What you’ll need
- A stone or rock
- A journal or notebook, something to write with
- Colored pencils or markers (optional)
Have you ever picked up a rock or a stone and put it in your pocket? Maybe to remind you of a place, or a moment. Maybe to have something to ground you, to hold in your palm during a difficult time. Or maybe just for fun.
Find a rock, or a stone, inside your home. If you don’t have one on hand, look for one on the edge of a driveway, parking lot, street, or path.
Choose a comfortable space where you can let yourself think and feel. A table or another surface nearby where you can set the rock, and see it without touching it, is ideal.
Beginning to notice
Set the stone in front of you, on your table, bed, or counter. If you like, you can draw or sketch the stone in your notebook or journal. You can also write down what you see.
- What color is the stone?
- About how high? How wide?
- How does the surface look? Smooth? Pitted? Bumpy? Glassy? Chalky?
- What does its shape remind you of? A rabbit? A bean? A hill?
- Imagine how the stone will feel in your hand. Heavy? Light? Fragile? Solid? Soft? Rough? Warm or cool?
Connecting with the stone
Now take the stone in your hand.
- How does it feel? Smooth, soft, or rough, bumpy? Cool, cold, or warm?
- How long does it take for the stone to warm up in your hand?
- Is the texture like you thought it might be?
- Is the weight like you anticipated?
Take a few moments to hold the stone, turn it over and over in your hand. Look at it and see what you can observe with your eyes about the stone. Bring it closer to your face if needed.
Do you see any marks, patterns, or variations? What do you notice?
Take the stone up to your nose. If it’s a larger stone, cup it in your hands and bring it right up to the bottom of your nose, and take a long, deep breath in.
What do you smell?
Every stone, every rock, every pebble is unique. Each one has taken a long journey to arrive at where you found it, in the shape and size that it is now. Perhaps a small piece of rock chipped off the side of a mountain, because of an ice wedge, or another rock crashing down on top of it. Over time the chip of rock was washed down into a stream, a rivulet. The water and the ice pushed the small stone against other stones and rocks. Over the years–millions of years–the chip became a smooth stone, a jewel of the earth’s own processes.
The journey of a million year lies in your palm.
You hold the power of the earth in your hand.
You hold the story of the earth in your hand.
Time has made the stone beautiful. Time is making you beautiful. You and the stone are both made of the earth and are being shaped in tiny ways every day. With time and careful attention, you can find the beauty in any rock, or any situation.
Hold the stone and imagine its mother–the rock it came from. Was it a mountain? A cliff by the sea, where layers of compressed sediment gradually erode, waiting to be formed once again?
Where have you come from? What is your mother rock? Where are you on your journey? Have you rolled downstream, or been picked up and transported by a bird? Having been seen as precious, have you been scooped up and added to a collection?
Your journey of life is long, varied, rich. The moment you are in now is but one stop along the way. But this moment holds everything–it can hold all the depth of love you will ever know. Take your rock in your hand, and feel your connection with the story of the entire universe. Even though you are living one simple day, holding your rock for only a moment or two, this day holds great importance. You have chosen to give yourself life. You are making room to experience your own breath and spirit.
May you mark this day in your heart with this stone, a simple cairn to remember this experience and point the way along your journey.
Writing is an act of self-empowerment and self-determination. Own your own power as you write. You have no audience other than yourself, unless you choose otherwise.
But journaling can also be more than writing words and sentences. You can use your pen, pencil, or other art supplies to answer these questions any way you want. Shapes, pictures, or colors can all be a way to convey meaning to yourself and others. Often we call this “art.” The arts are simply other ways of communicating what we have found to be particularly meaningful and often beautiful.
The above exercise contains many reflections and questions. Feel free to respond to those in your journal, or start with the questions below.
- Where have you come from?
- What is your mother rock?
- Where are you on your journey?
- Where do you hope to go from here?