Quiet Mind Meditation

This is a quiet space .. designed to inspire, nurture and support your meditation practice so that you might find your own quiet mind

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Focus On : Jocasta from Chill Out Chairs

The 'Focus On' articles are designed to share individual journeys in meditation, providing a unique opportunity to listen and learn from each other.

I met Jocasta through B-School and caught up with her, and her gorgeous meditation chairs (actually, they are chairs for absolutely any occasion .. but ideal for meditation) at this years Wanderlust Festival.  

Not only super gorgeous looking and cosy, these chairs are a huge improvement on our little fat meditation cushions that sit on the floor.  

Amazingly, despite the busyness of life, a young family, B-School, festivals and building her new business .. I am delighted that Jocasta agreed to share some insight into her meditation practice.

Name: Jocasta Norman from Chill Out Chairs
Special Interest: Mindful Living 
Email: jocasta@chilloutchairs.com.au 
Website: www.chilloutchairs.com.au 

Tell us about your interest in Mindful Living:
I am interested in all aspects of mindfulness and mindful living. It is a powerful and simple tool to help people be present and can be practiced in all aspects of life, anywhere, any time.

How long have you been practicing, or working in this area? 
I have always been a mindful person without really knowing that’s what it was, but when I started reading about the many benefits of mediation I knew I wanted to start a more committed practice of a seated meditation. However with little kids and a generally busy life I just wasn’t getting to it. I knew someone in Canada who had started a business selling some gorgeous chairs to sit in for meditation and I thought how perfect if I had somewhere comfy to sit and a physical reminder calling me to sit in it that I would find it easier to be more committed to it. I ended up becoming the distributor for these chairs here in Australia so now I have plenty of chairs at home and they are great. So I’ve only recently started ‘working’ in this area and started a more formal, for lack of better words, meditation practice.

How did you ‘find’ meditation, and how long have you been practicing meditation?
I always used to think that meditation was something you had to do sitting down for x amount of time and you had to think of ‘nothing’ and I just found that idea so daunting with a very active mind, and being a multitasking queen the thought of sitting still just put me off. Then when I come to learn more about mindfulness I realised that I was actually already meditating, just in different forms. 

For me it really comes down to meditation is not something you do, it’s who you be. It was liberating to really get this, because before that meditation was some out there thing that I never thought I would ‘achieve’. Now I’m at the point where I can see the benefits of both a seated practice and the ability to be bring mindfulness to times of chaos and confusion.

Do you have a regular practice – daily, weekly, other?
The idea/intention is daily, the actuality is probably 3-4 times a week although the great thing about mindfulness is that it can be when you’re doing the dishes, in the shower, in traffic; if you include that then definitely daily. I used to beat myself up about not being regular enough and now I’m just accepting that I do what I can. There is not right or wrong, just awareness.

What inspires you to keep meditating .. returning to your practice?
The sense of clarity and calm, also knowing that the gap in time for me to get back to sense of grounded when something unexpected or ‘unwanted’ happened is dramatically reduced. Often people are surprised at how well I take things that are considered ‘bad’ or less than optimal, I attribute that to my mindfulness practices.

Why meditate?
Because we’re human beings, not human doings. It’s innate and required that we ‘switch off’ and not just to sleep. We’re not wired to be wired 24/7, and our Western society for the most part has created a place in which we are bombarded with stuff all the time. Meditation allows you to connect with your breath, the very essence of that which is keeping the home of your soul alive. Pretty important I think!

Do you have a particular technique(s) that you have found most suitable for you?
Definitely mindfulness for me, the anywhere, anytime factor is a huge draw card for me and where I’m at in life at the moment, with little kids and starting a business. I’m still working on a committed seated practice and open to and investigating other ways. I would like to try a Vispassana retreat at some point, likely when my kids are a bit older though. I think guided meditations, and using mantras, can be really useful as a tool to help take your mind of your thoughts.

AM or PM? ..  Chair, cushion, stool?
I like to start the day with it, however with two little kids it doesn't always go to plan so it’s pretty much whenever I get a chance. Obviously for me it’s in one of my Chill Out Chairs

I’m definitely all about comfort and don’t think that you should be uncomfortable or get pins and needles in your legs, squash your ankles or hurt your back while meditating!! The more comfortable and relaxed you are the better and more likely you are to do I think. Plus I love that chair is a physical reminder to me and that it’s useful for other chilling out activities like reading a book or writing in my journal.

Jocasta's Chill Out Chairs .. blissful!

Have you a dedicated space for your practice?
Not really, I have a few chairs around the house, so I can pretty much take my pick. I like to practice in the bedroom though, first thing in the morning it’s the quietest and least cluttered space. I have a studio that I’m setting up over the garage though and plan on making more of a dedicated space there too. I want to incorporate a meditation in before I start creating my art, it’s great for allowing the creative juices to flow.

Have you attended a meditation retreat?
No but it’s definitely on my wish list!

Any favourite books/CDs/Resources that you might share with others?
I’m a fan of Jon Kabat-Zinn, Dr Russ Harris, and Thich Nhat Nahn. I really like Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Russ Harris writes a lot about that and I highly recommend his book The Happiness Trap. One of my favourite Jon Kabat-Zinn books is Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting.  

Any thoughts you might share with those who are new to meditation?
Not to wait for the time, the space etc just make it happen where you can and when you can. Any amount is better than none, even if you can just start the day with a few minutes it will make all the difference. To stop striving for something out there, as if one day you’ll finally be able to meditate, it’s not a goal or a destination, it’s not something to add to your to do, it’s a journey and a way of being accessible in any moment.

7 Random things about you?
1. I have a goal to visit 40 countries by age 40 and I’m well on track at 36.
2. I’m slowly embracing my inner artist and poet and staring to paint and write.
3. I love folding washing. Not ironing, just folding!
4. I speak just enough French to get by in France, which happens to be my favourite country.
5. I love all things coconut, especially coconut water.
6. I’m a chai tea snob, very fussy about my real chai tea lattes, often educating cafes about it when I’m there! Powders and syrups be gone!
7. I have been security for His Holiness The Dalai Lama’s water and got to sit front of the room only metres away from him so that I could keep my eye on his water! (That is really random I know, pretty cool though eh!)

I sat my exhausted butt down on a Out Chair at this years Wanderlust Festival, and of course they were the chairs of choice in the Wanderlust Speakeasy Tent!

Thank you Jocasta for sharing your meditation practice. 


Please note that I am happy to declare I am now a Chill Out Chair Affiliate .. so so if you do buy a gorgeous chair through clicking my link below then I shall get a little incentive - at absolutely no cost to you .. Chill Out Chair Affiliate link

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