So, I have been in the habit of ending the year with a weeklong meditation retreat.Enter COVId and lockdown and quasi-lockdown and the unease, if not paranoia, of emerging into the world. Needless to say, the retreats have been cancelled.
And then, as Omicron starts making a name for itself, another retreat is announced, both live and virtual.
Despite various precautions, I don’t feel comfortable spending half a day in a room full of distanced others breathing. Even with masks on. Even with the windows open. Nope.
So I am zooming in to be present. Hehe, excuse the pun. Sorry, not sorry.
Normally, the retreats are full days with heavily ritualized silent mindful breakfasts and lunches and clean-ups and individualized communal chores. Of course, now, none of this is on. Just the half-day meditations and talks and feedback/discussion.
So I am making an effort to insert a bit of streamlining into my home life to mimic the full retreat.
It hasn’t been all that effective yet. For one thing, I have been online, distracting myself with social media and films and such.
However, I have been waking up early, whether my neighbours have allowed me to sleep much or not. I have been reading dharmic texts. I have been more aware of my habitual patterns and thoughts, positive and not so much.
Also, I have been choosing to drink straight teas over my froufrou choices or over the top eggnog additions.
I don’t know whether I will continue with straight teas. After all, eggnog season is brief and I am weak. But for today…
This tea, of course, is not at all any kind of sacrifice, what with luscious scents and flavours of bittersweet chocolate and freshly baked bread. Occasional peek a boos of sweet potato and prune.
After the second steep, there’s a bit of raspy throat kind of harshness, but other than that, this tea is a great delight and I am grateful to have some in my cup.