It’s the Little Things: Creating a Mantra

DenaMarch 31, 2011

So far, Spring has been really good to me! I’ve been taking lovely walks in the forest with Matthew & Bella (our dog); spending time chasing my sweet nephew around the park; and taking time to meditate & manifest happiness every day.

It’s also been incredibly busy. I’ve got a lot going on right now. I’m blogging, speaking, coaching, tutoring, and I just launched my 60-Day Spring Fitness Challenge! Phew. With everything going on, it’s been easy for me to feel overwhelmed. I’ve found myself experiencing a lot of of anxiety lately and I even suffered my first panic attack in several years! Not good. Something needed to change.

The other day I came across this quote on Twitter that really spoke to me:

“Take the time to stop and BE the flowers.” —Albert Hoffman

I loved it because it takes the idea of “take time to smell the flowers” one step further. It reminded me that I need to slow down; but it also reminded me that slowing down is not enough. In addition to slowing down, I need to be the change that I wish to see in the world. I spent a few minutes reflecting on that thought. It’s great to have the intention to “slow down, be the flowers, be the change” but the reality is that the craziness of life often gets in the way. When your daily schedule is packed to the gills & you’re racing from one thing to the next, your intention to “slow down” often goes right out the window.

My nephew's first set of wheels!

And that’s when I got the idea to start creating a daily mantra for myself. Mantra is defined as being any sacred word or syllable used as an object of concentration and embodying some aspect of spiritual power. You may be familiar with the mantra: Om. We often hear people repeating the Om mantra during meditation or yoga. A mantra can be anything. It is simply a sound, a word, or a few words that serve as a reminder of your intention.

I use mantras during meditation. When I am meditating I use the word Buddha to help me focus on my breathing. In my head, I say Bu on the inhale and ddha on the exhale. Using a mantra is one of the best ways to focus. It gives your mind a focal point so that it does not drift in a million different directions like it wants to.

Since my anxiety was getting out of hand and my schedule showed no signs of slowing, I decided to begin using a daily mantra to focus & restore balance to my soul. I have been using my mantra for a couple of days now and the results have been astounding! On the day that I created my mantra, shortly after I woke up I sat down to meditate for a few minutes. I cleared my mind and attempted to manifest my mantra for the day. And then it came to me like a flash of lightning: Focus on peace.

My favourite spot in the forest -- the magick pond

A large part of what has been causing my recent anxiety has been a lack of peace—lack of peace in the world, lack of peace among my colleagues/friends, lack of peace everywhere. It was weighing me down. In my meditation, I realized that if I want to see peace around me, then I need to BE PEACE within me. I remembered that our lives move in the direction of our most dominant thoughts. Focus on peace was born.

“There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.” —Unknown

Every time that I feel myself becoming overwhelmed, I close my eyes and repeat my mantra to myself: Focus on peace. It reminds me that I can not control what people are doing around me. I can not control the state of the world. But I can absolutely control what goes on in my mind, my heart, my soul. I choose peace. My mantra serves as a reminder of this. Since creating my mantra, I have not felt a sense of overwhelm. If I begin to feel anxious I repeat my mantra & my peace is restored. I will carry this mantra with me until I am ready for a new one.

Me, Matthew, & Baby Brian

I hope that you will create your own mantra. Sit down for a few moments and think about what you need to be reminded of and then make it your personal mantra. Whenever you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed or losing focus, repeat your mantra to yourself.

This post is also about slowing down & taking time to appreciate the little things in life. It contains a few pictures from the past month of my life taken with a disposable camera. It brings me great joy to look at these photographs and reflect upon all of the little things that make my life exquisitely beautiful. I hope that you will enjoy these snapshots as much as I do. 🙂

What are the little things that bring joy to your life?

In love & light,

Comments (7)

  • Michelle Sutton

    March 31, 2011 at 8:34 am

    I find myself speeding through my day as well. I need to slow down.. The little things that bring a smile to my face is watching my son explore and play. He is 18 months old and he does the cutest things he makes me laugh!!

    1. Dena

      March 31, 2011 at 10:51 am

      @ Michelle – Your little boy is so sweet! I love when your share photographs of him — such a precious angel. I am sure that he brings immense joy to your life. It is so beautiful watching you unfold as a mother. You are a special person with a most beautiful soul. I am always grateful for your friendship.

      @ Dawn – If you are unable to clarify your thoughts and determine where you need to focus, it is likely because you are unable to meditate. I truly believe that if you can not meditate, even for just 3 minutes — you will not be able to think clearly or focus. The first step is taking just three minutes to meditate. All you need to do is stop what you are doing & close your eyes. The key to meditation is to quiet the mind. The key to quieting the mind is to focus on your breathing.

      Since you are clearly over-thinking, you are most likely breathing shallow. Shallow breathing causes rapid heart rate & conversely, deep breathing causes a slower heart rate. Take a deep breath in through your nostrils. Let the air flow through your chest & deep into the pit of your stomach. Allow your stomach to expand, like a balloon, as it fills with air. Then slowly exhale through your nose and expel all of the air from your body. Breathe in deeply again, allowing the air to fill your stomach as before. Each time you inhale, take in the positive energy & light around you. Let it fill & calm your soul. Each time you exhale, push out your negative energy & fear. Continue to do this until you feel calm.

      Once you have done this ten times, you will feel your heart rate slow. As you are focused on your breathing, you will notice that all of the noise in your head finally becomes quiet. Now you are in a position to focus on your true essence. When your mind is in this quiet space focus intensely on the darkness behind your closed eyes. Your true spirit will speak to you. It will tell you where you need to place your focus. When you have that knowledge, create your mantra! Make it short, simple, & powerful. I recommend no more than two or three words.

      Let me know if this works!

  • Dawn

    March 31, 2011 at 9:00 am

    I have been wanting to do this for sooo long. One of my problems that has made it so difficult is my ability to over think things. I just can’t seem to simplify my desires enough to come up with something that is acturate to what I need.

    Can you offer a suggestion on how to simply clarify my thoughts to determine where it is I truely need to focus, so I can at least start there…

    xoxox Perfect timing as usual btw.

  • James Moffitt

    April 1, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Good morning one and all. This was an excellent blog post and a good reminder of how important it is for us all to slow down and smell the coffee or roses or whatever it is that we should be focusing on. I work full time, do online school at night, attempt to corral two teenagers, am married, attend church, bowl….. The list is endless. I guess you could say I am very busy all the time. I can relate to needing to find peace in the midst of the storm. I am able to find peace when I am driving out to Kiawah every day and I turn off the radio and take time to pray. The JOY of the Lord IS my strength. I guess we all have faith in something or someone. The important thing is that we look within ourselves and that we are aware for our need for peace and tranquility. I have heard that stress kills. Slowing down and reducing the stressors in our life is very important. I hope everyone has a very nice April Fools day and a happy Friday. Hugs to all

  • Kristin

    April 1, 2011 at 11:13 am

    I love the idea of having a mantra! I am not sure what mine would be… I think it changes from week to week.

    I like the idea of being flowers, too. Something so beautiful and alive, yet subject to death and dying, as well.

    Cherry blossoms are common in Japanese tattooing (and culture / art history, as well) as a symbol for short-lived beauty. This makes sense from a botanical standpoint, but it’s not difficult to see why someone who lost their child might be drawn to this symbol, too.

    Good luck on all of your engagements. I am sure you will rock all of them!

  • Dena

    April 4, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    @ James – Thank you so much for sharing. Your strength, devotion, & compassion are an inspiration to all. You manage to keep your life centered around the important things and for that I am truly grateful to know you. Keep it up & hugs back to you! 🙂

    @ Kristin – I love the image of the Japanese cherry blossoms. There is something so simple & beautiful to them — but also a deep, hidden strength. Reminds me of you. Love you! xoxoxo

  • Stefaniebragdon

    December 4, 2011 at 11:37 am

    I have found what I am looking for !  Thank you ! 

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