One of the greatest challenges for me in lockdown has been getting a sense of focus and concentration around my life generally. I retired at the end of March from a really busy job and was so delighted, thinking I would spend more time on meditation, yoga and exercise. I used to think that it was the lack of time that was getting in the way; but no. To my horror it was my own restless mind and lack of attention – jumping from one thing to another and ending the day feeling like I really hadn’t achieved anything. Social media didn’t help – I could spend hours lost in threads, watching videos etc. escaping from my list of must dos so it all became much like I was in coping with a busy job!
Reflecting on this I started to see that I had a standard idea in my head of what my practice ‘should be’ - fitting in lots of things for set amounts of time and feeling I had failed if I didn’t get them done and could ‘tick off’ each day. This time has helped me to start to think about what I need rather than work to a list of must dos – some days it’s gentle yoga, other days it’s a strenuous walk, some days being busy and frantic and sometimes just being with the day. It seems simple but it’s a revelation for me to let go of the ‘should do’ and remembering to breathe. I’m trying to do one thing at a time rather than jump in and out of 3 activities and this really helps. I’ve also discovered a love of silent, focus mindful practice as this is really helping to quiet me even if only for 10 or 15 mins – I sit quietly and just breathe with a candle flame – so peaceful .
My mum is 90 and, though she would be furious if anyone suggested she needed a carer, I do spend time supporting her in taking her shopping, helping her pay bills etc. so I have started to use this approach when I stay with her – go with her flow rather than having a set list of things we need to achieve. Previously I noticed that I had started to get impatient with her as everything can take a long time! I enjoy and value that time now.