This past month I travelled to Costa Rica to attend a mindfulness training program at an amazing place called Rancho Margo. This eco-lodge is situated close to the Arenal Volcano and is designed to be fully sustainable with almost a zero carbon footprint. Besides daily yoga and meditation, I had a chance to kayak in lake Arenal and see howler monkeys. I swam in volcanic hot pools, and ate delicious, mostly vegetarian, organic food from the lodge’s gardens. It was an amazing time. I came back so refreshed and renewed.
This trip represented another step forward in my own personal journey to live closer to my values and to develop my own mindfulness practice more deeply. I recommend every person incorporate this into their lives. Especially while raising kids! I am already researching where I might go for my next retreat. I think I will try a silent retreat next. Can you believe it? Me? A public speaker being silent for a week? I am up for the challenge.
In mindfulness meditation practice, we learn about the Buddhist idea of non-attachment, of letting go. Let go of your thoughts, let go of your desires or cravings, let go of your suffering. Let go of your stuff. The more I let go, the more at peace I become. The journey is not easy though.
When I moved to Toronto, I had to downsize many of my possessions. This was very emotional. One example was the player piano that anchored me to memories of my deceased parents and my childhood home. It would not fit in my new place, and I cried as the movers pulled it out of my house. It was a little death of sorts.
When the movers unloaded the piano into the living room of my niece’s new home her husband sat and started playing the piano (something I had never learned to do) and their son jumped on his dad’s lap and started banging the keys, just as I had done as a child. I was so happy! The things I let go of were out in the world being useful to others. And my new place is so much lighter. My burdens are so much lighter. Living with just what I need – no more – no less is really a joy. In the city, I can take public transit instead of my carbon emitting car. I have a grocery buggy so I can walk to the local green grocer. The closer I live to my values, the more I am at ease.
If you are feeling the weight of ‘too much’ – let go. Let go of possessions, of worry, of past hurts. The only thing I would suggest you add is mindfulness meditation.