I took time for silence and meditation. As it was a rare day with no morning obligations, I gave myself the gift of waking up with no alarm. Next, I sat on the edge of the bed and breathed, prayed, and remained quiet and still for some time. Yes, eventually my addictive impulse took over and I reached for my phone, but even as I was scrolling through email and social media, I tried to do it mindfully--with purpose and focus.
I enjoyed some downtime. I was the only one awake, so I plugged in my headphones, sat in the overstuffed chair, and finished a documentary I started on Netflix last night called Monk With A Camera. Watching this Tibetan monk's dedication to peace, service, and his spiritual walk and then comparing it to my own was a little bit like going up on Karaoke night after Mariah Carey. But even in watching his story, he was a reminder not to judge myself to harshly.
I cleaned something. After finishing the documentary, I decided to clean a messy part of the kitchen. I didn't stress about cleaning the whole house, but rather just mindfully washed some dishes from the night before, feeling the suds on my skin as I scrubbed. Then I cleaned the kitchen counter, focusing on eliminating specific spots and being present during the job. Next, I put a load of towels in the washing machine. I listened to the water as it cascaded into the drum, and I felt the plush fabric of the towels as they slipped through my fingers into the soapy froth.
I luxuriated in a favorite place. After the laundry was on, I sat on my back patio with a cup of hot coffee with Vanilla Caramel creamer and I looked at the sky and the clouds, watched the red, pink, and yellow roses dance in the breeze, and listened to the birds sing in the trees. The peacefulness of our backyard was a selling point to me when we first bought the house eleven years ago, but it has only been since starting The Zen Teacher Project that I’ve fully given myself permission to use it as the sanctuary I knew it could be. Now, there’s no going back.
I created. Writing is such a great form of therapy and, with the week I’ve had, this opportunity came at just the right time. But for you, it could be crafting, quilting, or painting.
I listened to music. As I composed this post, I listened to music. Today, it was The Monkee's Greatest Hits. The Monkees and I go way back and I love how upbeat and fun their music is. Furthermore, it’s always such a nice reminder of a simpler time for me. But any kind of music can work--even Perry Como, Miley Cyrus, or The Sugar Hill Gang.**
I have stacks of papers to grade in my backpack, bills that have to be paid, emails and phone calls that must be answered, and prayers that I must say for the sick, the misguided, and most sadly, those in my life who have passed on in the last week***.
But in the face of a world that seems unable to keep from spinning, I chose to step off the Merry-Go-Round for a few moments this morning to create a personal vibe that will find me in a better position to return to those aforementioned obligations.
The key, I think, is to give ourselves permission to take care of our minds, bodies, and spirits and create peace and equanimity inside us.
And then to just go out and do it. TZT
*All told it was about 90 minutes.
**Just don't play that "music" near me. (Looks like I still need a little work on that whole non-judgmental thing, don't I?)
***I told you it was a tough week.