If we were having coffee together this morning, I would make you a quick cup of coffee, but chances are I would not have time to sit down and enjoy a cup with you. So what would you like? A noisette? A grand crème? A café alongé?
If I do not have time to sit in front of the fire and chew the fat with you (doesn’t English have the strangest expressions?) it is because I am PACKING. And CLEANING the house. And WASHING the laundry. And the windows. Musn’t forget to wash the windows.
We are leaving in three days time. The house sitters arrive tomorrow and I still have to pack, clean the house, wash the laundry, find the passports, make lists of phone numbers the house sitters may need, write down instructions about which of the 10 animonsters that we are leaving behind eats what and when, get the post forwarded, post the last promised cheques, braid the girls’ manes, write a blog post or two to schedule while we are away…
Wait. Stop. Hang on a bit. Am I getting stressed here?
This will not do at all. I am supposed to be an expert on stress management. It says so in my résumé. If I remember correctly, that why I host these Mindfulness Meditation Retreats, admittedly not on my own but assisted by six super-smart horses, to help participants dramatically lower their stress levels. En effet.
Now, what was it that I am always telling participants? Mindful, be mindful. That’s right. And m-e-d-i-t-a-t-e. Meditate mindfully. That was it. I need to stop for a few moments and meditate mindfully. You drink your coffee, don’t mind me. I am just going to sit here on the (dirty) floor and meditate mindfully for a few minutes.
(30 seconds later)
This is not working. Not at all. There is just no way I am going to be able to slow down my mind by sitting here doing nothing. I need help. I am going to do a music meditation. Very fittingly, the music I am going to use for my meditation is music from the country that we are going to. Three songs will do the trick. That should not take longer than 10 minutes. I can stop for 10 minutes.
Let’s start with the first one, to set the scene. It is the perfect way to begin a mindfulness meditation – it always gets my full attention instantly. Have a look, you will see what I mean. If you close your eyes at the start, you just might be able to feel the rain on your face. As you may know, I sing in more than one choir, so I am soon lost in the soulful harmonies and the original interpretation of this old song. En plus, this is the music of my much-misspent youth. Within the first minute, I feel a lump rising in my throat. I have no problem concentrating anymore, I just let the music wash over me – forgotten are all the things I still need to do. What was so important and urgent about getting them done asap anyway?
My schoolfriend Esther K. sent me this link. Thank you so much, Esther. Now let’s move on. The next one will be a surprise, I guarantee it. You will not understand a word. You don’t need to. There is so much ambiance in this song that you can nearly taste it. It is a new rendition of an old Afrikaans folk song, composed by Fred Michel (born in 1898) in 1930. We used to do Volkspele (folk dancing) to this music. The music brings back so many happy memories… A big thank you to my friend Rosemary C. for sending me the link – you were right, it is brilliant.
Last but not least, an African lullaby, beautifully interpreted by Kimmy Skota in both Zulu and Afrikaans. Deeply moving, even André Rieu has to dab away a tear. The music will grab your attention and hold it, from the beginning to the end. No chance of your thoughts wandering off elsewhere – this as all about in-the-moment mindfulness – and pure enjoyment. Chances are also that you will feel calmer and more centered at the end of this song; I certainly do. I feel much more relaxed. I think I’ll pour myself a cup of coffee now too and sit down with you to enjoy it in your company. The rest can wait and if it doesn’t all get done, so what? (accompanied by a very French shrug)
Music meditation is a powerful way to meditate, although it does suit some people better than others. Meditation is hugely beneficial to both our physical and psychological health, but not everyone gets on with the traditional sitting way of meditating. We introduce the participants in our Mindfulness Meditation Retreats to a variety of meditation methods, like walking, working, writing and music meditation, in an effort to help them find a technique that suits them personally and that they can incorporate in their day-to-day living. Also to offer them variety, one sometimes feels more like a music meditation and other times more like a walking meditation.
If you are interested in Music Meditation, you can read more about it by CLICKING HERE.