Have you ever meditated in a bathroom stall? I have. I am a grounded and practical girl. Like you, I have a busy life full of work, play, family, and obligations. I do my best to live a healthy life, and one way that I keep the plates in the air is to grab peace wherever and whenever I can. I am on a crusade to take the "shoulds" out of meditation. I believe that if we look at our world as one big playground where we can always access our souls by being mindful, we can find peace anywhere.
Yes, it is wondrous and beautiful to practice meditating in a nice warm yoga room with a cushion, eyes closed, so focused on the silence that surrounds your breath. When we have this opportunity, we are lucky and blessed. Meditation makes sense in this environment. However, I believe that we can also access the same peace in odd places, in unexpected places, maybe even in weird places.
Here are a few unlikely places to find some inner peace and quiet:
1. The bathroom
Anyone with kids knows that sometimes the potty is the only place to get away, under the guise of "I just need a few minutes." I have spent a good 10 minutes locked away in my own bathroom in order to find some peace. I also use the bathroom stall at work more than I'd like to admit. The idea is that this is a place where you can shut the door, sit down, and be quiet. The trick is finding the right bathroom (not busy, not stinky, not noisy) at the right time.
2. Your car
No worries, I'm not going to suggest dropping into a meditative state while driving. However, I have taken my lunch hour to go sit in my car and chant my meditation. Driving to a beautiful location or even an empty parking lot can be a great way to find some inner peace. Just make sure to stop the car, be mindful of your surroundings, and find a place where you feel safe enough to close your eyes and find your breath. Your vehicle can be an amazing location for you and your breath.
3. On a plane
Last week I was on a plane sitting next to a woman in her nineties. She sat quietly with her hands in her lap, in stark contrast to the rest of us. Everyone around her was on their phone, iPad, computer, or iPod trying to distract themselves from the annoyances of travel. Her quiet mindfulness was so out of place it reminded me that planes are an excellent place to drop in to meditation. Planes are a prime location to stop fussing, stop trying to control anything, and just be in the present moment.
4. Karate practice
This could be any activity where a parent has to sit and watch their kids practice something. I like being 100% mindful at my son's practices so I can connect with myself, my perceptions, and my son all at the same time. Many times at these events, I feel an intense urge to pull out my phone and get just a little bit more done. When I can fight that urge and be present, I find that I am happy.
5. In the tub
Is there any better place to just relax down and find your center then among bubbles and warm water? For some reason, I find it super easy to get into a deep relaxed meditative place when I’m soaking in my tub. Add some essential oils and bask in what a gloriously beautiful person you are. Perfection.
6. In line at Target
Can you be mindful in the midst of impatience, shopping aggression, and 20% off coupons? This is not an easy task. The next time you find yourself in a line, waiting, try noticing your breath. Try being so present that you can hear every sound, feel the air around you move, feel the energy of the people around you. Know that you are present, you are wondrous, you are complete. Right there in your line, patiently waiting for your turn.
Taking your mindfulness meditation off the mat and into the small moments in life creates a peaceful place anywhere you go. Next time you hear an “om” in a public restroom, know it’s just me, escaping the world for a moment of peace.