Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Relaxing Sunrise / Peaceful Sunset

If your life is rushed and you are tired all of the time, chances are that it's been a long times since you've seen a sunrise or sunset.  You might either be sleeping in past the time of the gradual rising of the sun in the morning, and/or most likely rushed to do your evening activities and even if outside, might look right past the glorious colors in the sky as they change and paint themselves against the horizon.

Sitting to watch a sunrise or sunset is something that requires us to be still as we take a moment, stop the car, go out on the deck, look out the window, or just stand still long enough to watch the transition of colors as they gradually change and morph from pinks and reds and lavenders, to reds and finally blues or grays.  It's an activity that causes us to pause for a moment and just breath in the landscape, but it doesn't last forever, and therefore if our life is rushed and our mind is too busy, we miss it for another day.

As we all know, the sun is not actually "rising" or "setting"... it's simply appearing and disappearing in our awareness as the earth rotates, just like thoughts appear and disappear in our mind as we travel through our day.  As the earth rotates, the sun comes into our field of perception and lights up the sky with an array of colors which bounce off the clouds and objects around us in a way that many have called, magical.  Photographers love these times of the day because the colors become very pronounced and dynamic.

There was a time long ago when we humans slept and woke with the appearance and disappearance of the sun, so our ancestors most likely saw many more sunrises and sunsets than we do today.  In comparison, we have to make an extra effort in these modern days to put ourselves in the path of a sunrise or sunset in order to not miss it.

The fullest colors of these dynamic images in the sky last about 15 to 30 minutes, so the next time you find yourself catching a glance from the corner of your eye, see if there is a safe place to pull the car over, or somewhere to sit for a moment, or even just allow yourself five silent moments of observation from a window or other space where you can reconnect with the peacefulness of the natural rotation of the earth you are a living part of.  Let your eyes relax into the brilliant colors before you as they gently morph from one color to the next.  Let your breathing slow and your shoulders relax and try to remember who you are outside of the hustle and bustle of your contemporary daily life.

Thanks to Hartwig HKD for the great art in photography - Meditation at the Lake

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Painting your way to a Stress Free life

Art Therapy is among the many techniques used by psychotherapists and is one of the more creative.  It’s excellent for individuals who express themselves in a more nonverbal form of communication that allows them to tap into their more artistic crafts.

One of the more common types of artistic expression is painting, which is very versatile and holds many options for colorful expression in oil or water.  Through painting, the artist can tap into the depths of the human emotion and disappear into the details of the landscape or object which she or he is putting to canvas.

There can be a lot of rules to painting, but at the same time painting can also be a new way for a mature mind to let go and become a kid again.  Many people find painting to be very relaxing and a way to escape the constricted world of rules and order, and where one can freely create a depiction of reality, or a whole new creation that comes from the depths of one’s soul.

Like gardening or cooking, painting has an aspect to it that allows the creator to apply her or his own personality to the mix.  A creation takes place and gives the artist a sense of control as well as free flowing play.

You don’t have to be a pro to enjoy some playful painting.  Water and oil paint sets for beginners are fairly affordable and many come with starter canvases and perhaps even a beginner’s book to give you the basics.  Outside of that, your only task is to provide yourself with the time and space, as well as a relaxing and undisturbed environment to let the creative juices flow.

Thanks to Dean Hochman for his great photo brushes

Friday, July 10, 2015

The Relaxing Element of Water

Water is the very substance we come from, which surrounds  and holds us as we grow in the human womb.  The gentle sound of water in nature is something we often crave and long to get back to as frequently as possible. 

We find this natural element in the sound of the waterfall, the lulling drumming of a creek or river as it flows by, and even in a basic water fountain--be it decoratively set on the end of a small table, or taking up the entire corner of a room.

The relaxing lull of a water fountain can be used for meditation with its gentle flowing or trickling sound, which can help to focus the mind in order to keep it from wandering to stressful memories or worries. 

If you have the opportunity during your day to find a water source, you can sit and soak in the relaxing sound no matter where it is.  Many cities have water fountains just outside some major buildings, and some businesses have built-in court yards with fountains or ponds for people to sit by and enjoy.  In most states you can also enjoy natural water sources like creeks and rivers, as well as waterfalls and lakes, as you venture out onto trails and open spaces.

If none of these are available to you, there are an abundant number of natural water sound CD's and even videos that can be found to order and enjoy on your audio player or TV screen.  With your eyes closed you can use the power of your imagination to match the scenery in your mind's eye with the sound of the water on these recorded resources.

If you've been away from a water source for too long, you may find yourself craving the need to get away from it all and go find a nice stream to sit by in order to center your mind for a while.  It's important not to ignore this pull from nature, which calls to us now and then to remember where we come from.

Thanks to Luke Addison for his great photo Water Flow 2