The Mindfulness Blog

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Home Retreats

According to a panel of wellness journalists and business forecasters who focus on the future of well-being, one of the top 5 trends of 2021 will be increased "home wellness". Given the continuing difficulties occasioned by the COVID pandemic, that's not exactly clairvoyant.

If you've ever been on a meditation retreat (mindfulness and meditation are important components of well-being), you know that there is little happening on retreat that cannot be duplicated at home. The primary differences are: 1) usually good (if rudimentary) vegetarian meals, 2) the absence of multiple home distractions, and 3) the motivation of a group vibe, and a "leader".

All three of those things can be dealt with, if one is willing or able to make the commitment. For many of us, any or all of them are seemingly unsurmountable, but guess what?. They're not. And there are strategies to address each of those perceived impediments.

Beginning with the most obvious (concern #1), vegetarian meals are a nice incident to the retreat experience, but they're hardly necessary-- and if your home retreat is shortened, in order to accommodate other priorities (See, discussion of concern #2), the meals are really irrelevant.

With respect to concern #2, the demands of home life will differ for all of us: The proclivities of our spouse, significant other, and/or pet(s), demands of work, and of course, the demands of children-- which vary, depending upon age, number and special needs. Each one of those concerns are very real and must be addressed-- and each will involve different push back. But is dealing with that push back really any more difficult than arranging to be gone and basically incommunicado, for an extended period of time?

Which takes us to concern #3, which in one respect may be the most difficult of all, because it depends upon our personal level of commitment. That said, I don't know why the commitment to make time for meditation (be it related to a home retreat or beginning/continuation of a regular meditation practice), is any different than committing to train for a triathlon, or marathon.

If we can make time to fit physical fitness into our day, we can make time for mental/emotional fitness. Maybe shorten our physical regimen by 5 or 10 minutes, and devote that time to a mental/emotional regimen? Maybe "cool down" by taking a few minutes for silence and stillness-- paying attention to our thoughts and emotional state?

Let's evolve our idea of working out, and begin making time for both our physical fitness and our mental/emotional fitness!


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