Living Mindfully, At Home
It can be hard at the best of times to maintain a regular mindfulness practice, never mind in the midst of the powerful experience we currently find ourselves in.
I’m not going to suggest that anyone tries to just meditate their way through this, especially if that way of practising feels too challenging right now. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t other ways to keep living mindfully.
In some ways, our current conditions invite us to embrace a collective simplicity that might once have seemed unimaginable.
What I’m sharing here isn’t intended to be a definitive guide, and nor am I meaning to gloss over how incredibly difficult this time is for those who’ve lost loved ones, livelihoods or the ability to connect with the world outside their own home.
These are just a few reflections that have formed from my own daily practice right now, on grounding ourselves in this in-between space.
Getting Creative With Practice
You might currently be adapting to working at home, sharing the space with family who are usually at school or work, or being on your own more than usual. Trying to find space for sitting meditation within that adjustment might feel impossible. So you may have to ‘find’ your practice in activities that you wouldn’t normally see that way: a mindful cup of tea, playing with the kids, enjoying your daily walk… all these things are still practice.
Anything can become a mindfulness practice if you slow down and bring awareness to it. On some retreats we practice ‘working meditation’. This just means doing the hoovering or cooking or washing up, with full intention and presence. Daily chores can even help to ground us in a sense of routine: the dishes still need washing, meals still need to be made, and these familiar spaces might also give us a mindful pause from mental exertion.
In some ways, just being with what is unfolding right now, moment to moment, is the deepest kind of practice there is. And we’re all living it.
Before you roll your eyes at the cliche, I’m not talking about anything superficial here. I don’t just mean thinking about gratitude as a nice idea, but really practising it.
For those of us who are currently well ourselves, and whose loved ones are well, and who aren’t hit hard financially – we have an awful lot to be really grateful for.
These times call for a renewed appreciation of the smallest things that usually go unnoticed: the ability to buy the food we need (or to have it delivered), to get outside, to simply inhabit a life that we might now see as more precious than we once did. These are not small moments, when we bring awareness to the gifts of an ‘average’ human life.
Making The Most Of The Outside
For those of us who can get outside at the moment, this offers us an important positive resource. Whether it’s taking a daily walk, or sitting in your garden, any opportunity to connect with the natural world can have a powerful effect on our wellbeing. Even opening a window to ‘let the outside in’ can be beneficial. I say more about this in these two short videos, in which I share ideas for informal practice in your day:
If you’re finding that too much time online is leaving you feeling drained, you might like Practising Intentional Internet Use
Some posts that weren’t written for lockdown, but expand on the themes above:
If homeschooling resources would be useful, I’ve shared some on my other blog Mindful Life Learning (we’ve been home educating for over 4 years).