com)

Angie said...

Hello Snap,
Your collage card is great, snow fallen gardens, so silent.
I like the sound of the book you mentioned, will look for it in the library.
My dad who also taught me meditation, has been doing it for years, and he says that he does meditate whilst doing the dishes, painting the house or walking, I haven't gotten to that stage but I do feel stillness whilst doing art, so maybe that can be a start!
Thanks for visiting, Angie :)

Melita said...

i love your nothing, it's very inspiring.

Pink Heels said...

I agree with Thich Nhat Hanh in that meditation can occur while we are moving and our eyes are open. It is open to the soul's desires.

Beth Dargis said...

Your nothing picture was beautiful and peaceful. Thanks for sharing what you know of meditation. Helpful for newcomers like me.

Grammy said...

I am glad you know how to do this. Thanks for sharing the counting way. I will have to try this. And thanks for stopping by. See ya next Friday.

becky n said...

One of the great things about sharing this book with so many is all the different things to try - I like your counting method. And your vision card is very quieting.

A friend just went on a retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh - I look foward to hearing what she has to say about it - he has such wonderful presence. Am not settled enough to be mindful during many activities - but I work on it.

Look forward to next week's post on truth!

GraceGal said...

I enjoy working wiht my hands as well. I like to cut up vegetables for a soup or salad. There is something relaxing about it when our minds are overworked.

expressivehart said...

Your beautiful vision card definitely evokes feelings of calm and quiet. How lovely you find "nothingness" while doing handwork...I imagine it must be quite soothing.

kari said...

beautiful vision cards! i love the images. while i'm not a lover of winter (native minnesotan... too many days of frozen hair in my childhood), i do LOVE your pics.

Kim said...

What a beautiful vision card - the stillness and peace of snow.

I have a terrible time with trying to watch my breath but I find "nothing" when I do handwork,too.

Thank you for the reminder to bring mindfulness to all we do.

Genie Sea said...

I love your vision card. It's stillness beautified! And I really adore the idea of putting up the Do Not Disturb sign! :)

Art Visions said...

Thanks for sharing some of Thich Nhat Hanh's philosophy and teachings. I have to pick up one of his books to read more about him and his point of view. The images here are beautiful...reminds me of winters in Upstate New York where I grew up!

Lisa said...

Your card is simply beautiful, and makes me crave winter! There seem to be a great many of returning to meditation practices that have been lost in the shuffle.... Bravo!

Julia said...

Hi Snap,
You know, I teach meditation to my hypno clients, and forget to do it daily for myself...very common, when all I want to do is more art when I have spare time ...
But then I feel I am not creating from my heart...so I have decided to do a meditation before I start anything now...I
have a two minute "power" metitation, that is really easy to do..., much like the breathing technique you shared....great to see you having time with your grandson and his mum I hope she is okay...xxx