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Mindfulness Monday: How to wake up with the birds

If you've been following along our social media, for awhile now we have been sharing the occasional "Mindfulness Monday" tips and tools on ways to be present and set intentions in your daily life.

When I first started learning about meditation, I would devote 20+ min, 2-3 times a day just to sit and be with my thoughts. Sometimes I'd do a guided meditation, sometimes incorporating yoga or walking. I really needed that at that time, as I was overcoming personal obstacles and emotional family challenges. But as time marched on, I wasn't always able to keep up with that practice.

Day-to-day life, work, kids sports, you name it - we all struggle to find balance in our routines. Even more so when you have other people, bosses or children that rely on your time. It can be difficult to prioritize self-care and our own mental and physical health.

Just like physical exercise, when I take days off of meditation, I definitely notice a difference in the way I feel. Might not be huge, and might not happen right away, but allowing too much time to go by without doing that “self check” can cause a chain of ill-effects.

 

I think of it like running an antivirus security check software program for a computer - but on myself. If I don’t run that system check, clear the cache, and remove unwanted spyware, those things will catch up later on down the road. How did that unwanted “pop-up” effect me this week? Am I running at my optimal performance level?

Insert your own metaphor in the comments - would love to see what you guys come up with!

 

It does become much easier to do it when there’s a routine, and a tool to help.


Incorporating a daily mindfulness/meditation practice into my coffee routine seemed like the perfect fit. I may forget to meditate, but I would never forget to make my morning coffee! Tying the two together insured a reasonable way to get my daily dose of meditation.


I started using affirmations as a way to set my intentions, one day at a time. Every time I brewed and enjoyed a cup of coffee, it would remind me to take a deep breath and take that personal inventory at the start of my day.


Last week, while brewing up a cup of our Lucky Buckeye Candy (a local favorite, but also so fun for this time of year with St. Patty’s Day coming up!) I noticed the sky was getting brighter, the sun was starting to rise a little earlier in morning, which ultimately means WINTER IS ALMOST OVER! After a quick happy dance, I poured myself a cup of coffee and began some deep breathing.


My house was still quiet, and almost immediately I heard the birds chirping outside. A small gesture really, but in that present moment, I realized I was not the only one who was doing a happy dance over this morning’s sunshine. The quieter I tried to become, the louder the chirping began to grow.

Recent bird paintings done by my daughter and myself.

I tried to come back to my affirmation and breathing.

“I am prepared for what comes into my life. I use my tools to create the life I want.”

I wrote this one down a few weeks ago when I was feeling overwhelmed with bookkeeping, calendar-keeping, and generally trying to wrap my head around the coming months. It’s been good reminder to create less work for myself in the future, so I can actually enjoy the moment.


By using my tools (i.e. my mobile planning apps, online bookkeeping/budgeting, meal planners, deep breathing, etc) I can create the life I desire.

<deep breathing>

*Birds singing on MAX level at this point*

My mind wandered to a time last spring when my daughter and I were sitting on the back patio. I was having my morning coffee and I had pointed out a robin in the yard that looked ready to lay her eggs. My daughter, who was just over 2 years old at the time, began talking about the sounds birds make, mimicking the “tweet tweet” and then starting “whoo hoo-ing”.

“That’s an owl. Owls say ‘whoo hoo’.” I corrected her.

“I hear the owl!” she proclaimed.

I was surprised to think that an owl would be anywhere near our small backyard, but as I closed my eyes to listen better, I hear the “WHOO HOO” coming from the large tree in the neighbor’s yard. Wow, she was right!


Ever since then, I have really looked forward to going on our back patio early enough in the morning to still hear the sounds of the night owl. But it will have to wait until it’s a little warmer, it’s still win…

Oh, yeah! I’m supposed to be meditating… back to my breathing.

“I am prepared for what comes into my life. I use my tools to create the life I want.”

By the time I said it in my head again, my oldest was zombie stomping into the kitchen, begging for breakfast and my youngest was announcing to everyone “I AM AWAKE” from her bed. Time was up for now, but it was enough of a reset to come out of it with a clear vision of something I wanted to manifest in the coming spring months. 

My intentions were set, I would begin to prepare my backyard/patio space for the warmer mornings ahead. A space where I could meditate, read, create, play, anything I wanted!

Today, I can create the space in my life for everything I want.

That day, we made these easy bird feeders and hung them in the backyard. Ensuring our feathered friends would be back around and we could enjoy our mornings together in the coming months.

“I am prepared for what comes into my life. I use my tools to create the life I want.”

Peace, love & coffee,

Dianna

Homemade Bird Feeders

Supplies:

Peanut Butter

Rice Cakes

String or Ribbon

Scissors

Bird Seed

Paper Plate

Use a chopstick, skewer or carefully use your scissors to poke a hole through the rice cakes. Attached your string or ribbon.

Spread peanut butter evenly over the rice cake, then dip in bird seed to coat.


We also created a stack-able version for the Woodpecker and Cardinal types…

Cut a hole through the plate, tie off your string (I used a piece of tape to secure), and begin stringing your rice cakes. Putting a little peanut butter between the layers, continue stacking. Coat around the cakes with peanut butter and press on your bird seed.

That’s it! Be sure to hang them next to branches they can sit on while they eat. My daughter insisted we also sing “Happy Birthday” to the birds while hanging them. That part is optional :) Within just a few minutes we had some birds coming over to snack!




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