I have been rebuilding my meditation habit with the Headspace app. When I meditate I feel more centered and able to step back from the flurry of thoughts that are part of my everyday life. I also know that the more I make meditation part of that daily life, the less I’m sucked into those frantic, volatile patterns of thinking. This used to be a part of my routine but got knocked out by a lot of travel, visitors, and other disruptions; returning to meditation is like getting a gust of fresh air or a spot of sunshine back into my day.
I remember rifling through my mom’s basket of essential oils as a kid. I couldn’t tell you all the things we used them for, but the tactile memory of handling the tiny bottles and twisting of the caps to get a sniff is very much still with me.
I’m not sure why it took me so long to get oils of my own. Maybe because I know how much each milliliter is worth. Maybe because I couldn’t decide what scents to start with. Maybe because I didn’t think I could replace that basket from my childhood.
But I finally did get a handful of bottles, and tonight I mixed eucalyptus and lavender with a bowlful of rice to refill my homemade heating pad. It needs to sit a while and absorb the oils, but I can’t wait to sew it back up and try it out.
One of the most stressful things about cooking is knowing that someone hungry is waiting for the food to hit the plate. If the prep takes longer than expected, or you can’t actually juggle all the dishes at the same time, or (heaven forbid!) you ruin something, all of a sudden you are thrown into chaos.
That’s why I love cooking in the middle of the day. Baking bread, putting together a snack, cooking for a future meal, making desserts … I love not having a set deadline. It takes all the stress away so it’s just you and your tools and the ingredients.
Today I decided to make homemade hummus for the first time. Since I was already in the kitchen, I also decided to make soup — some for tonight’s dinner and the rest to have for lunch during the week. It felt indulgent to spend that quiet time chopping and simmering and blending. And now I get to enjoy the results, too!
Earlier this week my home internet wasn’t working, and I had to decide where to work instead. I considered a coworking space in the area, but their hours are limited to standard business hours and I didn’t want to organize myself (and my commute!) to that schedule. I also thought about walking to one of several comfortable coffee shops nearby.
But right before settling down to work, I had to run a book back to the library — and I realized that my library has wifi and numerous tables to sit at. As it turns out, they also have a very nice view of the river:
This coot made quite a fuss, flapping and paddling as it tried to keep up with our little boat on the Amstel river in Amsterdam.
At the Manchester Art Gallery this summer I encountered an exhibition called And Breathe…. Part of the gallery’s Mindful Museum campaign, this exhibition invites you to sit and listen to guided meditations as you look at the paintings.
One of the meditations led me to look around a painting clockwise, taking in the colors, textures, and other characteristics without judgment. Another encouraged me to slow down and notice small details. By the end of the visit, I was looking at the paintings in new ways — enjoying the experience of seeing without worrying about what I was meant to see.
It was probably not the best idea to try a walk like this when I was battling a cold, but the canal was lovely and I couldn’t resist the sunshine. ☀️