Integration for me is at the centre of our learning experiences, time away spent in reflection, vacations and generally in life.
I have just spent an incredible ten days with my teacher. During this time I was offline - no social media, no cell reception and no emails. I was also surrounded by a beautiful environment where I had the opportunity to learn more about many things, including myself.
I bathed myself daily in natural hot springs, went to sleep when the sun went down and woke up when it was rising. I was devoted and dedicated to my practice, in all senses of a practice and connecting to those around me. I felt completely at ease, my mind was quiet and calm. I was not consumed with thoughts about the past or the future, I was in each moment and I was allowing each moment to be the teacher. It was a blissful ten days for which I am so grateful. Then it came to an end, as all things do, like the lyrics in the song by Jackson Browne: "All good things gotta come to an end . . .", and the journey home began,
I was very much looking forward to returning to my life that I love very much. However, along with returning home was returning to cellphone reception, Wifi, iphone, radio, stores,cars, traffic,commitments, appointments and essentially the busier pace of life that is filled with distraction. What I began to notice is that the work for me is really to integrate the lessons learned during my training into my daily life, so that I can absorb some of the rhythm of the training into my daily life, versus returning home and immediately falling back into old patterns, habits and tendencies. Here are a few things that I have been working on incorporating into my daily life to feel more easeful, and more relaxed.
I am more dedicated to my sadhana than before, which is always such a beautiful gift that a training gives and practicing first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day . . . Even before my first cup of coffee, trust me the difference in meditation pre and post coffee is phenomenal.
I have started turning the radio off in the car, as I have noticed since being home that often the messages are negative, especially in the morning around the news hour, yes, even the CBC. Instead I allow myself to be with the silence, the quiet or I put on some music.
I now come home from work and leave my phone in the bedroom so that I can more fully connect with my partner, not distracted by my phone. I am much more present in our interactions. I realized when I was away, that I didn't miss my phone and the world did not end, so it is okay to take some time away from your phone, the messages will still be there.
I have started to practice more gratitude for the life that I have. Of course there are real life questions that we all face, real decisions that must be made and stressful situations that trigger all of us. At the same time, we can spend all of our time endlessly caught in a cycle of worry or over thinking rather than resting into the present moment. The here and now. This has probably been my largest lesson, or maybe that was to religiously soak my body is healing warm waters at least once a day ;)
So here I sit back in the full swing of life with all of its ups and downs, all of the things that push and pull on us and I choose to step into the space of integration. The above things may sound small, however, they assist in creating an overall mood, or energy. They help to bring me into the present moment and quiet my mind. To my teacher, Janet Stone, deep pranams for opening the space for this teaching <3
Here is the playlist that I created based on my time away . . . I hope that you enjoy: