Making Your Way - Building resilience through mindfulness and expressive-arts self-paced activities.
Each Making Your Way activity combines relaxing expressive arts projects with mindfulness insights and exercises in three parts.
The Setting: Set up your space, gather supplies from around the house, and use mindfulness tools to build an inner spaceof quiet, contented focus.
The Doing: The project.
The Shining: We share what we've created. We shine on by weaving mindfulness through our daily lives. We celebrate and support our fellow WayMakers.
Making Up Silly Songs...
Singing or humming or chanting rhythmically is something humans have probably been doing ever since we’ve existed. Through singing we let off steam, we find strength, we express ourselves, we bond and of course, we have fun.
The goal for this activity is to put a smile on your face and laughter in your heart; to experience a sense of well-being in the moment. If you can connect with someone over this and share these positive feelings, even better. You might just brighten their day.
This project could take as little as 30 minutes or as long as… the rest of your life if you’re so inclined. So, sit back, loosen up, and let yourself get lost in the fun of the silly songs…
PART ONE. THE SETTING. Supplies, Space, & Mindspace
Pencil or pen and paper. A hard surface to write on.
Short list of simple tunes you know by heart (see ideas below).
Willingness to be a little silly
SETTING UP YOUR ACTIVITY SPACE
Choose a space where there is not too much noise and where you can write on your paper. Your back porch, or front stoop, or your couch might be better than sitting officially at a desk or table. If you’re shy about singing, find a space where you can be for this activity where you won’t feel self-conscious. Although, your pet may really enjoy being sung to.
The point of this whole thing is to have fun.
It is NOT to sing like a diva but perhaps more like a laughing hyena.
Once you’ve chosen a spot, take a fresh look around. Tidying your mindfulness nook can clear some clutter not only from your physical space, but from your mind. It’s an act of self-compassion to pick up & put away any scattered items within your field of view, while looking forward to the delightful space you’ll reveal, rather than being grumpy about the task. The mind’s eye can become distracted by seeing and naming all the out-of-place objects in your realm – help quiet the background mental noise by taking a minute or two to freshen up a little. Try it and see how it feels!
Once you’ve removed things that didn’t belong, now it’s time to bring in something that sparks joy instead. A favorite object, or picture, a vase of flowers, or cozy blanket could add a warm touch for your mind to settle on comfortably. The goal is to create an intentionally positive setting for a wonderful experience.
CREATING YOUR MINDSPACE
It is time to step off that hamster wheel of your busy and stressed daily life, even if for just a few moments. By regular practice of the simple focusing and grounding techniques presented in this section, you can begin to purposefully build and access a quiet and calm space within your self.
Consider these mindfulness exercises as a strengthening routine for your peace of mind. The more you practice, the more easily you will reach your inner calm, your inner peace, your inner refuge - no matter what is happening around you.
MINDFULNESS EXERCISE: The Breathing Hand
Find a comfortable position sitting or standing. Stretch your spine tall, giving your lungs plenty of room to breathe.
Look at the palm of one hand. Notice the details. Just look. No judgements!
With the pointer finger of your other hand, trace up and down the sides of your fingers while breathing. Notice the sensations on your skin.
Start at the outside base of your thumb and breathing in, trace up 1 – 2 – 3. Exhale and trace down your thumb 1 – 2 – 3.
Do the same for each of your fingers.
Bonus Round: Go back the way you came. (Repeat in reverse.)
Notice how you are feeling after doing this. Throughout your day, remember to take a moment, fill your lungs, breathe deep, and focus on the sensations of it all.
When we breathe slowly and deeply it helps our brains to notice that all is well in the moment. And that allows us to focus more calmly and deeply on what we are doing in that moment.
Now let’s take the next step and expand this feeling of a quietly joyous heart. This ten-minute meditation will guide you towards an internal space where you can tap into your own creative spark.
PART TWO. THE DOING
For starters, choose an easy and short tune you know well. Something like Row Your Boat or London Bridges. These have few words and simple melodies – easy to remember as you mash up new words.
If you're not feeling too wordy - let your melody-making-self flow with some sounds and rhythms that hit the spot.
Here's an example...
Successful Silly Song-Making Secret…
Write out the original lyrics to the song you’re thinking of using. It helps to see the rhyming scheme as well as the rhythmic flow of the syllables per line as you are creating. It can almost become like figuring out a fun puzzle.
Challenge: Make up your own version of the Row Your Boat melody...
Original silly song parody of Row Your Boat
A few well-known melodies ripe for the tweaking...
Let your imagination loose. Find the emphasized rhythms or sounds of words or phrases anchoring the flow and make up your own words that fit in the spaces.
The Row Your Boat anchoring phrase turned into Mow Your Lawn in the example.
Once you get your own new anchor phrase – begin to figure out words that somehow make sense and fit in with the rhythmic flow of the sound.
It does help to sing it out loud as you go. Try different word mash-ups. You’ll be surprised at how fun it is when you actually come up with something that fits and works. Be careful, it can be hard to stop once you’re on a roll!
Challenge: Just how many songs can you make up???
Once you’ve got your lyrics written out, try out singing the whole thing.
Does it work? Does it need tweaking?
This is your baby. You have full creator rights over it.
If you like it – if it makes you happy – IT’S GOOD.
Remember. This is not a competition for the Grammy’s. You may not be the world’s next best singer song-writer but you MAY be the best singer song-writer in THE HOUSE.
Teach someone your song. Your best friend, your neighbor, your nephew, your cousin, your coworker... ANYONE. Then sing it together. Turn it into a round if you can. And just enjoy the silliness. Get lost in it!!!
Spread the good.
Challenge your singing buddy to make up another silly song with you or on their own and then to share THAT with you and someone else too.
PART THREE. THE SHINING. Share. Shine. Celebrate.
SHARING IS NICE
Do you remember how fun it was to do show and tell in kindergarten? That was no fluke. As humans it is in our nature to connect with each other on any number of levels. One of those levels is to have witnesses to our doings. The universal “Look! Look!” comes so naturally to us when we feel delighted by something and want to share that with someone.
Here’s your chance. Record your silly song and share what you’ve created with your friends and family through your favorite ways of connecting. Or you could simply share your new lyrics if you're shy about your singing. No pressure! But do remember...
Singing in key is a lot less important than singing with glee.
Now that you’ve got the idea for how to create silly songs, you may choose to make singing a happy habit. Weaving this intentional joy and laughter into your days is a great way to let your inner spirit Shine On! Here’s how. Think of times in your normal routine that could be jazzed up & injected with joy by a minute of singing. Then make a song to suit those occasions. You’d be surprised by how a normally mundane or even drab or unpleasant moment can be turned around with a habit of silliness.
The goal is to put a smile on your face and laughter in your heart; to experience a sense of well-being in the moment. You get to choose which moments of Your life will be habitually musical. Even if you don't always sing loudly, humming quietly or just recalling your ditty in your mind can put a smile on your face and a spring in your step.
CELEBRATE and AFFIRM
You’ve heard of random acts of kindness.
Here you have a chance to make someone’s day. Whether or not you want to share a recording of your song, you can be a voice of friendly supportive kindness. Go to the WayMakers Connect page, browse your fellow WayMakers’ doings and share your positive reactions.