I spent the past weekend enjoying a silent retreat at Mepkin Abbey, a monastery in South Carolina occupied by Trappist monks with a knack for farming and landscaping.
The former plantation is now an abundant oasis — bursting with live oak trees and picturesque gardens. The Abbey offers a unique opportunity for quiet reflection and communion with nature. So when I sat down to meditate, it wasn't exactly difficult to find stillness in my mind in that gorgeous setting, when a glance in any direction brought a hushed admiration to the present moment.
I wanted hold onto this newfound serenity and bring it home with me to my "normal life"— but how?
Here are six ways I've discovered to enjoy meditation right at home, despite our hectic schedules and not-so-perfect surroundings:
1. Set your intention.
Acknowledging your desire to bring more mindfulness into your life is a big first step. Decide on a certain amount of time and frequency and then try giving go for one full week. I find that the first thing in the morning is often the most effective. Only have a few minutes to spare? That’s great! Start your day by settling in to a comfortable spot, keep your spine straight (sitting on the edge of a chair may help), relax and focus on your breath. If you notice that feelings or thoughts come up, take note of them and let them go. You've got time for that, right?
2. Enhance your meditation practice with essential oils.
Our sense of smell has a powerful ability to affect our emotions and influence our perception. Introduce some ritual into your meditation practice by incorporating essential oils. You can use a wide array of oils alone, or combine them to create your own unique blend.
Try these for starters: