i like to follow daoist practice for contemplation,  rather than meditation, sages may indeed empty their minds, the rest of us have a troop of monkeys that start chattering the minute they get the chance…no, better for me is to make meditation pieces, as my hands make art, my mind stills and becomes quiet in a very simple way, i feel very aligned to the natural world again when i use elements salvaged from walks on beaches (my favourite! so looking forward to being on a beach again in 3 weeks!) or through woods…though if you keep your eyes and mind open, anywhere will do, i once walked through a backstreet in truro and a handful of white feathers floated down out of a clear blue sky, no sign of birds, no sound of pillows being shaken, just feathers reminding me to take life lightly…

another quietener is to sky-watch, sit comfortably and watch the clouds shift, the sun come and go, the stars move, it’s all happening and most of our troubles are better faced with a quiet centre, attuned to the conditions around us, starting macro and returning to a our personal space refreshed by knowing we are 1/7,000,000,000 of human life on earth, most mistakes we make can really only be quite small against that scale….

cassia bark smells lovely and makes beautiful shapes, it’s available at any large asian foodstores, and much cheaper than cinnamon, a cousin…star anise and cloves are aromatic and very pleasing to use, the piece to the left is a strengthener for winter, the piece to the right for missing the sea…i work mindfully as i assemble the pieces, but by following intuition, not intellect…afterwards i use the pieces as gifts or for further reflection – but usually people cross my path who i realise they are meant for, so they make their way into the world by serendipity, hopefully carrying a little of the peace i found while making them…

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