How to Retreat When You're Not on Retreat

 

Lately I've been thinking about 'doing' versus 'being'.

The other day, I decided to "do" some mid-morning yoga in my backyard. I'd already looked 27 times at my to-do-list in the phone. I'd considered putting time in the list to practice and just be.

The amber orange mat was laid out, an armful of thick grey blankets and some palo santo. I sat down.

I got up to go do something else real quick...and then checked my email. I came back. Sat down. I got up. You get the picture. 

It became crystal clear that I would keep doing to avoid being. My attitude while doing overpowering any feeling of being. Even though I knew that 'just being' was the thing that would actually resolve my stress and leave me more clear and productive.

Even on a 10-day meditation retreat, I watched this mental attitude of doing happen all the time, while supposedly just sitting there. 

We can stress ourselves out thinking getting tasks done is more important than healing and taking the time to feel calm. 

Carrying these insights into my life, I've found more ease. I've found respite.

 

Respite

Respite has become part of my day. I've transformed corners of my home into sacred places and I spend time there everyday to breathe, meditate, and pray. Along with taking time for stillness, there's a walk in my day to move my body and get out of my head.

Going on vacation or retreat is the extreme way to separate ourselves from the daily grind, but I've learned we can give ourselves this rest at many moments throughout the day.

 

Micro Moments

Whether practicing mindful eating or running, feeding our senses in a highly conscious way gives rise to a different state of being, a natural state of openness to everything arising moment to moment. 

When I'm on the computer, I'll have flashes of recognition that I've tipped too far on the scale towards frenetic doing and I'll take a load off. Dropping my attention into my body and senses for just 3 seconds, I feel a fullness and gentleness. 

I don't have it all figured out, but I'm noticing more relaxation and ease within everyday tasks. How do we start to recognize these opportunities to alter the quality and character of the day?

 

Invitation to Chill

Caring for myself in simple ways improves my state of being and allows me to be more present for the way life happens. 

Some of my personal favorites are :: calming music, a short walk while really looking at the trees, self massage with oil, a warm bath, a deep breath with closed eyes, and enjoying tea as an activity of it's own.

We can integrate moments of being into real life. 

Meeting ourselves just where we are rather than looking to where we'd like to be - this is the attitude that will bring the fruits.

 

With Gentleness,

Lauren

 

Lauren Ziegler