Tools that work for me are:
* Journal - Write down anything that enters your mind. Get a pen and paper and just write. Sometimes I like to use my computer and sometimes I like the feel of writing on my notebook doodling or drawing or writing inspirational quotes or taking a photo journal on instagram (follow me: rose_a_cortez) or it's totally ok if anything you write down or doodle doesn't make sense. It is important to follow your instincts and journal it.
* Create - You can search how-to-do stuffs online. So if you're interested in making soap to DIY projects, follow your curiosity to doing something that sparks an idea and go for it and try it out yourself. The moment you start creating, you learn something new about yourself and trying something brand new creates sparks of inspiration. Coco by rose was created spontaneously while talking on the phone with my mom. And that phone date with my mom included stories about my grandmothers and the healing Filipino urban legend stories about coconut oil. I grew up in the Philippines and when I was sick, my mom always had me taken care of by a Filipino healer, "manghihilot". This native Filipino healer is usually a woman, trusted friend by the family and community and has the gift of touch. She would chant out prayers in whispers or sing songs from the dialect of her province and then slowly apply the coconut oil concoction that she has created. This ritual is a passed down tradition from her by her ancestors. And whenever one of my grandmothers visited my family in the city, my "lola" would always rub her version of "langis" on my back before I hit the shower, a protection she called it. I slowly incorporated this ritual practice back into my life and for the past two years, I am in an ongoing practice of this process with this creation and patience is key :)
* Organize - It is a practice. When you begin to clear out garbage, you begin to make space around you and make more space inside your brain also. Make it fun for yourself. If you like to colour coordinate then go for it, if you're comfortable in a "don't touch this area zone" then clear out the other areas that are cluttered. Remember to try out different ways of organizing, until you find your style that "makes sense to you".
* Reach Out - To someone you admire and trust. He or she could be your Mom or Dad, but sometimes you want to reach out to a dear friend. Or sometimes you want to reach out to an Aunt or an Uncle or it could be a Mentor from school. Just check in with someone that you can be your full and potential self with. Remember to reach out to a person you trust and respect who can act as a mirror to your visions.
* Ritual - What is it that you do that is so unique that it is a "secret and close to your heart gesture"? For me, my sacred practices are SMILE and LOL: like for real Laugh out Loud Laughter :) It's a smiling and laughing ritual that I've learned from my mother land. Filipinos are always Laugh OUT LOUD happy. I will tell you more about that next time :) Then through the study of yoga, I learned the sacred practices of connecting my palms together when I say thank you or bowing a little bit when I acknowledge someone. I encourage you to find ONE gesture that you can always practice. Remember that in the beginning, you might find it a bit awkward, but slowly this "gesture" will come out so naturally. This repetitive action will create a space for "being present in that moment".
Disciplines that work for me are:
* Yoga/Dance/Voice/Writing/Meditation/Art of Mindfulness - Choose ONE at a time and practice it everyday. Create a timeline for ONE. I call this timeline, "post". Living in the west coast of Canada, I am honoured to witness and learn the sacred practices and process of carving Haida Totem poles from my beloved, Carl Hart and his family, so I began to visualize my post as a Totem Pole. A post or a totem pole for example, is a sacred reminder about my intention to my journey. It is that place I tap into for inspiration. For me, I commit with all my heart to a five year post/totem pole journey. After York theatre conservatory, I practice the art of theatre for five years and then slowly followed the practice of art of mindfulness through yoga for another five years. I currently have the rest of the year to tune in to the art of mindfulness post and take care of where it will guide me next. I will keep you updated here on my progress. Oh and by the way, the key lesson is to practice your post/totem pole everyday. And practice it everyday. And practice it everyday. Have fun along the way. Be open minded and open heart in between your posts. Surprise yourself! And when you are tired, practice it anyway. Here's an offering I can share with you that I learned from a Zen teacher, Peter Levitt, this past Saturday at Moksha Yoga Burnaby. He says, "The practice is simple...take care of what is in front of you and follow your breath".
And when life shows up in different blocks and forms that you are not used to, always have your Tools and Disciplines in your pockets. When I was nine years old, I always had a pebble in my pocket for reminders and to this day, I have my own "anting-anting" in my pockets. Because the truth is, there will be unexpected turns and events that we do not have control over. It could be an unexpected argument or it could be feeling low because of not getting what you want or you are overwhelmed with so many tasks and chores. There it is life, staring you in the eyes and it is powerful and strong. But remember that along the way you have been patiently practicing and sharpening your Tools and Disciplines. Trust the everyday commitment of practicing anyway!
Photo taken in Tofino, British Columbia, "jenga blocks" by Rose Cortez