I am soon going to be on a plane .. heading off to a magical island for some rest and relaxation.
Ten years between plane travel (and a good solid holiday break) is not a healthy option for anyone .. and this is where my meditation practice has been invaluable over the last few busy years.
Each morning I have the opportunity to sit with my 'best friend' and rest. Each morning I am gently held by my practice to find that place within me that is quiet and still and spacious. And in that space I can find peace, I can sort through and let go of things that no longer serve me, listen to my body and tap into my creativity.
Each morning on my cushion I am restored, nurtured and supported.
But a holiday in the sunshine ~ well that's something magical and you can follow some of my travel adventures on my Instagram page over the next few weeks.
I am really looking forward to being closer to the water, resting under the blue sky, listening to the sea breeze in the palm trees and meditating with the setting sun.
Water is an image often used when discussing meditation.
If you imagine the mind as a vast expanse of ocean, our daily chattering thoughts are like the waves that continually rise and fall, chopping up the surface and distorting our view of the beauty below.
Sometimes the waves are wild, dark and tumultuous .. they toss us around and make us edgy, anxious and weary.
Sometimes the waves are just a gentle ebb and flow, a lapping rhythm that naturally calms us allowing us to more easily 'let go' and relax into the flow of life.
When we dive under the water .. we leave the waves overhead and immerse our body/mind into a deeper quiet and stillness. In meditation we remain aware of the waves (thoughts) occurring above us, but there is no need to engage with them, instead we relish the opportunity to swim deep below the agitation and touch a sense of real freedom.
Most of the human body is made up of water, somewhere between 60-80%, so we are naturally a part of the great body of water around us, also effected by tide and lunar cycles. In the Buddhist tradition the symbol of water denotes purity, clarity and calmness .. reminding us to cleanse our minds and attain a state of purity.
* sea air is charged with healthy negative ions .. these increase our ability to absorb oxygen, thus helping to balance our levels of serotonin (the chemical associated with mood and stress)
* Listening to the waves alters and mellows the wave patters in the brain .. soothing us into a deeply calm and relaxed state.
Hot weather delights:
* drinking plenty of cool water with jingly ice
* being still more .. body and mind
* reading, feet up, on the couch with no guilt
* sarongs and bare skin
* ice cream .. or better still .. fresh green apple gelati
* cool red grapes eaten straight out of the fridge
* a dip in a friends pool or a late afternoon beachside plunge