Find Your Center in a Doodle, in a Mug, in a Mantra…

Jan 28, 2015

I admit to having a “dog with a bone” kind of personality. I fall in love with an insight and chew it until it falls apart or yields all its secrets. I also carry it aloft – sharing it with you – as if I had found a precious holy relic or the very best kind of chocolate ever.

My “bone” these days is finding Oases everywhere. I’m obsessed with the idea that I – we! – can use almost anything as a resting spot, a verdant watering hole, and from there, we can more bravely open to what life is bringing.

For example:

Oasis in a Mug

jen-louden-mug
Lilly gave me this mug for Christmas. I’m carrying it with me everywhere, even to buy new glasses and visit my mom – totally unlike me. Sipping ginger tea from it reminds me I am okay, I am loved, and I can handle what life brings. It’s part security totem, part Oasis.
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Chanting Mantra

I chant this mantra in my morning meditation, and then listen throughout the day, especially in the car. I feel enveloped in depth and connection. I love the rendition my friend Eric recorded.

Gazzam Lake

jen-louden-gazzamlake

Not all of my hikes feel like oasis experiences but going to this one lookout over this tiny natural lake on the island does. Maybe because it’s enclosed by trees? Or some grace of energy, but again, I feel held, paused by something other than me.

Boxes

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I love decorating cigar boxes and then putting things in them that I want to contain or feel are contained – thoughts I’m tired of having go in this one. In other boxes, I stash sacred old photos, birth certificates and passports, and one for weird art supplies that feel precious but I don’t know how to use yet.

Shrines

jen-louden-shrine
I have been a shrine lover and a shrine neglecter for 25 years. I love the idea of creating a place that reminds me of what I hold sacred, but I don’t practice a particular faith that utilizes a shrine so I feel like I’m faking it. But lately (yes, since I convened The Oasis), I have been craving ritual and I’ve been tending and creating little shrines. This one is at the top of my studio stairs. First thing every morning, I light the candle and bow and vow to be kind to myself, to focus on what matters without attachment to outcome, and to serve without holding back (sometimes I just ask to get through the day :).

The Doodles

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They both like to bug me a lot during the day by pawing me to pet them, walk them, and throw the scuzzy old lacrosse balls. I get annoyed, but I also try to use these moments to look into their trusting brown eyes and immerse myself in the mystery of living with another species, in that amazing thing called dog.

The Kitchen Hug

jen-and-bobWe both work at home and sometimes we end up in the kitchen at the same time. I will see him through the backdoor (my studio is outside the house) and my whole being lights up. We hug and I remember: it’s all good.

I’m probably taking this idea too far. But the distinction that these things are refueling stations, time outs, reconnecting tools – is working for me. Maybe you want to play with the idea of an Oasis everywhere? Look for them, make them, talk to a friend about this. Not as a place to hide but as a reminder that you are always supported, can always refuel, and can always, always pause.

Love,

Jen

P.S. The doors to The Oasis are open until February 4th, when we close for the sake of creating a strong commitment to ourselves and each other. Listen to an Oasis call here – just scroll down to where it says, “Missed call 1? Listen in here.” – and see if time set aside to listen and be with your whole self, to plan your week, to catch up with your soul, appeals!

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