Our daily lives are petri dishes for practice. Daily life is practice. In our petri dish is everything we experience in our everyday life; work, bills, dishes, relationships, engaging with others, and whatever else decides to show up that day. Bringing our meditation practice into our everyday lives can be the most enriching, exponentially expanding, and at times truly challenging practice. Whether we are in a bliss-filled experience or in a high-stress situation, we can use our practice to harmonize with each moment.
In my previous life as an educator, I didn’t ever know what may occur. Even if each class was planned down to the minute, most of the time that plan did not happen as I had envisioned it. Why? Because it was always an unexpected journey with my students. They would surprise me with the most amazing antics at any given moment during the middle of a lesson on external conflict, for example, or a crisis situation would erupt, which was never part of the plan but a definite possibility. It was at times completely uncomfortable. This is where I learned how to take my meditation practice off of the cushion and out of my little cave-like room and into my everyday. Even now, when I may not like exactly what is happening and feel downright uncomfortable, I have to check in with myself to stay in the moment and learn to respond with grace. Truth is, I don’t always respond with grace. I may respond with high drama and I may as well have signed up for the opera or a Shakespearean play where I am the leading role. Clearly. Yet, this is practice too. It all is.
It’s in the trying times that we realize the fortitude of our practice. We see how we were able to stay present, grounded, and move through those times with the grace of our breath. More and more, I find that my daily life is practice. Each moment presents an opportunity to practice compassion, compassionate boundary-setting, detachment, impermanence, move from aversion to acceptance, and the ability to show up, stay in yourself, and yet connect to what is happening even if it’s uncomfortable for only you. I’ve learned and continue to learn that daily life is practice.
My 5 Simple Reflections on Living your Practice:
1. Create a sacred space inside your home where you can sit at the end or beginning of your day.
2. If you reach your own version of drama and overwhelm, stop and set a time limit for your drama. Or, do what I have to do per my life coach, I have to separate myself from the situation, walk away, and go write it all out. Basically, it’s me vomiting my aggravation or whatever emotion it is onto a page. It always works.
3. Breathe deeply, take a deep long inhale and exhale. Check in and acknowledge what emotions you are feeling and where they are in your body. I’ve used this in the classroom several times, and in stressful situations. It brings me back to myself and into my body.
4. Know that the moment will change. This is all that is certain at times.
5. Stay in the moment, even when you are doing dishes.