By Lolly Forsythe-Chisolm
The falling leaves of our beautiful autumn have inspired this expressive arts activity. In an article titled, Fall Meditation to Embody Openness and Self-Reflection, author Tris Thorp from the Chopra Center, encourages embracing change and letting go.
This expressive arts project is designed to encourage you to notice certain habits of thought which no longer serve your best interest, and to begin the valuable process of replacing the thought with a new word that suits your best interest. It is important to start this process with the realization that these thoughts were put into place in your mind at another time in your life – just like the tree lets go of the leaves as a process of growth and rebirth.
The plan is that each criticism floating through your everyday thoughts needs mindful self-awareness and evaluation. The letting-go process can be guided by self-compassion along with a sense of releasing. Words matter and the most important words are not the ones you speak to others but the ones you speak by habit, recklessly and carelessly to yourself. These are the words that have the power to make or break the energy you bring to others. The limiting and critical words you speak to yourself can be the energy others feel when they are in your presence.
Ideas and Options
Write all the words you use when speaking to yourself which you know you want to change onto your colorful leaves. The word you are releasing on top and the word you are now focusing upon on the bottom. (See example above.) Glue them on your blue sky paper. Hang the paper where you can see it as a reminder - when you hear yourself say the word, do a simple breathwork reminder to switch to your more powerful word.
Take 20 Days – Have your leaves cut out and on your desk or on the kitchen table. Use mindfulness connection times (for example – lunch, dinner or bed time) and do a mental check-in to notice if there was a word you used during the day which you want to replace and/or evaluate.
Children, Friends, Family Members – Work on this project as a group – create your beautiful leaves together. Ask children to think about when they have made a mistake and how that feels. Help them gently explore thinking about the words they say to themselves that can end up making them feel embarrassed or sad. Teaching/learning/experiencing mindful thinking benefits us at any age; helping this self-evaluation habit to form early can be a best practice modeling activity.
Email me with questions or if you are stuck when thinking about a way to create a more powerful word for a limiting word. Also email me how you used this project and the results that gave you pause. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Artist: Lolly Forsythe-Chisolm
Lolly Forsythe-Chisolm is a Mind/Body Specialist for the Inpatient Integrative Medicine team. Email her at email@example.com with any questions and/or with special ways you are using this activity and how it has influenced your days. She'd also like to hear your ideas and how healing arts have helped you!
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