Earlier this month Two Chairs participated in In Good Company’s second annual Wellness and Creativity Day, set against the beautiful backdrop of the Headlands Center for the Arts in the Marin Headlands.
We began the enriching day with a grounding mindfulness practice, and the buzzing energy of the room carried through into the rest of the day’s wellness-oriented activities.
As you begin your holiday season — whether it’s filled with comforting time with loved ones, difficult family dynamics, financial stress, grief, or all of the above — we hope the below meditation and intention setting exercise, adapted from our time at In Good Company, can help you in moments of overwhelm, or when you simply need to come back to yourself.
This meditation can be done alone or with a group, and takes less than five minutes. Wherever you are, find a quiet space where you can sit, or put on headphones with some calming ocean sounds.
Mindfulness and Intention-Setting Exercise
Take the next several moments to center yourself, and set an intention for the rest of your day.
Find a comfortable seat — being sure to place your feet on the ground uncrossed. Breathe slowly, quietly, and let yourself be here.
Feel yourself on the chair, your feet on the ground, your skin touching the clothes you’re wearing, and notice the air around you. Is it warm? Is it crisp?
Roll your shoulders up and back so your chest is open. Take a deep breath in, release it out. Allow your shoulder blades to move down your back body. Relax your torso, your stomach muscles, and settle in.
Move your head side-to-side until you find the sweet spot where your neck effortlessly supports the weight of your head. Make sure your seated posture is both alert and relaxed, and find a sense of stillness.
Think back to the moment that brought you here to this meditation. What did you hope to find here? What did you imagine? Linger on that moment. What was happening around you? What did you feel in your body?
Focus on that feeling that you were searching for, that energy. Distill it down to one word. Breathe that word in, hold it, honor it, breathe it out. This is your intention for the rest of the day. Thank yourself for It.
Breathe in, breathe out. Bring your attention back to your body. Notice your hands. Are your hands tense or tight? See if you can allow them to soften. Imagine them extending out, cupping your intention. Imagine your intention’s energy, traveling into your hands. Trace that energy up your arms, into your torso, imagine it coursing through your body slowly, up through your neck, mouth, eyes, the crown of your head. Breathe it in, breathe it out.
Imagine the energy traveling downwards, through your heart, to your stomach, your waist, down each of your legs, slowly, to your knees, your ankles, the pads of your feet. Focus on where your feet meet the floor, the ground that will hold you throughout the day. Imagine the energy of your intention filling the earth and merging with the people around you. Feel the sum of that energy, the warm, full energy. Relish it, breathe it in, breathe it out.
Sitting and relishing in this energy, bring your attention inward to your breath again. Breathe in, breathe out. Just noticing the quality of your inhale and exhale. Not trying to change your breathing in any way — just being a curious observer. See if you can gently rest your attention on the pattern of your breath. Imprint it, make a note to come back to it throughout the day, when you need it.
I invite you to gently close your eyes as you take five deep breaths, allowing your exhale to last a few seconds longer than your inhale, before fluttering your eyes open.
Breathe in one final breath. Hold it in, along with your intention for the day. Take a final exhale. When you’re ready, look around the room and feel the energy that you’ve created within yourself, and for the rest of the day.
Thank yourself for taking the time to care for your mind today, and think of someone in your life who may benefit from practicing this simple exercise.
From all of us at Two Chairs, we hope you enjoy your Holiday Season!
If you or someone you know is seeking mental health care, you can reach out to our Care Coordination team at [email protected] or by phone at 415.202.5159.
If you or someone you know is experiencing an emergency or crisis and needs immediate help, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Additional resources can be found here.