Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Creating a ZEN atmostphere

Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop. ~Ovid

I have a lush (I say lush because it sooo can be) opportunity to create a Zen environment for the next seven months.

For the first time, in years, I will be the master of my domain.

In the past, I was waiting for immigration to pull through, so that the egyptian would fly here.

Then he got here, and we have struggled with the "my idea versus his idea" for how the house will look, the schedule of the day - things like that. Normal stuff, things all married couples or people who live with their significant other know about. That is, unless you live with a people pleaser. I do not.

While he is in NYC, trying to finalize his teaching certification, I can just - BE.

2011 will be a year of transformation for me. I know, I know.. we say that every year, but for me the wheels of change are already spinning. Decisions need to be made, a time table is in place.

Which brings me back to creating that ZEN atmosphere. Just how do I do it? Better yet, how can you create your own little ZEN space?

First of all, we use the word ZEN a lot. But what does it actually mean? Since I am a linguistics fanatic.. here is what I found: Zen is a school of Mahāyāna Buddhism. The Japanese word Zen is derived from the Chinese word Chán, which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyāna, which means "meditation" or "meditative state".

Word. ;-)

So - how can I achieve this? Zen emphasizes experiential Wisdom in the attainment of enlightenment. It de-emphasizes theoretical knowledge in favor of direct realization through meditation and dharma practice.

Okay, I like this. I need this. I want to learn this. Now, how can I make my environment more open to a Zen-like atmostsphere? I want to decorate with a more holistic approach, so that my health (mental and physical) will improve in 2011.

According to Room Decorating Ideas - The key to Zen decor is simplicity. The goal is to create a harmonious interior that simply flows, without any obstacles, clutter, or unnecessary items in the way which allows you to ‘be’ in the present moment.  Although Zen decorating is minimalistic, the items that are in the home should each have a specific use, visible, and highly functional despite their simplicity. Working within the Zen means beginning to use more natural materials when decorating your home. The color tones in the home should be earthy, and the furniture you have around the house should have simple, clean lines and be in keeping with the color scheme. You can still add accessories when creating a zen room, but think more in terms of woven area rugs..

Time to declutter and simplify. Ha! One of my closest friends has decided to do this, perhaps I should share this post with her! Okay, well - one of the things I was planning on doing was getting rid of soooo many material things. This should be fun!

I also want to get back into meditation. I use to study it (by books and practicing at home) throughout college and later while I was working in TV - but somehow, life happened and I got away from it.

I decided to see if I could find any groups to join for meditation in Birmingham, here is what I found:

Birmingham Shambhala Meditation Center - This appears to be the motherload! Located at 714 37th Street South in Birmingham, offers public meditation sittings, core teachings in Shambhala wisdom as well as Buddhist dharma teachings. Those of all spiritual traditions are invited to explore their offerings in the quest to find a mind of compassion, gentleness and sanity.

Compassionate Heart Sangha - Contact; Robert Patrick
Location: Birmingham, AL
Tradition: Zen Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hahn
and the Order of Interbeing.
Affiliation: Community of Mindful Living

Losel Maitri Tibetan Buddhist Center
P.O. Box 43721 Birmingham, AL 35243
Tel: (205) 908-2703, Fax: (205) 970-4903
Web site:
Tradition: Non-sectarian Tibetan Buddhist
Resident Teacher: Ven. Tenzin Deshek

Contemplative Prayer, Episcopal Diocese of Alabama
Lead by: Mary Sullivan and Kathryn Daniel
Wednesday evenings at 5:30. Join them this Wednesday in St. Mary's Chapel (off the nave).

Contemplative Outreach, Birmingham
They list the following groups:
Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church,
Homewood, AL
Jeannette Bell 205.879.8169

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church,
Birmingham, AL
Louise Meredith 205.970.1892

Independent Presbyterian Church,
Birmingham, AL
Kathy Thomson 205.968.2219
Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church,
Pelham, AL
Diana Tschache 205.991.6964

Golden Temple Health Foods Store
They have a yoga center and are located in two locations: 5 points south location 1901 11th ave S. Birmingham 933 6333 and at 3309 Lorna Rd. Hoover 823 7002.

That's all I could find!

Now it is time for me to get to work, do a little more research and find a way to bring that balance into my life. I am slowing removing the toxic, cleansing the home, and now I will balance it all out. By doing this - I think I will be able to learn that word of the year - TRUST.

What about you? How do you clear your mind, find your center?

Zen Quote: When the pupil is ready to learn, a teacher will appear. Who will be my teacher?


Telisa said...

Of course as I was reading this I kept hearing MY word :)

Jen G-son said...

What a neat idea!!! I like this method for sure. You make me want to redo my house! :)

Good luck on finding the right meditation place!

Mama Storyteller said...

I find it funny that you post this now- when I had actually bought you a little zen garden for Christmas and decided to keep it for myself (I know- terribly selfish) for my new office. Although- I do believe that snuggie will bring you a little peace as well ;-) Enjoy your forthcoming tranquility!


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