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Clearing Inner Debris

“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” ~ William James, author of “The Varieties of Religious Experience” published 1902

Images from the natural world have a way of saying what words alone cannot. The frozen trees that line the banks of this river seem serene and at rest. Yet, the ice jams in the foreground represent an entirely different feeling! The natural inner state of the river in the winter has been disrupted.

I’m told by the photographer that rain fell on this river, melting the ice just enough to set it in motion. Then, the fractured floating ice gathered sticks, stirred up mud, and piled up in heaps in the river.

To me, this image is a metaphor for a feeling of inner disruption.

Look carefully at this detailed image of the ice jam:

Have you experienced what this image depicts?

Like the debris accumulating in the river, unsettling emotions and thoughts can cause a bit of a jam in our inner world, disrupting our flow.

The sticks are like nagging thoughts that get lodged in us. The tips may be small,

but they hurt; especially when the number of them grows. The irritation adds up. And like the sticks frozen into this jagged mess, the thoughts and hurts and worries that stick in us can sometimes take a while to float away.

Experiencing a full range of emotions is part of a healthy spiritual experience. And, when our inner flow is clogged and debris disrupts our life, it helps to have an activity we can turn toward to help us with centering.

I recommend a color-immersion meditation as an aid toward shifting emotions. Any emotion or thought can be supported in this exercise.

  • First, set an intention. Today, I am choosing to focus on calming. More specifically, releasing anxiety and tension. I recommend using a labyrinth template. The intention can be written in the center, as a focal point.

  • Choose a color that represents your intention. Today I chose blue, to move me into a calmer space, releasing a bit of my inner ice jam. A single color works. But today I used a variety of blues. Felt tip markers, colored pencils, and crayons each feel different as the color goes onto the paper. Some flow easier, others take a little more effort.

  • Find a comfortable and private spot. Background music can aid in setting a mood. Today I am listening to an ocean waves soundscape.

  • When possible, try adding a colored cloth or scarf to your area, wearing a shirt of the same color or lighting a colored candle to aid in the immersive experience.

  • Simply begin coloring from the outside of the labyrinth towards the inside. The turning paths are part of the journey inward.

  • As words or phrases spontaneously come to mind, jot them down around the edge of the paper if you wish, then continue moving inward.

  • Let yourself experiment with the pace of coloring. For me today, a slower pace felt best.

  • When you reach the center, notice how you feel . . . how the process felt. You may find ways to deepen and personalize the experience.

When I reached the center of the blue labyrinth path today my body felt softer, less tense. I began with crayons and as my tension released, I reached more often for the flowing pens.

What mood or intention are you seeking at the moment?

I have attached a file (below) of the labyrinth template for you to experiment with.

I hope you will find that this simple color meditation aids your inner flow and helps you move toward what you seek. See where it takes you. If you care to share your experience, email me ( I would enjoy hearing it!

Download DOCX • 506KB

Photo credit to Kathy Mansfield, North Carolina


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I love this, Schawn. I am going to tuck this away for my kids, too! It seems like a great way to help them move through feelings when words alone aren't the right tool.

Schawn Kellogg
Schawn Kellogg
Jul 04, 2022
Replying to

Thank you, Beth! Great idea to use it with your daughters. Hi t would be interesting to know which colors they choose and why. Have fun with it. Hope you are able to relax and enjoy the holiday.


Maureen Flanigan
Maureen Flanigan
Jun 28, 2022

Thank you for this meditation on Clearing Inner Debris. It is just what I need to hear.

Schawn Kellogg
Schawn Kellogg
Jul 04, 2022
Replying to

You’re welcome, I appreciate your comment! Hope today finds you well in all ways.

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