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Mindfulness Garden Games
by Joann Calabrese
author of Growing Mindful
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Working with Focus Words

This is a mindfulness practice and an experiment I began in January of  2017.   I chose one word or concept each week, usually inspired my my garden or the green world and then wrote a blog post about it.

The focus words provided a filter to experience and view the world.  My goal for each concept has been to develop a deeper understanding of it and integrate the idea into my life in a more practiced way.  It has helped me to move beyond knowing about something intellectually and have it really reside in my being.

This idea  also simplified my mindfulness and spiritual practice.  There are hundreds of concepts that touch on deeper truths and values. Just a few include: connectedness, breath, kindness, community, listening, right speech, justice, eating consciously, flow, peace, and love. It can be challenging to keep all of them uppermost in our consciousness. But, since everything is connected, I could conceivably start anywhere and pull that thread to reach them all.  I think the trick is to go deeper with any one of them and not get stuck in some surface understanding of any concept.  If you are interested in this practice you can check out any of my blog posts from 2017 and into 2018.

There are a myriad of ways to work with focus words but life gets busy and we might get to the end of the day and find we didn’t focus on the concept at all.  Here are a few recommendations for success:

  1. Begin and end each day with the focus concept. Take a few minutes in the morning to contemplate the word(s) and write a few  sentences in a journal about them.  At the end of the day, do the same.  This doesn’t have to be long. If you are new to journaling, you should know that there are no rules. You can write in sentences or not.  Observe grammar rules or not. Draw pictures, graphs, maps, or whatever represents your connection to the concept.
  2. Find ways to remind yourself of the concept throughout the day.  Note cards and post-it-notes are great tools.  You may  also want to use reminders on your phone.  When you see the reminder, stop for a moment and breathe with the concept or word.  Let the concept seep into the cells of your being.
  3. Get some colored pencils and draw your impression of the concept and post your drawings around your house or workspace.

Let me know if you have other ideas for working with the weekly concepts.

        Bee Balm




2 thoughts on “Working with Focus Words”

  1. I am sorry to hear a loved one is ill. It’s such a challenge to stay in the “all is well” mindset when someone you love is struggling! Comforting thoughts and prayers are headed your way.


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