Over the past 18 years, the habit of meditation has helped me to evolve personally on so many levels. It hasn’t always been easy to be a consistent meditator. There were times of dedication mixed with stretches of “there just wasn’t time”. When I fell off the meditation wagon, it usually had to do with changes in my schedule or it happened when I took a vacation. Sometimes after returning home after traveling, I would fail to add meditation back into my routine at home. The dedicated times of meditation practice gradually grew more frequent and the days off became few and far between Now only if I’m at the hospital does my meditation practice have to wait.
I Carry my Meditation Habit with Dignity
The habit of meditation infuses calm into an individual. Like the rest of the Body Thrive habits one carries it with dignity. The early days of meditation, though, are anything less than charming. I remember cramps in my back and shoulder, monkey mind, numb legs, and fidgeting like an aspen leaf. Nonetheless, once the habit of meditation takes hold, it often becomes someone’s keystone habit, that from which all other habits base their strength. In order for the benefits of meditation to truly become a part of you, meditation must travel with you like your toothbrush.
Sit Here, Sit There
I’ve sat in small huts, in hotel rooms, in lobbies, on the beach, in the desert and I usually sit on my pillow at the head of my bed. Sitting first thing in the day ensures that meditation happens and distractions do not. For times when early morning isn’t an option for meditation on my itinerary, there is night time sitting that settles the body for sleep anywhere.
Morning Meditation Grounds Me
Morning meditation has become my sacred connection with source, the earth, the divine. When traveling it’s one of the first things I think about as I settle into a new place because I know being present will make being displaced from my surroundings less disruptive. When tuned into our core, we can be anywhere. Seasoned meditators call their practice “sitting”.
One soon finds that when in a meditative state the body cools down. A shawl becomes necessary so focus can remain on the breath or the body and avoid temperature distractions. At home I have several shawls that I use, a warm one for winter, a lighter one for summer, and a beautiful fuzzy one that feels festive. When packing for a trip I usually take the thinner and lighter shawl with me for morning meditation. Having a token with me from home that helps to trigger this habit making sitting much easier to continue the meditation practice. It becomes a bridge from home and familiarity to continue on the path.
Calming Cools Me Down
While traveling, before I go to sleep I put the shawl beside my bed so absolutely no excuses can arise in the morning. Those excuses sound like, “I didn’t want to wake anyone sleeping while rummaging around in my suitcase”, “The warm bed called me to stay because I couldn’t remember exactly where I put my shawl”, or “My internal clock was off and I couldn’t get up.” When traveling with others, I set my phone alarm on vibrate or a very soft alarm that wakes only me. After the obligatory trip to the bathroom to Start the Day Right, I sit on my pillow and put the shawl over my shoulders and sit. If new surroundings pose distractions, simply focusing on my breath is my practice for the morning. I also set an intention to open to possibility for the day and identify resistance in my body. I can breathe into receptivity in a different environment.
I’ve found the effects of meditating while traveling to be fantastic. My adventures are more colorful, flavorful and present. Have you meditated when you are on a trip? Would love to hear about it. Scroll down and tell me how you meditated while on vacation.
Hi, my name is Beth Claxton. I’ve been an actively practicing OB/Gyn physician for the past 25 years and am currently working in a community health center in Flagstaff, AZ. Four years ago I was dealing with divorce, becoming a single mother of two daughters and carrying an enormous private practice workload. During this time I discovered Ayurveda and it transformed my life. Today I am healthy, happy, radiant, and more integrated than ever before. I share my journey in an online class I call Body Wise. I also teach Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). More info on me and my offerings can be found at my website.