You know the drill: every day we’re told we should be exercising, eating five vegetables, meditating, taking vitamins, taking ‘time out’, ticking off our To Do list, strengthening social bonds, making time for our husbands, making time for our children (‘Don’t miss a single moment of these precious years!’), decluttering, detoxing, doing our pelvic floor exercises, investing sensibly, planning for holidays, working hard at our jobs, and getting at least eight hours of good quality sleep. Probably, most of us are lucky to achieve a couple of these things a day.
I used to be a meditator, back when I was single and childless and sharing a house with other people. I could lock myself away with a guided meditation CD, candles, incense and whole hours of time to devote to me. I enjoyed meditation, but I was also always a fan of moving meditation, those activities that can give you the same sense of peace, insights and altered time as more formal meditation. Riding my horse was always a huge moving meditation for me. Nothing like sitting on top of a half-tonne animal, clopping quietly down a street, listening to the birds and the rhythm of the squeak of a saddle in the sunshine to bring you firmly into the moment. Walking, yoga, gardening and swimming have also been sources of moving meditation.
And now, with an eight-month-old baby, renovating a house, writing a new book and all that jazz mothers do, I’ve become a fan of momentary meditation. Delightfully, I’ve realised more than ever that I can relish momentary meditation with a pot of tea.
Unlike throwing a teabag in a mug and covering with water, making a pot of tea takes just that tiny bit more time and thoughtfulness. You need a few extra bits, like a pot and a strainer. It takes a few moments more. You need to count out the scoops of tea for the pot (counting, also a form of mindfulness… or OCD depending on your personality). And then you need to pour it carefully into your (hopefully) lovely china cup.
It does take more time and a tiny bit more effort than the teabag option. But it’s a wonderful moment just to be present and breathe and relax. A teeny weeny meditation before returning to the chaos.