Find Time For Mindfulness Anytime, Anywhere
As I write this, I’m planning to head out on vacation to check out of society and check in with my greater reality: my inner self. I’m going into nature to visit Glacier National Park and Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. I’m excited to go, but what comes to mind is how to continue my meditation or mindfulness practice when I leave my natural surroundings. I love our home. It is the place we have created to be full of love and support. However, it is also a place where I very much have a routine. And part of my routine is a morning meditation practice.
So, anytime I travel, I question how to maintain a huge part of who I am. Perhaps, I will be in a room with Kim and I don’t want to wake her with my meditation. At home, I go into another room to practice. It is true that there are times when I simply choose not to meditate while away. However, those are usually short weekend trips. You see, I know what happens to my psyche and my temperament when I don’t meditate. It’s not that I become a raving witch, though some may argue that. However, I do notice that I am less patient and more apt to respond to situations from my lizard brain. In truth, the less I meditate the more out of balance I get with my body and hence my essential self’s communication.
Being mindful takes practice and a bit of forethought when entering environments that take us out of our normal routines. Many times, I take my portable CD player, headphones, and a meditation CD with me, which has worked beautifully. Other times, I find myself sleepy and wanting to simply rest my weary body. So, there are days that I bypass the meditation for some extra sleep. I’ve learned that it’s important to show myself self-compassion when I choose not to meditate. The last thing I need is to fall victim to my lizard brain beating myself up. That being said, having my meditation CD is a reminder that I can do this at any time I want.
The other thing I do when I am not in my typical environment is to practice another mindfulness practice. One way to practice mindfulness, which is very similar to meditation, is to simply ground yourself in the here and now and notice what is going on around you and inside you. Notice the sky, the clouds, the sounds, that itch on your face, what your food tastes like bite by bite, and so on. The mere fact that I will be immersing myself in nature as I visit America’s National Parks will not be difficult. I will be practicing mindfulness throughout my day as I observe all the wonders of nature that are in my path. In fact, I just returned from the YMCA where I met with my movement specialist for some mindful, movement stretches to do during our hiking vacation.
One more task that I plan on taking with me is my self-observation journal, which will remind me to check in with myself at any time and ask myself four questions. It is important to note that before asking oneself these questions, it is crucial to get still and quiet before checking in. Don’t do this on the fly! Take the time your body needs to communicate with you. You and your body deserve three to five minutes to answer these questions.
- What am I feeling right now?
- What am I sensing in my body right now?
- Can I allow these feelings and sensations to occur? (Simply answer with yes or no. If the answer is yes, then it is beneficial to take time to experience the feelings and sensations that you are experiencing.)
- Why am I experiencing these sensations or emotions?
If you are experiencing any confusion or difficult feelings, the last question could be altered to ”What am I thinking at this moment?” This question will help to uncover if your essential self is talking to you or if your lizard brain is trying to get your attention. This differentiation is crucial. To read more about your lizard brain, see Martha Beck’s article Do You and Your Lizard Live in a Van Down by the River?
So, as you travel or disrupt your normal schedule, remember to pack your tools that help keep you grounded, mindful, and in touch with your essential self’s communication. Keep in mind that you may want to add different mindfulness or meditative practices that get you the same result so that you can remain flexible no matter what. Finally, remember that we are at our absolute best when we pay attention to the communication from our bodies and use our social self to carry out our dreams.
I have been asked to speak at a national conference this August on finding balance in day-to-day life. Following is the resource list for the participants that I would like to share with you.
Resources for Learning to Meditate
- Jack Kornfield’s Meditation for Beginners
- Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra’s 21-Day Meditation Experience. Sign up at Chopra Center Meditation to have the mediations emailed to you. They put out a new challenge every four months or so.
- Mindful online magazine
- Jon Kabat-Zinn’s mindfulness-based stress reduction
- Kristin Neff’s website on self-compassion; additionally, she has multiple books and a six-CD set called Self-Compassion Step by Step: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself.
- Kristin Neff and Brené Brown’s online course on self-compassion
I love this Cherokee story. While this is a story, the lesson is absolute truth! The video is also captivating. Enjoy it in whatever way works best for you.
Until next time,
Safe Space Life Coaching