- Contemplative weekly emails. I am signed up for three email lists that provide weekly inspiration on contemplation and mindfulness.
One is from The Contemplative Writer, a website run by writer Ed Cyzewski. I have really enjoyed the reflections and suggestions on his website, and his weekly email is a lovely combination of suggestions, links, and short readings.
The second weekly email I signed up for is Richard Rohr’s writings from the Center for Action and Contemplation. There is an option for daily emails as well, but I prefer the weekly option, which provides short excerpts from the previous week’s writings. If I see something I’d like to read more about, I follow the link to that day’s essay, but if not, I have a succinct collection of reflections on the contemplative spiritual life.
Lastly, I’m signed up for Brain Pickings’ weekly Sunday email. This is not specifically a mindfulness site, but simply a place to find thoughtful and meaningful content that often relates to the creative process. This is an excellent email full of intelligent articles that celebrate humanity.
2. My Pre-Writing Process. I’ve always found it hard to answer the question “What’s your writing process?” I feel like my process is fairly haphazard. Lately I’ve wanted to develop a clearer process (or perhaps processes, depending on whether I am writing poetry, fiction, or essay). One thing I’ve started is that when I sit down to write, I begin by reading one poem or prayer and then meditating for five minutes. So far this small addition to my process has helped prepare me mentally for the task and help me shut out distracting thoughts.
Right now my resources for this are:
Thirst by Mary Oliver (poetry)
Book of Hours, Love Poems to God by Rainer Maria Rilke (poetry)
Prayers of the Saints (prayers)
Praying with the Orthodox Tradition (prayers)
I will be alternating these with other resources and poets, but these are my old tried and true favorites.
3. The Examine App (suggested by The Contemplative Writer website). This app is free, and takes you through a series of questions about your day. What are you thankful for? When did you love? What is keeping you awake at night? I try to pull out this app while I’m in bed shortly before I go to sleep. I like that you can look back over the things you’ve written on previous days. I don’t always answer every single question, but that’s okay. The point is that I take a few moments to mentally and emotionally debrief in the evenings. This app does include a 5 minute meditation portion as well. Sometimes I do that, sometimes I don’t.
How do you fit contemplation into your busy life?