Today I woke up to a chilly house so decided to turn the fire on (a true luxury is a gas fire) and sip my coffee here. And I am in that sweet spot between sleep fogged mind to wake state. For me that journey looks like this; sit for a while in what appears to be a stupor but actually I am letting my mind cipher through the images from the night (if any), from there I begin to just feel myself sitting and breathing so I turn towards my breath and then check in with my body (here I may adjust which sometimes means I go sit on my meditation cushion but not today... today I stay in my chair near the fire). I’ll spend at least 5 minutes feeling heavy as I sit and attend to my breath. When I say attend I typically mean I am noticing my inhale and exhale without trying or doing much if any manipulation. And my reference to heavy could be likened to feeling grounded. While my attention stays with the breath and heaviness, I let any other thoughts, feelings and senses (like hearing the birds outside or my 4 ye old playing) fade into the distance, swirl to the background. This becomes a really lovely few moments of being very present with myself even as I feel life happening around me. It is a separation or detachment that actually allows for greater connection and understanding once I bring myself back to join in with the goings on. Keeping the home fires burning more literally or perhaps originally meant to keep light going for people at night to find their way back home say from traveling, hunting etc.
I like this modern and perhaps now more relevant meaning found in an online dictionary - keep-the-home-fires-burning. Verb. (idiomatic, colloquial) To maintain daily routine and provide the necessities of life in a home or community.
Well Huh! Have not our lives and routines been a bit turned on it’s head with COVID-19? Yet, we are a resilient being and can fairly quickly organize into the needed new routines and such. In fact, I put forward that our daily habits like a few moments when we wake sitting and breathing can be exactly the tools that aid in our ability to shift as needed.
Meditation, prayer, thanksgiving, spending time in nature... these facilitate our ability to maintain daily routine and provide the necessities of life in our homes and communities. And I’d add with perhaps less stress and more peace and grace.