Those of you who follow my Facebook posts are aware that for 2013 I have set myself the challenge of folding an Origami shape every day. This was prompted by the gift of a Page-a-Day Origami calendar from my daughter, in which every day presents a different project using the preceding day’s page. Having committed to posting my daily creation on Facebook, I am compelled to follow through on my challenge each morning.
I have long been intrigued by this craft of paper folding and am amazed at the beautiful items that can be folded from a plain piece of paper. Working through this calendar is a great way to learn, as in January it introduced very basic folds and gradually has been progressing into more complicated ones. My self-imposed origami challenge has become a part of my morning routine, and I am proud to say that as of today (March 28th) I have been able to fold every item but one. (Yesterday’s ocean, comprising 76 folds nesting within one another defeated me, but that hasn’t deterred me from continuing to fold and crease.)
I have discovered that, not only do I have fun folding paper into creatures and other shapes, but the process calms and centres me. Some days there are so many items in my schedule that I start the day with my brain whirring. Yet once I begin folding the paper, I become relaxed and grounded. Who knew that origami could be therapeutic?
The idea intrigued me so I Googled it. I found that therapists have indeed realized there are health benefits to origami. Not only do the fine motor movements provide physical therapy to people with hand injuries, but Origami can help people with low self-esteem, anxiety, ADHD, and other psychological conditions.
As for me, I enjoy the daily challenge of folding a new shape, and the fact that when I have done so, I am ready to begin my day with a calmer mind.
I have just returned from yoga class refreshed and ready to take on the day. I am relatively new to yoga, and have come to cherish these Thursday mornings in which I spend an hour and a half stretching and strengthening, working on balance and focus, and most of all, being quiet. At the beginning of each class, we are asked to think about an intention for that day’s practice. Today my intention was “become calm.”
I had arrived at my mat with a brain full thoughts, things to do, emails to write, errands to run. Becoming quiet so that I could focus on the yoga practice was very challenging. But as I sat on the floor with my legs crossed and eyes closed, willing myself to be still, an image came to mind that almost immediately quieted my mind.
In order for me to describe that image I need to back up a bit to Tuesday evening. Every Tuesday at six I participate in a recorder ensemble. We practice at a church and the hills on the church property are currently overflowing with aromatic, beautiful wild freesias. For three weeks, I’ve picked a small bouquet of them to take home, each Tuesday expecting them to be at their end, but each week thrilled to find them still gorgeous and strong. This week, when I arrived at the church, one of the other recorder players came to greet me as I stepped out of my car. Olivia is a lovely young girl whom I believe to be around ten or eleven years old. While we walked to the entrance, we talked about the freesias. It seemed that she loves them as much as I do.
“By our house,” she told me. “There’s a whole field filled with freesias, and one day I just laid down in the middle of them with my arms spread like an angel and breathed in the smell.” Her face lit up. “It was heavenly!”
I bet you’ve guessed what my calming image at yoga was today. Sweet Olivia lying in a bed of freesias like an angel. Imagine that a young girl could teach me about being quiet!