Here are some things I’m working to integrate into my daily life after returning home from being on retreat at Deer Park Monastery:
1. When I brush my teeth my usual tendency is to do other things while brushing my teeth (which is often quite comical, because I’ll attempt to do all kinds of things that have no business in trying to be accomplished in the midst of brushing my teeth!), so I’m practicing to stay put while brushing my teeth and not roam around the house.
2. When I was at Deer Park I came up with two new morning verses I would say to myself upon waking up each day, and I’m wanting to continue with them:
Waking up, my smile greets a fresh new day
and, when first rising out of bed, As my feet touch the ground, may I rise with intention, like the sun
3. I came up with this meal verse (to say internally to myself once I was finished eating) when I first went to Deer Park on extended retreat 4 years ago. It’s been something I’ve done at every meal while at Deer Park each January but haven’t carried home with me in my daily life, which I’d like to remedy. After eating verse:
This bowl (or plate) was just filled with wonderful, nutritious, delicious food. May I take the energy and nourishment it provides me and transform it into ____, _____, and ______ on my path of practice today.
For the fill-in-the-blank spots, I list three components that make sense to me for that particular moment and time of day. So, for instance, after breakfast I might use the words: mindfulness, ease, and joy, and after dinner I might say: rest, release, and self-care.
Developing fresh, new ways in which to incorporate mindfulness into my everyday life not only helps to support my transition back into the wonderful flow of daily living but also enables me to cultivate and strengthen my seeds of mindfulness, stability, and connection. Because the journey of being human and navigating this world, which is “beautiful and absurd and small” (as Ani Difranco sings in one her songs), as always and ever, continues on, flowing as a river, perpetually shifting and changing.