Meditation Basics – Thoughts

Meditation Basics: Thoughts - Episode 164 of The Slow Home Podcast

If you’ve been listening to the poggie for any length of time you’re probably aware of my love of meditation. I’m an absolute novice, and I really do suck at it, but what I’ve learnt over the past 12 months is that this is completely OK. The benefits of meditation remain, even on those days where my mind simply will not stop fighting me, and it’s those benefits I want to focus on over the next three weeks.

So I’ve invited my mate Kevin Janks from Centred Meditation back for the next three Monday shows, and together we’ve designed three different meditation mini-practices for you. These practices go back to the basics, and each episode focuses on one key topic, that, over time, will allow you to create a well-rounded practice. The three weeks will cover:

  • thoughts
  • emotions
  • present moment awareness

Each episode will begin with a brief introduction from Kevin on the topic we’re exploring, followed by a short guided meditation centred on the week’s topic, allowing you to put in to practice what you’ve learnt.

After the three weeks are finished I’ll also create a separate playlist for just the meditations (without the introductions) so you can dive right in to your practice once you understand the focus of each week’s practice.

Which brings me to this week’s focus: thoughts.

This is the biggest obstacle many of us face as we begin to meditate. Our thoughts are constantly butting in to the peace we’re trying to create as we sit down and “empty our minds”. As Kevin explains in this week’s episode though, it’s important to understand that our thoughts are distinctly separate from ‘us’, and thinking? Well, it’s just what our brain does.

The key takeaways from Kevin’s mini-meditation lesson:

  • We are not our thoughts, even though we’re the ones who make them up (which is really more reason not to take them too seriously!).
  • We have a choice as to how we interact with our thoughts.
  • In everyday life, start to notice the thoughts passing through your mind, without trying to change or wish them away. Just notice their transient nature and how they are not you.

Take a listen to the episode below and I’d love to encourage you to practice this brief guided meditation every day this week before we move on to explore our emotions next Monday.

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

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Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 2 million (!!) downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

At home in the world with Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh Oxenreider on being at home in the world - Episode 163 of The Slow Home Podcast

The last time I spoke with Tsh Oxenreider, she and her family had just returned to the States after a year-long, round-the-world adventure, and I was completely taken with the idea of long-term family travel. I’ve since spent many (many) hours thinking about the logistics of a big adventure and the idea excites me a lot.

In the 18 months since she was last on the show, Tsh has turned her family’s adventure in to a beautiful new book called ‘At Home in the World’ where she talks about the paradox of being a wandering homebody – someone who feels at home on the road but also yearns for the deep roots of community.

In today’s episode Tsh and I talk about that tension, and the freedom she discovered when she embraced both sides of her personality – the homebody and the wanderer – and why she is now happy to be deep in a home phase of life as she and her husband renovate an old house in a small Texas town.

We also talk about community and what it means to Tsh. Her definition, “A place where we know, and are known,” leads us in to the topic of finding community in a new place. How can you cultivate community in a place you’re new to? How can you feel part of a community if you’re only going to be there for a few weeks?

Both of us are big fans of slow travel so we also discuss different ways we each find that thread of community in a place, even if we’re only staying for a short while. I love visiting libraries and markets, doing very normal things like grocery shopping, as they all help tie us more closely to the heart of a place than sticking to the bucket-list items alone.

I also ask Tsh one of the most common questions I receive but am unable to answer: how to encourage older kids (tweens and teens, specifically) to embrace a simpler way of life. Social media makes the issue of ‘fitting in’ even more pressured for today’s kids, and with that often comes more stuff, more wants, more extracurricular activities, more stress… Tsh’s eldest daughter is now 12, so it was fascinating and very helpful to get her views on how best to encourage simplicity in kids that age, while also accepting that there will be tension there sometimes.

Such a great, wide-ranging conversation that left me both yearning for adventure and completely content with my life at home. Enjoy!   

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 2 million (!!) downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

Start the day with gentleness

Start the day with gentleness - Episode 162 of The Slow Home Podcast

A couple of weeks ago I came across an article on parent.co outlining the benefits of starting a day with gentleness, and I really wanted to talk about it on the poggie. Because while I am a big advocate for a little bit of slow in the morning, I know many other people – both parents and non-parents alike – find the advice frustrating. We already have so much to do in the mornings, so many pieces of the puzzle to fit together, that adding “start the day with gentleness” often feels a stretch too far.

What the article suggests, and what I’ve found to be true time and time again in our own home, is that if we think we don’t have time for a moment of slow in the morning, then we really don’t have time for a meltdown (adult or child-sized!). Taking even just a few minutes to greet our kids with a cuddle, asking how they slept, letting them wake at the pace they need, means they’re far more likely to start the day feeling secure and happy, and less likely to feel overwhelmed or overstimulated right off the bat.

Granted, there are days where this doesn’t happen and there are days that start with gentleness and still end up with some kind of shoe-related meltdown, but in the majority of cases the gentleness creates buffer in both our schedule and our emotions.

Ben and I also talk about the different things you can do for yourself in order to start the day a little slower, and why it so often leads us to be more efficient, more pleasant to be around and more positive in general. Ben also tells me that he’d prefer I didn’t actually talk to him in the morning, so that’s a nice thing to learn on a podcast…

We also finish with an encouragement to start every day for the next week with a moment of gentleness. Not because it will make the mornings magically easy, but because it’s a more preferable place to begin a day than from stress or rushing.

And if you have two minutes to spare, we would be so grateful if you could complete this super short survey for us. Thank you!

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 2 million (!!) downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

Advice to my 18-year-old self…

Advice to my 18-year-old self - Episode 161 of The Slow Home Podcast

Hey, hey, it’s hostful time again! And (as always) the questions you’ve asked are excellent.

Things have been a little weird over here the past few weeks as I’ve been finishing the final edits on my second book so it was a lot of fun to sit down and chat through our thoughts on these questions:

  • I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you think the role of your job/career fits into ones life, if it doesn’t link specifically with your ‘why’.
  • What are some strategies to manage the paper that builds up so that it does not become overwhelming clutter? How do you manage filing things that need to be kept, and dealing with the rest?
  • What advice would you give your 18 year old self?
  • How do I throw away gifts without the giftee noticing next time they visit?!

I have some fun lamenting my hair choice as an 18-year-old, and we also take a minute to acknowledge the paper volcano that is our desk right now.

We do also have some genuinely helpful advice though (thankfully) as well as a request: if you have a few spare minutes today could you please answer our new listener survey? We’re trying to work out our next steps and want nothing more than to be able to help more people discover what it means to live a simpler, slower life. To do that we need to know what you’re struggling with the most and how you’d like us to help. The survey can be found over here and thank you in advance for taking it!

Enjoy!

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Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Things to Check Out After Today’s Episode:

Keep Listening:

Support the show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 2 million (!!) downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!

Creating Empty Space

Creating Empty Space - Episode 160 of The Slow Home Podcast

We’re back with another simple experiment for you this week, and it’s all about empty space.

Emptiness gets a pretty bad reputation. Seen as a negative trait, a lack of personality, a boring experience for a boring person. But I personally am a big fan of emptiness and this week Ben and I talk about the fact that there is something wonderful to be gained by embracing a little empty space in your home, your days, your head…

At the end of the episode we encourage you to live with one completely empty space in your home – one shelf, a drawer, one wall or your coffee table – for a week. But the reality is that you can choose to create a little emptiness in a lot more places than your physical environment.

Emptiness allows your eyes or mind somewhere quiet to rest, somewhere that isn’t completely overwhelmed by options and stimulus, and when we notice that emptiness and the feelings it brings up (maybe we’re a little unnerved or twitchy?) it actually encourages us to go a little deeper:

  • Why do we feel that way?
  • What stories are we telling ourself because of it?
  • Are we holding on to things simply out of habit?
  • What if we fought through that feeling of discomfort?
  • What is on the other side?

This week isn’t about convincing you that emptiness is something you should like. In fact, you may discover that you really miss the photos, the books, the cushion or the vases that you pack away, which is great. Because what this very simple experiment is doing is asking you to pay attention, to be intentional, to tap back in to your reasons for having things, rather than operating on auto-pilot. So while it might look like an experiment about stuff or space, it’s actually a reminder to notice more.

Of course you may also realise (much like we did when we removed all the artwork from our walls) that you enjoy the emptiness, and that’s awesome too.

So this week, simply try living with one empty space. Pack up everything on the coffee table, the bedside table or the dining table for example, and just see how you feel about it over the coming days. See what you miss, see what you don’t miss. Notice what you do or don’t like about the emptiness and use that noticing to propel you towards a little more intention in your days.

Let us know which space you’ve chosen to empty and how you find the following week. What did you struggle with? What did you enjoy about it? What did you keep or let go of or forget about completely?

And if you have two minutes to spare, we would be so grateful if you could complete this super short survey for us. Thank you!

——

Head over to iTunes to subscribe to the show and play the episode.

Or you can listen to the show directly, simply by hitting the Play button above. Enjoy!

——

Keep Listening:

Support the Show:

You may have heard that we recently hit 2 million (!!) downloads of The Slow Home Podcast! Not only does that fact blow my mind, it’s also thanks to your lovely self and the community of people who listen to the show every week, send in your questions and offer your feedback. I’m so grateful you’re here and part of this, and for anyone who has supported the show in any way over the past year – thank you so much.

If you do love the show and would like to show your support by becoming a patron, head over here to make a small monthly donation (as little as $1 a month) and know that any amount makes a huge difference to us being able to cover costs.

Most importantly, thanks for being here!