Many of us have found ourselves working from home this week, self-isolating or practicing social distancing as much as humanely possible. One would be forgiven if they found themselves really struggling with this as I know I am. It's just not natural for us to be closing boarders, withdrawing from our workplaces and distancing from the community. I can't help but feel compassion for all the dear souls at the supermarket who seemed either really afraid to enter the building or navigating the aisles in a complete panic. I know the poorer folks in our community, the elders and the most vulnerable must be finding this time of uncertainty increasingly distressing and I encourage others to be mindful of those who need support and offer it.
As a seasoned meditator who is quite used to retreating and sitting with my own troubled mind at times I have got somewhat better at watching the fears and anxiety arise and pass and have had some space to reflect on my own patterns of distress. Much of the practice is an invitation into embracing uncertainty and unknowns. I have decided to frame the whole social distancing and pandemic as an opportunity to retreat at home and have kept my interactions to a minimal. It's given me time to finish off and start new projects but also ramp up the way I nurture myself and family and really value the connections I am still engaging in.
Today's blog I would like to share some mindfulness coaching tips for setting yourself, your family and friends up for the home retreat experience. The invitation is to do this in a balanced way, meaning if you need support continue to reach out to those you love and trust and keep your connections to what's meaningful and can support you through this time. If you don't have anyone to offer you support please reach out to me and I can surely help you connect with someone who can.
Here's my top tips for retreating at home:
Here's some helpful links to support you through your retreat at home experience:
Download the free Insight Timer app, discover the 30,000 meditations on it and start your mindfulness meditation practice today. Specialised meditations for sleep, anxiety and stress are popular and you'll also be able to connect with some great teachers and community across the globe. https://apps.apple.com/au/app/insight-timer-meditation-app/id337472899
Make your home beautiful and like your own private sanctuary with Ishka online products and support an Australian company that was already struggling to stay afloat before this crisis hit. All products and furniture have 50% off and postage is included so you wont have to leave your home retreat. https://ishka.com.au/
Start a twice daily movement practice. Explore yoga, 5 rhythms dance, thai chi, chi gong, high intensity exercise, running, mindful walking or just moving and stretching your body intuitively. Please read this poem on Walking Meditation by Thic Nhat Hanh. https://plumvillage.org/articles/walking-meditation-a-poem-by-thich-nhat-hanh/
Vegan Feasting at Home
Do you love cooking with loved ones when you have the time and space to get creative and do kitchen work together? Better still is eating a lovingly cooked meal with fresh and healthy ingredient with those who helped you prepare and make it. I have found this blog with 40 incredibly easy and delicious vegan recipes that invites you to include what ever food is in season in your neck of the woods. https://www.feastingathome.com/vegan-dinner-recipes/
Pampering the Body
The body is our temple and in this lifetime it's all we have got to get the most out of life. Treating your body to a pamper session is a nice way to express your love and appreciation for all it does to you. The invitation here is to connect with your body intimately and practice applying creams, potions and nourishing blends and bathing using a gentle and sensual touch allowing yourself to feel pleasure and relaxation. Sukin are an Australian product that use natural ingredients in simple yet delightful combinations.
Creative Journal Writing
As part of your retreat at home experience I recommend getting yourself a journal for some reflective writing work. Reflective writing can be included in your meditations at either the beginning or end or as a stand alone practice. Simply Fierce recommends 5 different journal writing practices for self-care. They include Observing and exploring your feelings, Clearing your mind with a brain dump, Writing a gratitude list, Forgiving yourself through writing and the one that get my juices flowing Indulging in your dreams. Give it a go here https://www.simplyfiercely.com/5-ways-to-use-your-journal-for-self-care/
Exploring New Knowledge Online
There is so much learning available for free online. here's my favourite links for different types of learning.
Spiritual: Dharma Seed is an online app for sharing free Western Insight Buddhism teachings. https://dharmaseed.org/
Science: The popular Yale, Science of Well-being course is a free online course that is designed to increase your happiness. https://www.coursera.org/learn/the-science-of-well-being?siteID=TnL5HPStwNw-di_xhAdNd.eOyp1.mH02AA&utm_content=10&utm_medium=partners&utm_source=linkshare&utm_campaign=TnL5HPStwNw
12 famous museums and galleries offer virtual tours online for free. Travel from Berlin, to New York to Mexico City exploring art, history and anthropology. https://icon.ink/articles/google-museums-offer-virtual-tours-self-isolation-things-to-do/
Learn how to grow a sustainable kitchen garden
Get inspired to grow your own vegetables and fruit by doing this free introductory online permaculture course https://www.permaculturecourseonline.com/#sitewrap
I am looking at offering my community an online mindfulness session on connection next week on Wednesday. If this sounds like something you would be interested in joining me on please let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org with mindfulness retreat online in the subject line and look out for more information in your inbox. If there is enough interest I may offer a few times.