Meditations For Chaotic Times - a mini workshop
May 14 2021
Ahead of The Online Clown Academy's Clowning Out Of Chaos Conference (21-23 May), I offered a wee workshop exploring meditations for chaotic times via Facebook Live.
I made a slightly edited version for you to participate along with wherever you are. You can find the video here.
In this video, I begin by talking about the Clowning Out of Chaos Conference; in which we'll be asking questions such as: how can we clown with inner and outer chaos? Is clowning even the right thing to do in times of chaos? To explore these questions, we'll be offering a programme of events including a clown cabaret, laughter yoga workshops with Suzy Harvey, a Mindful Play taster session with me, an Activist Clown taster session with Robyn Hambrook, a panel discussion and an Open Space session where you get to set the agenda for what happens.
I asked the audience what they do in times of chaos to help me get grounded and centred. Their list included; make a cup of tea, nature times, jump in a lake, playfight, organise and clean things, shift the hyper focus, meditate and cook food. I notice that this list is full of simple actions to nourish, bring people into their bodies, release the tension, shift the focus or place themselves in a calmer environment.
I spoke about how easy it is to get sucked out of ourselves and swept up in the vortex of chaos. I explained how I've been practicing for many years, ways to stay still in the eye of the storm, admitting that I'm not always successful at this - I sometimes get swirled around in the chaos and spat out - but that's life! The simple, body based practices that I share in this workshop are some of the things I do in times of chaos. I finding sitting meditation really hard when things are chaotic, because my brain is fretting and planning and catastrophising; it's difficult to be in my body when there's chaos inside or outside, so I do these physical practices to get myself back into my body. Here they are:
Stamp your feet on the ground to feel your connection with the earth, release your breath. Then pummel your legs from thighs to feet, noticing the connection between your hands and your legs. Take it up to your belly, chest, down and up one arm, then down and up the other. Vary the quality of the pressure, find the level of contact that feels good for you. Take it up to your face and scalp- what kind of touch feels good for you? Focussing on the contact between your hands and your body. Swoosh off a layer of dust from your whole body. Then rest and notice how you feel.
Breathe out slowly through a small hole in your lips, imagine the breath going down the front of your body. With the in breath, imagine your breath travelling under your feet, up your back body, over your head and back up your nostrils. Do 9 of these circular breaths. Then let your breath fall into a natural rhythm and notice the impact that's had on you.
Lighting the fire of the imagination. Imagine you're inside a safe and protective bubble. What colour feels safe for you? Imagine the bubble is that colour. What is your bubble made out of? Is there anything soft on the inside of your bubble? Are there any smells or sounds in your bubble? Take a moment to rest in your bubble, allow your body to relax and take in the safety. You then have the option to pop your bubble or shrink it down into a onsie that you can wear.
Take a mindful sip of water (or you can do this with the saliva in your mouth), hold it in your mouth, feel it, stay connected with it as you swallow the liquid. Bring a little bit of the quality of water into your body, starting with little circles with your head and neck. Bring in your shoulders, arms, spine, pelvis, legs; gradually finding your way into soft, watery motion. You can leave your chair and move around your space in a watery way. Releasing the breath. Encountering the objects in your space like a gentle stream- moving in and out, over and under, easily. Perhaps you come across something chaotic - approach it as water - flowing over it, under it maybe tickling it. Keep the watery-ness but make it incrementally smaller until you land in stillness. Notice how you are in your body and heart.
At the end of the meditation, I asked the participants to share any comments or insights they had about the meditations. The safe onesie was the biggest hit!
If you're eager to get a bit more of this, I will be offering a Mindful Play taster workshop at the Clowning Out Of Chaos Conference during the weekend of the 21-23 May.
I will be running a 5-week Mindful Play Inquiry Online course starting 3rd June.
I did another mini workshop, exploring ways to clown with chaos, which you can find here.