Monthly Archives: August 2014

Camping: the ultimate habit buster

Glamping fire

Last year for my family holiday I went glamping, in a beautiful bell tent with the hubby and kids (then 3&5 so you can imagine there was nothing remotely glamorous about it). It was lovely and testing and different all at once.

Holidays are what get us away from our routine, from the nine to five grind of school runs, doing homework with reluctant jiggling young children and commuting into London. To stand back, take stock and have a rest is so welcome even though with young kids there is no rest, only a change of location in which you perform the never ending round of get up, entertain, cook , cajole to eat veggies, clean teeth and then usher bedwards.

It was hard work being in a tent, losing my space to practice any form of meditation or yoga and then when the children finally did go to sleep it was usually only half an hour later before it got dark.

Talking to someone recently about camping they said ‘It’s the ultimate habit buster, you have to change the way you think and change the way you do everything, from going to the loo in the night to washing the dishes, nothing is how you usually do things when you camp.’ That is so true.  The practice was just being there, watching the flames flicker each night by the fire as we had a medicinal glass of wine and talked briefly before crashing out to face another 5am wake up call from our youngest and most excitable child.

This year’s holiday was more civilised – a farm house with my extended family. I had space and time to do Qi Gong everyday and meditate as much as I wanted. It was bliss compared to glamping but I wouldn’t completely rule camping out in the future because there are very few experiences that get you right back to basics, it just might be more rewarding once my son has stopped waking up at 5am.

And for those of us who go away only once or twice a year there are so many ways to shake things up in our daily lives in between holidays, from changing where we sit to watching a random film we know nothing about, little and regular changes to our daily routine can help us recognise and even change our sometimes unhelpful habitual behaviour.

Today’s total practice time: 20 minutes

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At the hairdressers

balance

Most of us have activities we would rather avoid, and for me, up there with sitting exams and doing door-to-door charity collecting, as I once did while backpacking, it is going to the hairdressers.

I clearly am not a typical woman as I know many women who love nothing better than spending three hours having their hair dyed while idly chatting away about holidays with their young hairdresser. I also know quite a few women who also loathe going and begrudge paying £33 or whatever for a forty minute cut and blow dry. I like my husband’s idea of buying a pair of clippers and just doing it yourself for as long as you can reach round the back of your head but it’s quite a radical, bold (no pun intended) move for a woman.

So instead I go to the hairdressers as infrequently as possible, get the most low maintenance of cuts and grin and bear it as best I can. Today I tried something different, I accepted I disliked it and then as I sat bored in the chair I meditated. It had never occurred to me before, I think the whole experience sends me so off kilter I have never had the wherewithal to consider meditating.

It made a disliked and boring activity seem much more interesting. By taking to heart Jon Kabat-Zinn’s words of allowing life to be our teacher and treating our lives as one long experiment in awareness we can turn the moments we dislike into something more, a chance to learn and see how we flinch at those parts of our lives we simply can’t avoid.

Today’s Total Practice Time: 1 hour

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