You've worked so hard on establishing your daily practice. Created a dedicated space. Allocated a time of day. Pulled off a logistical miracle to fit it into your day. Then life / business / fun gets in the way and you find yourself on the road. And the routine goes...
It happened to me so many times that I've lost count. My old job used to take me on the road in the most unpredictable and punishing fashion. Early mornings and late nights, often on the same day. Sometimes two, or even three, trips abroad in a single week. Then came the long haul trips. I've been to China and back in a couple of days. Utter madness.
My personal practice suffered. Until I found out how not to let that happen! Things would have been different if I knew then what I know now. Ah well. Lesson learnt! My main problem was, however, not the erratic nature of my working hours.
My main problem was that I had a set idea of what my practice should look like and was very inflexible about it.
Rings a bell? The thing is, of course, that life doesn't always offer perfect scenarios. And that's fine. Navigating life's monkey trail becomes a practice in itself. It's not what happens to us, it's how we respond to it. And there's the key:
It's not what happens to us, it's how we respond to it.
I just had a roller coaster of a month when I somehow managed to cram (fantastic organisational skills on my part!) three trips to three different countries in three weeks with barely enough time in between to wash and repack (and fit in my piano lessons).
And my practice? It thrived! I always seem to get a different kind of focus when I travel, free from all the "baggage" of everyday life. It's the small things that count. So, next time you have to catch a 6am flight somewhere and can't find the time for yourself...
♥ When the alarm goes off in the middle of the night, simply stretch your arms and legs, roll your head around a few times, take a deep breath or two and then close your eyes for a moment of stillness.
♥ When you get to the airport, sit down with a cup of tea to watch the planes take off and land as you wait to board your flight. Just watch the world go by for a little while.
♥ On board: Even on a short flight, make a point of getting up to walk around a bit and stretch. (You could always use the old trick: drink lots of water so you'll have to get up and go to the loo!)
♥ Still on board: Resist the movie marathon temptation and instead listen to a guided meditation or a favourite playlist.
♥ When you finally land on the other side, focus your attention on your breathing as you wait in line to clear immigration. Breathe in to 4, breathe out to 4. Repeat. And repeat...
P.S. Don't travel? The same tips apply to you if you are simply so busy that even 20 minutes to yourself in the morning is out of the question. Have a full time job, kids, life? Yes, you :) It's the stolen moments throughout your day that can make all the difference.