On the Road to Mindfulness

by Anna

As I am setting off by car into the exciting unknown, I notice a slight feeling of uneasiness. It is almost like as if I fear that everything will be different when I come back. And I’m asking myself why I even go on a journey of self-discovery, where I am already with myself right here and now? Cliché thinking 🙂

I chose to travel by car to see more of the surroundings, to pay my mother a visit on the way and to avoid flying, which my anxiety has been rebelling against a little in recent years. But I also noticed how much the driving contributed to me slowing down, to tune into a more mindful approach of thinking and being. Like as if I slowed down already with every mile that I got closer to Plum Village.

I love road trips and the planning that goes with it. I could sit stooped over a map forever and forget the time while exploring all the corners of a country, possible places to see, yet unknown territory, wondering what it might look like. Leaving England on the ferry at Dover, feeling the fresh wind around my nose and the familiar white chalk cliffs slowly fading in the distance, with the French coast already waiting for me at the opposing horizon, I feel free and I can’t help but smile to myself.

Eight hours later I arrive at my mum’s town in Germany and the first thing I notice is the sweet and refreshing scent of the green leafed trees and blossoms, saturated from the rain. A scent like this I haven’t came across in England yet and I wonder if it is specific to the local trees here? It smells like home.

The next morning I sit by the window in my mum’s living room, overlooking the garden I played in when I was younger, listening to the rain as it drums onto the plastic cover over the annex. I’m asking myself where mindfulness begins. I have trouble putting my phone aside without fully knowing whether anyone needs to get hold of me urgently. Do I really have to be on call all the time? Does my phone really always have to be ready to receive a call? Is it important to check my emails on regular intervals? What will happen to the planning of our retreat in England if emails don’t get answered straight away and no comments are left on Facebook to show we are engaging in our business?

Will something change if I simply go my way without constantly aiming to be a better person and to be available for others? It would be so good if I could become calmer and were able to let go, and wouldn’t feel the persistent need to capture each moment by all means instead of simply living with full awareness in the present. How calming the drumming rain is…

Nowadays we are expected to have access to email and phone at all times. And if we don’t, it is our own fault if we miss out on something. Worst is that others start to worry if they can’t get hold of us immediately. Other’s expectations….

I spend the afternoon and evening discussing ancestors and looking at old photos with my mother and grandmother over a raw chocolate cake I had made for my mum’s birthday. For over 200 years can my recent ancestors been traced back to having lived in this area. This is mostly the female line. I dive into the lush green woodlands around the town, trotting on my family’s pathways before I retreat to bed to be ready for my next journey in the early morning.

I saw a fairy gate on my travels in the woods. These are like doorways to another realm. Just look at the difference in colours before and after the bow! For me, it is the perfect symbol for the beginning of my journey to mindfulness.

Travelled from England to Germany

Travelled from England to Germany