Many of us have been in home isolation for some time now. Maybe it was okay at first, but as the days go by we may notice that it is getting harder just sitting at home, unable to maintain one's daily life. The longing for being with those you care about intensifies. In the beginning, movies and entertainment are exciting, but after a while, the longing for meaningfulness intensifies. We watch the news and we think and worry about the future. But what about right now, this moment, which more than usual appears without guarantees? How can we strengthen our presence in this now?
We have recently held an online meeting with the whole team behind Contemplation on how to best navigate on our common platform during this time. We have put together some suggestions for activities that can be carried out even during these corona-times where, in order to look out for one another, we have to keep our distance.
Walking meditation outside
In your own company, with the dog, or together with the one or those you are self-isolating with.
In the photo you see Kirsten and Lasse from our team. In turns, they support each other walking with their eyes closed, opening their senses and letting go of control.
Meditating in nature.
Find a calm place: by the ocean, in the woods, in the garden, under a tree. Listen to that particular silence which is found on our planet right now. Few or no airplanes are crossing the sky, noise from traffic is mostly very limited, and the sounds of nature clearly appear in the soundscape.
Cooking with love
While the world is on a standstill for a moment, the body still needs nutrition, and those around you need it. Right now is an excellent time for cooking with love.
When you have prepared a meal with love, the next opportunity for praxis is, so to speak,
served on a silver platter: eating while fully present. We receive the opportunity to activate our whole sense apparatus, the senses of seeing and smelling, the sense of taste, the senses of feeling and hearing.
By lowering the pace around mealtimes, we give way to the possible enjoyment that lies in every meal.
Balancing outward and inward attention
In a time like this, most of us follow the news. Up to several times daily, maybe even several times per hour. The situation concerns all of us and we need to be up to date. But this constant updating can easily pull us away from or outside of ourselves, and when we are outside of ourselves, both practicing self-care and being there for others becomes difficult. Therefore, we propose a balance between keeping up with the news and keeping track of what's going on in the inner world; the inner news.
One approach could be to counteract hearing or reading ten minutes of today's news, with ten minutes of feeling your body, becoming aware of your breathing, feeling the heart and compassion – or maybe how the heart tries to protect itself - and simply listen in in one's own inner mood.
Mindful yoga at home
Presently - like always - it is beneficial to feel your body, to be centered and rooted in one’s essence. A regular practice of mindful yoga is a good support for this kind of anchoring.
Mindful yoga practices movement with presence.
It is about cultivating self-care and exercising our innate ability to be conscious of the body in a non-judgmental way. Through this we enable ourselves to listen and respond to the signals of our body more precisely.
This gives us an opportunity to deepen our centering and contact inward, to improve our stress regulation, and in turn receive a rise of energy, which we can turn into being present with both our outside world and ourselves. This is especially needed right now.
Time for practice
In the fact that currently everyone is forced to slow down, there is an opportunity for the practitioner to intensify meditation practice.
When circumstances are turbulent and the future even more uncertain than normally, it can make a difference - at least for one's self - to place a meditative anchor inward, through presence, breath, body awareness and feelings of the heart.
Keeping in touch with loves ones
At present, when the best way to look out for each other is by keeping a distance, digital aids show us their worth. Although we cannot touch and hug each other, we can still be present with one another.
To give space to creativity
Maybe this is the time for you, on your own or with others, to find pen and paper and write or draw away. Without having a goal. Just for the fun of it.
Creativity is an innate competence, which our everyday lives are sometimes just too busy for us to remember. Or set aside time for. Creative meetings are not necessarily about performance. When we do not focus on the product, when we are just together in play or in the process itself, they can in their own suttleness be valuable.
And when there is still time to spare, you can play with giving your partner a new look. ❤️
M.A., psychotherapist, architect and meditation teacher. She is the founder of Kontemplation which offers MBSR-programs and group retreats where mindfulness, presence yoga, compassion and creativity are interwoven into an integrated practice.
She is a part of the organizational group behind The Danish Society for the Promotion of Life Wisdom in Children, an association placing special emphasis on relational competence, teaching the practice of empathy and presence to professionals working with children and young people.
Hanneli lives at Vækstcenteret, a contemplative community in Denmark under the guidance of founder Jes Bertelsen. She divides her time between counseling, teaching, and long-term individual meditation retreats.