Recently and during one of our Weekly Online Sits, MA member Anna Zannides shared with the group that she was about to head off for a weekend away to Amsterdam. She also shared that she was worried about keeping up her Mindfulness Practice while away. As a group, we brainstormed about ways she could bring Mindfulness into her travel and wished Anna well as she set off for her adventure. Anna has kindly written about her experience. Enjoy!
Things I have learned about how to practice Mindfulness when you are away from home (or on holiday) by Anna Zannides
When I practice Mindfulness, I follow a routine for my daily formal meditation. I try to do it first thing in the morning in a space specifically set up for meditation. I find this makes the routine easier as it sets me up for the day.
Recently, my dilemma was how to practice meditation when I travel. When I went to Amsterdam with a friend last week, I knew I wasn’t going to find the time to meditate first thing in the morning (as part of my routine).
I discussed this with other members of the Mindfulness Association at one of our online sessions and many suggestions where shared. From these suggestions, I decided to be kind to myself, enjoy my short trip and try, as much as possible, to practice Mindfulness informally throughout the day, rather than try to fit my formal practice in.
It was apparent to me that when we are out of our normal environment, it can be challenging to include formal practice. However, as Mindfulness Practitioners we can try to be Mindful in everything that we do.
Challenge One: At the airport. I’m going to come clean here and admit that this was a real challenge for me. I can be very impatient; although, I have improved immensely since I started practicing Mindfulness. Alas, I haven’t quite mastered it yet. So when I was met with two young check- in assistants with, let’s just say, “an attitude”, I took a very deep breath and took stock of my thoughts at the time. I was then able to look at the situation in a different way, to see it for what it was and not get caught up in the drama. I let it go.
Challenge Two: Going with the flow and living in the moment. I think travelling to a new place or being on holiday is the best way to practice being in the moment because that is what it’s all about. You don’t have to plan, keep to a schedule or do anything that you don’t want to do. You are exposed to new experiences and opportunities, perfect for being in the flow and being present. For most of the four days, that’s exactly what I did: go with the flow and have no expectations.
Challenge Four: Practicing Compassion for others. If like me you are used to doing your own thing and not having to consider anyone else, travelling with a friend may require you to practice compassion and kindness (even if it requires some compromise). I was pleasantly surprised that this was not such a challenge for me, as generally we got on very well.
Challenge Three: Practicing Self Compassion. And I think this was the big one. I wanted to have a good time, and yes that meant I ate things I wouldn’t normally, I drank some alcohol and even slept late. But I was mindful throughout, never over indulging and never becoming mindless. After all, being a Mindfulness Practitioner does not require us to be extra-ordinary humans, just mindful ones.
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