Need an activity to curbe your anxiety? PHOTO DUMP is one of my favorite writing prompts and activities that keeps my anxiety at bay. Once a week, not only will you:
-Clean out your camera roll
-Stay organized technologically
But you will also reflect on moments that you deemed photo-worthy. You’ll work on your memory recall, and exercise your writing muscle!
When you write about your ‘PHOTO DUMP, choose 10-15 photos in your camera roll. Then, explain what you see to a person. You must select a specific person.
For example, tell your coworker Sheryll about what she is looking at in the 15 photos! Tell your grandma about what you see! Tell your best friend! You take on different tones, depending on what you are describing and who you are describing it to.
I love this writing prompt and have been using it for years. Enjoy! Today, I am describing what I see to my best friend, Adrianna. See photo captions!
For this week’s guided meditation, we will be visiting Ocotillo Wells. Let’s get ready to find peace in the Southern California desert!
Estimated practice time: 15 minutes
Start practice in: Savasana, Sukhasana, or in a supported Chair
As we get started, begin to close your eyes and scan the body. We must scan ourselves head to toe, removing any future distractions. Feet and toes are unclenched as you start to ground down in your comfortable pose. Let your belly relax, and start to tap into the rhythm of your breath, perhaps for the first time today. If you are able, start to breathe in and out through the nose with steady and even inhales, exhales. You are always welcome to breathe in and out through the mouth, especially if the nose is not an option for you today. Strive to breathe in and out through the nose, as you activate ujayii pranayama.
Face is at peace, as you relax your forehead, unfurrow your brow, and open and close the jaw a few times. You are welcome to yawn…
Swish back and forth your spiritual mouthwash as your relax the cheeks…
Imagine wiggling your ears and choosing clear and conscious communication for the rest of the day. We are ready to begin our visualization. As you keep your eyes closed, take note of any colors or sensations that you start to notice through the eyelids. Bright bursts of color and shapes tend to shine through the eyes as we travel to the sunny deserts of eastern San Diego.
A panoramic view of desert colors unfolds in front of you- soft tans and creams, light yellow flowers, dark brown rocks, and bright blue skies. Soft, fluffy white clouds pass freely in front of you, as you feel the desert breeze brush against your face. You take in more of the colors that surround you- hints of subdued green from cactus and ocotillo branches, light purple flowers dance in the wind, and deep dark black ravens fly overhead. At peace, you start to match your breath the ebb and flow of the wind that surrounds you on this warm, sunny day.
The sun shines down on your face as you feel the warmth of the sun give you a bath. Like a lizard baking in the sunshine atop a rock, you continue to feel sun on your shoulders, your arms, and watch as chills and goosebumps run all down your skin. Enjoy your sunbath. As you slip off your flip flops, set the bare soles of your feet on top of the hot sand. Not too hot, not too cold, you feel its radiating warmth underneath your grounded feet. Sparkles and glimmers of gold specks wink and dance in front of you, as you keep looking down to your toes. A bright Orange butterfly gracefully flutters past you, dancing and bobbing with the wind across the sky.
Up ahead, you see a brown, inviting, primitive and quaint desert dwelling. The porch is old and sagging, the roof is discolored and bare, but the heart of the home calls you closer. As you take a closer look at the porch of this desert house, you notice a large wooden rocking chair, available and waiting for you to take a seat. Underneath the shade of the porch, you hear the creak of your footsteps as you walk across the wooden deck, making your way to this noble, knowing chair.
You find a rhythmic rock back and forth, as you slowly sink into the chair and align your breath to movement. As you slowly rock forward, you inhale through the nose. As you rock backwards, you exhale. Find your rhythm, find your prana flow, and guide yourself through 10 rounds of breath as you sit in your rocking chair.
Exhale- roll x5
Still in your rocking chair, still meditating on your desert porch, you feel and hear the wind start to pick up. As you look out over the desert horizon, you see an eagle, a hawk, and a raven surfing with the winds of change. You watch these three massive birds of prey effortlessly float with the wind. Not fighting the wind, not swimming upstream, these birds are one with the earth. The birds continue to dance and caw, teasing with one another in the desert’s playground in the sky.
One of the birds makes its descent, slowly, to your desert dwelling. Knowing he is safe and welcome, he stops and perches on the stoop of your porch, appreciating the divine connection that you are having with one another.Which bird came to visit you? Of the three birds that danced in the sky, one has chosen to visit you and send you blessings. A message of peace and intuition, this magnificent bird reminds you of how truly knowing and wise you are and have always been.
You spend a moment, at one with the bird and the shade of the porch, listening to the gentle creak of your rocking chair. Finally, you find stillness, and close your eyes as you firmly press the soles of your feet down onto the ground. As you lightly bow and tuck your chin in towards the chest, the bird knows that our ritual is complete. Slowly crouching, ready to take flight, the bird lifts off the porch, gives you a gentle CAW, and leaves you in solitude on your desert porch.
You are welcome to stay here, as your desert house is always available to you. At any time, you can close your eyes, settle into the body and mind, and take yourself on a creative vision quest to your dilapidated house out in Ocotillo wells, where the wind whistles gently through your hair and the birds always notice lifeform. As you prepare yourself to leave your house, for now, you thank it and wish it well. Bless your home, and remind yourself how grateful you are to have this house to rely on. To protect you from wind, from prey, from sun, and from dark thoughts. A safe space tucked away in the desert, farewell abode and thank you for your offerings.
Begin to slowly wiggle your fingers and toes, as you start to find consciousness. If you feel naturally guided towards further meditation, I would continue to stay in your restful place. Fall asleep, take savasana, or continue to walk around the inside of your desert home.
If you are feeling invigorated, alive, and reset, it is time to open your eyes and find consciousness. Bring your hands to hearts center, and take a deep breath in. Hold. Take a deep, open mouth exhale.
The light and the teacher in me is honored to guide the teacher and light in you- NAMASTE! -Xo Kelli
Does anyone else love a romantic cooking date with themselves?
I absolutely love hosting space for other people, cooking for le husband, and trying new recipes. However, I don’t think I realize how long it has been since I truly cooked for myself, and exactly how I wanted it!
Even if you are happily coexisting with others, it is still incredibly important to spend time alone. You truly do not realize how much you cater to other people and their needs until you take them out of the equation! It takes time and energy when you are constantly thinking, Does Linda like this hot sauce, is there enough food for two people, is there enough for seconds, When will Sam be hungry? These small and considerate thoughts are constant for an empath, and it is important to have scheduled times where you turn these thoughts off.
When Josh told me he was taking his brother out for burgers and beer, I knew it was time for me to cook my spicy, teensy tiny tacos, exactly the way I wanted them!
Totally and always, Gluten free, Dairy free, Vegan
-add corn, chopped cauliflower, 1 cup of your favorite salsa (15m)
-WARM UP YO ’tillas
-spread refried beans onto tortilla as GLUE
-garnish with: raw onion, raw green onion, red romaine lettuce, garlic hummus
Makes- 12 street tacos (about 3 full meals). This continued to be my lunch and dinner the next day!
My self-care routine always included the moving meditation of a homecooked meal for myself. A quick tap into the present moment, tangible work with your hands, and the love language of food- it calms me immediately!
Try to cook yourself exactly what you want when you are feeling anxious or worried. The repetition of chopping, stirring, and cleaning the kitchen really has been a powerful tool to take my mind off of my concerns and to dive deeply into the present moment. I am so incredibly grateful that I learned this life skill about 6 years ago. I had a fabulous therapist (miss you, Tabitha!) who introduced me to chopping vegetables to curb my panic attacks. My fear-based thinking wanted me to resist using sharp objects while anxious, but never in 6 years have a cut my finger during this moving meditation!
When the anxiety is brewing, clear off your kitchen counter and clean out the fridge. Chop and meal prep everything that you have. *also a pro-waste free tip* typically takes 20 minutes, and it is a total win-win for curbing your anxiety and setting yourself up for the week.
I love teaching teen yoga! Some days, we practice asana. Some days, we practice meditation and breathing. And some days, we color!
I have ample coloring books at home, and took the time to photocopy the pages that had powerful words of affirmation. Faith, love, and smiles accompanied the coloring pages and pencils that I brought for 90+ teen girls to play with!After a few rounds of breath, intention setting, and card pulling, we had an hour to color. Students were able to decorate the halls with their mandalas, or take them home to gift to loved ones.
Strips of colored (and recycled) construction paper were provided to write letters of gratitude and leave them on windshields, lockers, and purses of loved ones. No one regrets a handwritten note attached to an act of kindness. Moving meditation is powerful. Coloring and connecting with OMies is a great way to team-build, as well as practicing Saucha etiquette of cleanliness and shared tools/space.
I loved coloring with the teens, as well as pulling cards from Thich Nhat Hanh’s EVERYDAY PEACE CARDS. I found this deck at a funky bookstore in Oakland, CA. May you find bliss in the ritual, share it with others, and take time to reflect on why it really matters. This is a great itinerary for a group of 12-18 year olds, lasting us about 65-70 minutes of play.
I have always loved greeting cards! An avid collector, my mother always knows to fill my Christmas stocking with blank stationary and writing utensils. Ah, the lovely feeling of crisp and clean office supplies!
The love language of the written word is a dying art, and I love sending personalized snail mail to my loved ones. There is ALWAYS something to be grateful for! For this edition of Thankful Thursdays, I wanted to revisit one of my favorite rituals and moving meditations- writing thank you letters!You will need- a small box or storage crate to keep all of your gratitude belongings in. I suggest repurposing something you already have! Ideas: a basket, galvanized bucket, suitcase, hat box, purse, crate, shoe box, empty drawer or shelf. It really depends on how many materials you have!
All envelopes, stamps and cards that we own are in this milk crate, featured in the photos above and below. Thanks Jamaica for giving this metal wonder to us! It is an excellent idea to store all of your items in one place, Marie Kondo style. Always have stamps that bring you joy handy.When I am feeling anxious for long periods of time, I need rituals to activate a mental reboot. Disconnecting from my phone, staying home to clean the house, chopping vegetables, and writing are some of my favorite moving rituals that help me get out of a lull. My gratitude station is also one of these healing modalities I turn to.
There are days where I will be ridden with guilt. Guilt that my loved ones don’t know how much I care, guilt from overanalyzing, guilt from being a recovering people pleaser. Guilt for feeling guilty! Enough. I need to transfer this energy and refuel my soul. I need a DRISHTI shift, a perspective overhaul. I stop, drop, and reflect on who I am really grateful for. I truly shift my guilt to gratitude.
I reflect on who I appreciate most in that present moment. I write their names on an envelope FIRST, get out my favorite colored markers, and thank them. Sometimes words and poems, sometimes drawings and stick figures, I always have a warm and fuzzy feeling in my heart after I send mail.This week, I sent a special thank you to my parents, my best friend and our weekly coffee dates that I will never take for granted, and to everyone that has donated items to our collective. I received so many lovely books to use as refills for Free Little Libraries across San Diego. Click here to read more about my endeavors!
Set yourself up for success! I have always lived by the principle that the medium is the message. If the pen pisses you off, keep hunting til you find a pen that brings you joy. Don’t like the greeting cards you have? Donate them! Make your own with computer paper and creativity. Order cards that you love from local artists that bring you joy. Farmers markets, Trader Joe’s, and local book stores are great places to find inexpensive stationary to make your grateful dreams come true!
Pro tip- buy the card you would want to receive 🙂 Pick out what you want for yourself, and send it to others. Live a little, love a lot!