We are back – the long awaited and planned in-between time at the end of vacation, the beginning of September and work.
I think that this vacation was one of my most mindful ones so far …probably because it lasted so long and because of my conscious decision not to get drawn in to working on the side.
And when it comes to practice – sometimes the informal practice sessions were at the forefront, and the formal session happened quite unexpectedly.
The Baltic sea coast: Mindfulness on the go’ ( link). Absolutely. Many practice sessions of the bodyscan in a space which is ideal for this, in silence, on the floor, on a mat, under a blanket, the practice also found a new aspect in motion. Again, beginning with the breath, my attention wanders through my body as I run after a ball – the warm, rough sand under my feet and even through my hair as it flies around with the unexpected gust of wind, warm, then suddenly fresh , causing goosebumps to appear.
Water trickling through my fingers when building sandcastles. The space around me changing colour depending on the light of the sun, movement and our physical agility – surprising as well – in the family game of catching seagulls and sea birds….and then the moment when my back asked for a break, out of self-compassion, during our long bike rides of many kilometres.
The lake: Forest. Evening. Fishing. Total concentration. Warm air and the colours of the sky which soften everything around us. And only sometimes the sound of the splashing on the pier nearby. Isn’t this the perfect moment for the 3-minute breathing space? And an even fuller presence.
Rowing in a canoe was the next revelation during my mindful vacation. The mindful movement of dipping the oars to be able to sail smoothly under trees blown down by the august storms. The body working, balancing in order not to flood the boat with water when the stream became stronger, but not wider. And at the same time the awareness of the sounds of the surrounding forest and its inhabitants.
And one more memory, very surprising for me. Meditation in a cinema, totally unplanned, and initiated by the picture on the screen. The film, called ‚Five’ ( dir…2017) recorded everything from a static camera ( just like our eyes during regular sitting sessions) in different places. In a SLOW rhythm. The background changed every few minutes ( together with the ever present element of water- the sea, a lake) and the sounds which were audible directed my mind into a meditation session using the support of sound. Breath. Settling. Anchoring in the body. The delicate buzz of the movie projector above my head. The coughing of one of the four members of the audience. The sound of the sea as it threw out pieces of wood and its journey along the shore, and the sand. People walking along the ocean promenade, the sound of the waves hitting the shore together with the sound of hurried stepts of people passing by the camera. Dogs barking as they play on the beach. Is it possible not to notice the clear sound of ducks’ footfalls on the sand. ?
And finally a night storm on the lake. The frogs concert ( so many octaves) which grew silent together with the first thunderclap which , in turn, woke up the wolves, owls and dogs of the neighbouring village, again renewed its croaking when the clouds dissipated and the moon came out. And so my cinema seat in the tiny movie theatre became my ‚meditation pillow’.
How many ways there are to practise mindfulness, and how grateful I am that moments of insight can happen even during a vacation.