Self-Care Meditation Series Meditation is the practice of focused attention on an image, sound, or feeling that can help quiet the mind and body. It can regulate emotions, lower pain and stress, ease depression and insomnia, create clearer awareness and insight, and improve spirituality, compassion, and quality of life. In our current exhibition, Wild and Untamed: Dunton’s Discovery of the Baltimore Album Quilts, Dr. William Rush Dunton Jr. used the Baltimore album quilt tradition in his work as he developed the basic tenets of occupational therapy. Using the imagery of the Baltimore album quilts on view in Wild and Untamed, enjoy a series of guided meditations released each day, May 17-21, 2021. Each daily guided meditation can be practiced on your own time. Enjoy. Object Meditation Friday, May 21, 2021 Holding our focus on this flourishing example of a Baltimore album quilt, we will practice locking our attention to achieve a sense of contentment and calmness. Let’s begin. Quilt. Mary Simon (1808-1877), 1852, Baltimore, Maryland. Maryland Historical Society, Maryland Center for History and Culture, Middendorf Purchase Fund, 1991.17.1 Step-by-Step Meditation Listen to Object Meditation: Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Sit with a straight back on a cushion or chair that feels comfortable while looking at the image in front of you.Rest your hands on your knees or cup them softly in your lap. Keep your upper body straight and tall. Be mindful of how your body makes contact with your seat. A soft smile on the corner of your lips. The chest is soft. Let your body rest easily in a state of wakefulness.Take a short inhale through the nose, fully filling your lungs, and a longer and slower exhale through the mouth.Again, inhaling to fill the lungs and exhaling long and slow.Breath in. Breath out. Try these breaths on your own.Meditation is a practice that involves deepening concentration and continually returning to the present moment. It helps us to stay in the here and now. Breathing helps to develop and sustain our concentration.Let’s concentrate on the image in front of you—a quilt block. Created by using multi-colored fabrics to create a design. Start at the bottom of the quilt block. Notice the stitches and the color of the fabric. Slowly work your way up to the flowers in this bouquet. Breath deeply. Pause at a flower that catches your attention. Stay there. Notice every detail of the flower. The colors, the fabric, imagine how it would feel if you could touch it. Does it look worn, weathered, written on, or tufted? Maybe you can see how the artist used ink to create a feeling of depth or dimension.Keep going until you really know this flower. See every bit of this flower. Now, close your eyes. Visualize the flower you focused on. Remember the details.Once the image is clear, once it feels like it is right there in front of you, hold the image there, in your mind. Sit in silence for a moment and allow the image to deepen. Allow the image to fill your entire mind.If your mind wanders, use your breath as an anchor to gently refocus.Be mindful of how you are feeling at this moment. Be aware of this good feeling you have from the increased focus.When you are ready, open your eyes.Practice tapping into this deeper experience of concentration and increased focus to bring about creativity, calmness, and serenity. Shape Meditation Thursday, May 20, 2021 This short meditation builds concentration in our mind. Using the geometric shapes created in this Baltimore album quilt by members of the Gorsuch family, we focus our attention on feeling centered and creating a peaceful state of mind. Let’s begin. Follow along with the audio or text below. Baltimore Album Quilt. Unknown maker, 1846, Baltimore, Maryland. Maryland Center for History and Culture, Gift of Helen M. Mayo in memory of George Mayo and his Gorsuch family of Glencoe, Maryland, 2006.6 Step-by-Step Meditation Listen to Shape Meditation: Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Sit with a straight back on a cushion or chair that feels comfortable while looking at the image in front of you.Rest your hands on your knees or cup them softly in your lap. Keep your upper body straight and tall. Plant your feet flat on the floor feeling the earth underneath. The chest is soft. Let your body rest easily.Take a short inhale through the nose, fully filling your lungs, and a longer and slower exhale through the mouth.Again, inhaling to fill the lungs and exhaling long and slow.Inhale. Exhale like you’re filling a balloon.Take a moment to try some of these breaths on your own.Focus now on the image in front of you. At first glance you may find it is busy and overwhelming. Notice the shapes in front of you. Observe the types of shapes present in this quilt. Notice where they occur on the quilt. The color of the shapes, the size of the shapes. Now, concentrate on the shapes inside the diamond patterns.Allow your eyes to focus on only one of these diamond patterns and the unique shapes inside of it.Take a moment to focus on those unique shapes.Try not to judge the shapes. Try not to attach any significance to the shapes. No meaning. Simply notice their qualities. Their lines. Their angles and curves and colors.Focus your entire attention on these shapes. If your thoughts begin to wander, gently bring your attention back to the shapes in the diamond. Notice the color of the shapes. Are they darker, smaller, swirling? Look at the edges of the shapes. Notice the negative space. The background the shapes are on.Be aware of your breathing.Observe the shapes. Concentrate on the details presented.Everytime your mind wanders, gently guide it back to focus on your breath or the shapes in the diamond.Now, close your eyes. Imagine the shapes you focused on. Allow your mind to visualize the shapes. Are they in motion, swirling, turning, and twisting? Are they still and quiet?Allow your mind to move from one shape to another.Do this at your own pace for a moment.When you’re ready, open your eyes.Notice how you are feeling. Be in this moment you have created. Cool Color Meditation Wednesday, May 19, 2021 Focusing on the cool colors presented in this Baltimore album quilt created by Clara Hirschmann Goodman in 1850, this meditation will support you to navigate restful and peaceful energy throughout the body. Let’s begin. Follow along with the audio or text below. Baltimore Album Quilt. Clara Hirschmann Goodman (1832–1904), 1850, Baltimore, Maryland. Maryland Center for History and Culture, Gift of Mrs. Milford Nathan, 1953.36.1 Step-by-Step Meditation Listen to Cool Color Meditation: Find a comfortable seat to look at the image above.Strong back. Soft front.Breath in deeply through the nose and out deeply through the mouth much more slowly. Short inhale through the nose, fully filling your lungs, and long and slow exhale through the mouth.Inhaling to fill the lungs and exhaling long and slow.Take a moment to look at the quilt image in front of you.Pass your attention to the cooler colors of the quilt. Blue, green, pink, and purple. Notice how your body is feeling at this moment.Focus on all the blues in the quilt. Blue is the color of calm and serenity. Think of all the things you have seen that are shades of blue. Oceans, skies, never-ending hues of blue. What feelings are conjured as you remember these shades of blue?Allow your vision to rest on the greens found in the quilt.How does the quilter use the color green?Green refreshes and revitalizes. It evokes restful feelings and a calm environment.Center your awareness on the border of this quilt. Follow the thick curved lines of green around the quilt. As you follow the green, what green imagery comes to mind for you? As you think of each green image, allow any emotions that you feel with each to come and go. Enjoy the color of green.Gently close your eyes. Call to mind a cool color that you find relaxing. A color that evokes a sense of peace for you. Imagine this color. Relax the center of the chest. Inhale to gather this color. Exhale and send this color down the torso, the hips, the thighs, the ankles and the toes.Embrace the present moment. Notice how your body feels.When you’re ready, open your eyes. Look at the quilt one last time. Notice the use of color in this quilt and the feelings each evoked for you. The use of bold colors in this quilt are reminiscent of German folk art. The use of color and animal imagery must have reconnected the quilter to her pastoral European roots and the feelings these vibrant colors from nature evoked for her. Memory Meditation Tuesday, May 18, 2021 Using a quilt block created in 1859, this meditation will help to sharpen your concentration and focus, improving your memory recall. Let’s begin. Follow along with the audio or text below. Quilt. Ann Eliza Bush, 1859, Baltimore, Maryland. Maryland Center for History and Culture, Museum purchase, courtesy of the Severna Park United Methodist Volunteers in Mission, 2012.24.1 Step-by-Step Meditation Listen to Memory Meditation: Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Sit with a straight back on a cushion or chair that feels comfortable while looking at the image in front of you.Rest your hands on your knees or cup them softly in your lap. Keep your upper body straight and tall. The chest is soft. Let your body rest easily and breath gently.Be aware of your breath as it enters your body and leaves your body, rises on the inhale and falls on the exhale. Count 1 on the in-breath and 2 on the out-breath. 1 on the in-breath, 2 on the -out breath. Let your breath guide the way and steady you. 1 on the in-breath, 2 on the out-breath. Do this on your own for a moment.Look with intent at the image in front of you.Start with the left of the quilt block. Examine the scales. Look at the detail. Notice the pattern of the fabric. Try to imprint these details in your mind.Move your vision clockwise on the quilt block. Focus on the images created using the printed cotton. Stop and look for a moment at each image, noticing any detail. The links, the staffs, the placement of the heart in the palm of the right hand. Continue to slowly move your sight around the circle, closely observing the details of the quilter, how the tip of the cornucopia slightly touches the foundation of the building.Now slowly move your vision to the center and scan the central image. Again notice the choice of the patterned fabric, the white windows, the castle like features of the image. Pause and slowly bring your attention to the large elements of the quilt block. Notice the overall colors and shapes.Try now to look with mindfulness and attention as you try to memorize as much as you can about the quilt block.Now, close your eyes. Try to recall what you saw starting from the left of the circle. Slowly move in your mind as you did with your eyes open. Visualize all the details that you noticed, moving clockwise around the image. The patterns, the color, the shapes of the images. Recall any small details you observed. Finally, recall the center of the quilt block. What details did you notice. Settle your mind on the image you remember. Embrace the calmness of your breath and body.Embrace the present moment.When you are ready, slowly open your eyes.Next time, when you feel that you have lost concentration, recall this image and its details to help return to focus Warm Color Meditation Monday, May 17, 2021 Focusing on the warm colors presented in this Baltimore album quilt block attributed to Mary Evans Ford, this meditation will support you to navigate relaxing energy throughout the body. Let’s begin. Follow along with the audio or text below. Quilt Block. Mary Evans Ford (1829-1916), 1845-1855, Baltimore, Maryland. Maryland Center for History and Culture, Purchased through the Emilie McKim Reed Memorial Purchase Fund, 1990.11.6 Step-by-Step Meditation Listen to Warm Color Meditation: Let’s begin by finding a comfortable seat to look at the image in front of you. You can be seated with your feet flat on the floor. Straight back.Relax your shoulders and neck.Pull all of your focus inward toward your chest, your lungs, the center of you. Strong back. Soft front.Breath in deeply through the nose and out deeply through the mouth much more slowly. Short inhale through the nose fully filling your lungs and long and slow exhale through the mouth.Inhaling to fill the lungs and exhaling long and slow.Take a moment to look at the quilt image in front of you.Focus your eyes on the large red horn-shape, a cornucopia. How are you feeling when you look at this red shape? Follow this large red shape with your eyes. Embrace your present mood. Do you feel a sense of warmth and comfort or anger and agitation?Allow only the red color in the quilt block to fill your vision now. Notice all the shades of red. Some softer and faded. Some bright and vibrant.Take a moment to enjoy the color red in the quilt block.Allow your eyes to focus on other warm colors in the quilt. What warm colors are you attracted to? What emotions do you experience as you focus your attention on the vibrant colors of yellow? What are the shapes in this quilt block that use these vibrant colors? What reasons do you think the quilter uses these bold colors in her quilt?Gently close your eyes. Call to mind a warm color that you find soothing. Reds, yellows, oranges. A color that evokes a sense of relaxation and warmth. Imagine this color. Relax the center of the chest. Inhale to gather this color. Exhale and send this color down the right shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm and to all five fingers. Inhale, gathering this color. Exhale and send this color down the left shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm and all five fingers.Embrace the present moment. Notice how your body feels.When you’re ready, open your eyes.