You are going to speak around 7,000 words today. How’re you going to use them? Is this a question you’ve ever asked yourself before? Unless I’m voicing an opinion or responding to an important question, I don’t give much thought to what comes out of my mouth before it does. Sometimes that’s not such a good thing. Pondering this, I realize how unmindful I am about my own internal reactions and their verbal by-products.
It’s a sobering thought. I think most of us can safely say we quietly criticize others internally. That negative criticism is an indication things inside of us “aren’t quite on straight.” That other person is mirroring this inner disturbance to us and the opportunity has been presented to make peace with it. Unfortunately, instead of making that inner peace, we tend to project it physically at unsuspecting victims with our words. Most of the time, we don’t realize we’re doing it. We lack mindfulness. In that lack we are outwardly hurting ourselves and others, and continuing internal thought patterns that aren’t serving us in any positive way.
The Dalai Lama said:
“The very purpose of spirituality is self-discipline. Rather than criticizing others, we should evaluate and criticize ourselves. Ask yourself, what am I doing about my anger, my attachment, my pride, my jealousy? These are the things we should check in our day to day lives.”
We need to be more mindful.
As I sat pondering all of this I asked myself:
“When I put all those critical thoughts into spoken words, what kind of tapestry is it I’m really weaving? Is it one I’d want to hang proudly in my home? Would I show it off to the neighbors?”
The answer was a resounding “NO.”
That knocked me back a step, so I took it one step further. I sat and watched my critical thoughts and words, both of others and of myself.
I asked myself, “What colors and textures would this tapestry have?”
I shuddered. The colors were repulsive to me. If this tapestry were cloth and clothing was cut from it, would I want to buy it? Would I wear it? Never. My eyes wouldn’t even linger on it. See the irony?
If my thoughts and my un-mindful words were clothes, I would never consciously choose to wear them. If I was forced to wear these clothes, I wouldn’t want to leave the house and I certainly wouldn’t feel good wearing them. But this is exactly what I, and many of us, do. We’re weaving cloth we would never hang in our homes or wear on our bodies. We can change this, however, with regular exercises in mindfulness.
Becoming more mindful is not an easy task. It’s like making a New Year’s resolution. When you first make it, you’re devoted to it but life has a way of marching all over the top of it and it eventually it goes forgotten. This is why it’s important to make it fun. We all love doing fun things and if we can make becoming more mindful an enjoyable task, we’re more likely to invite the habit into our lives on a regular basis.
The Word-Tapestry Writing Challenge:
If we could mindfully choose the colors and patterns of the tapestry we are internally weaving, what would they be?
Every day we’ll be creating two imaginary cloths or tapestries. You’ll need to sit quietly for just a few minutes and visualize what your inner tapestry currently looks like first. Then visualize what you would like it to look like on that day and write about both of them in detail. Every Monday I will post a reminder. Choose your best and post it on the “The Word-Tapestry Writing Challenge” post for the week. It doesn’t need to be posted on Monday specifically; just any time during the week is fine. If you blog, include a link to your post.
Be as specific and detailed as you can. Really get in touch with what the current tapestry looks and feels like. Is it heavy and dark? Does it portray violent feudal scenes? Is it drab and plain? Don’t be shy. Maybe on some days it’s not a tapestry at all but a costume or clothes. Let it be what it needs to be.
Then, imagine what tapestry, costume or clothes you would rather be creating. Be as bold and vivid as you can. Really let yourself fly. This isn’t about Paris fashion or artistic ability; this is about opening your heart and yourself to your current state of being and creating the one you really want.
Be as mindful as you can both in your visualizing and your written description. Include colors, scenes, patterns, decorations and embellishments, and textures.
Thoughts are things. Spoken words (and in this case, written words) are thoughts manifested into the physical world. By becoming more mindful, you are creating the “You” you really want to be. Let’s create some amazing art and decorate the world one tapestry at a time!
Look for the first post and more information on Monday!