I had the last weekend off and my mum and dad came to visit. We had a lovely weekend together and they set off back home to York earlier today (Monday). I was sad to see them go. Like many people I have visited family and friends over the summer after the Lockdown spring.
We had a family party arranged for October – a special Birthday celebration. That has had to be cancelled now with the new rule of six. Also, we don’t know what will be possible at Christmas. My plan was to go to Yorkshire, where the rest of my family live.
So, I suspect, like many I am anticipating six months of solitude, before things hopefully open up again in spring. Samye Ling is closed at least until the end of the year, to those who live outside of the main site. My daughter is settled back in Manchester in a shared student house, so little chance of a safe visit there.
I felt a little forlorn as I watched my mum and dad drive away. I allowed the feeling, noticing but not buying in to the stories, knowing it would pass. All things do….
Still, I am FaceTiming my friend Kathy later and I’m leading the free online sit tonight. I’ll FaceTime my daughter later in the week and arrange a family Zoom meet for one evening this week. I will have Zoom meetings with my wonderful colleagues throughout the week. I am teaching with Choden and Alan at the weekend…reconnecting with our lovely second year Aberdeen MSc students. So there are lots of opportunities to connect with friends, family and colleagues. I have my two lovely dogs Holly and Nutmeg for company at home.
So there is plenty to be grateful for and to enjoy. There always are many things to be grateful for and to appreciate when we turn our mind in that direction.
Although there were terrible things happening out in the world during the lockdown, I was pretty content. A daily schedule, my practice and a sense of purpose from my work were a great support.
I am inspired by my teacher Lama Yeshe Rinpoche, especially having finished his recent autobiography ‘From a Mountain in Tibet’. Before lockdown he advised my that I needed to be self-reliant. Lockdown gave me a chance to practice this, but now I have the opportunity to practice this again.
Lama Rinpoche often says he is completely happy in complete solitude and completely happy in company. This inspires me to follow his example. To embrace the opportunity for solitude over the next six months. Then to embrace the opportunity for company when things open up again. There are things to be learned about my mind from both of these experiences and I’m up for the challenge.
If you are feeling a bit daunted by the limitations the rule of six may cause in your life, see if you can bring your mindfulness practice to it, and reframe. Make the challenge the path!
And we at the Mindfulness Association will be with you every step of the way, with our daily online sits, free for anyone, anywhere to attend for free (N.B. From 1st October it will be week days only at 10.30am and 7pm – Monday to Friday). For our members we have our fortnightly Thursday evening members online teaching, our 9-11th October online members practice weekend and our monthly online teacher member CPD sessions (link to teacher membership page). All completely free to members/teacher members.
I hope to connect with you online soon.