Just imagine a week with no cell phone, no internet, no work demands. A week totally dedicated to you and you alone.
That’s what a meditation retreat is like, and I’m here to advocate for you (yes you, the person reading this) – for YOU – to find a way to make something like that happen in your life.
It doesn’t have to be a full week, and it doesn’t have to be a formal practice. A weekend at a cottage by a lake would be perfect. Or a couple days at a fancy-schmancy retreat center. Or heck, even a weekend at home where you plan to do nothing.
Whatever you can do, plan to make it happen. And be sure to work in time for some of the meditation things you’ve learned throughout the month.
- Do a guided meditation.
- After the dishes are cleaned up from dinner, sit quietly staring at a candle for 10 minutes and see what arises.
- Take a long, solitary walk through a local park – hug a tree or two while you’re there.
- Prepare and eat a meal mindfully.
Most importantly, find time to do nothing. Our lives are so packed with activity that it takes at least a day or more to truly unpack ourselves – to let go of everything that must be done now, and just be. Try to just “be” a little tonight:
- When you do the dishes, just do the dishes.
- When you brush your teeth, just brush your teeth.
- When you rake the leaves, just rake the leaves.
So much of our mindspace while performing these simple tasks gets filled with monkeymind, that we are bouncing from past to future and back. While brushing our teeth at the end of a long day, we’re reviewing the long day (the past) and thinking about tomorrow’s long day (the future.) Life, however, is about now. And now you’re brushing your teeth, not having that conversation you had six hours ago with a co-worker.
So just brushing your teeth means that: brush your teeth. Keep your mind quiet.
Before you brush your teeth, take a deep breathe in and find your quiet space. That space where the mind IS calm (or calmer.) Then go through your nightly ritual of brushing your teeth. When you start thinking about the past or future, stop. And then continue.
After all, meditation and mindfulness are considered “practice.” You will always be practicing, and someday, you will have now.
But for now, brush your teeth. Breathe. And get on with the little things.
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