Monthly Archives: June 2017

Meditation Basics: Present Moment Awareness

Meditation Basics: Present Moment Awareness - Episode 168 of The Slow Home Podcast

Today is the third and final episode in our meditation basics series and Kevin Janks is back for one final, insightful meditation mini-workshop.

In this episode he explores a technique I was first introduced to by my psychiatrist, in what proved to be a precursor to my mindfulness practices, my meditation or even my simplifying efforts. Simply put, she encouraged me to pay attention to everything the present moment has on offer – but to do that by tapping in to one sense at a time.

When I found myself feeling overwhelmed I would move through each sense – sight, sound, taste, touch and smell – one at a time, exploring everything it had to offer before focusing on the next. And what I learned through that practice is that paying close attention to our senses is to be only in the moment. It helped to transport me away from the headspace of worry or regret or stress or anxiety and only be in the moment of my senses. When I was overwhelmed it proved to be a steadying point for me, and as I began to explore meditation and mindfulness over the years, I realised that this very simple practise was a strong, if unintentional, foundation in my own efforts to live in the moment.

In today’s workshop Kevin talks us through the following ideas and then leads you through a brief guided meditation where you’ll have the opportunity to practice what you’ve learnt:

    • This practise is all about being in the moment, simply because our senses are only ever in the moment (you can’t be touching something yesterday).
    • By noticing what’s actually happening in our lives right now, we can liberate ourselves from the state of constant ‘rehearse and replay’ that at times dominates our lives.
    • With practice, it quickly becomes quite easy to draw joy and love from even the most basic of events, like feeling the sun against your skin or observing a bird flying through the sky.
  • Take time each day to simply observe your senses. Noticing sights and sounds are great to do whilst walking or commuting. Really observe the tastes of the food you are eating and begin exploring the depth of senses that surround us at any given time.

I’d also really encourage you to try this technique at least once every day for the next week and see if it has any impact on your ability to live in the moment, or your well being in general. It’s such a simple, powerful, accessible strategy and I’d love to hear if it has an impact.

Enjoy today’s final workshop from Kevin, and if you’d like to download the meditation-only playlist from the last three weeks you can download it here and listen any time you’d like!

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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:

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The little things are the big things with Helen Hayward

The little things are the big things with Helen Hayward - Episode 167 of The Slow Home Podcast

The thing that struck me immediately upon reading Helen Hayward’s blog and books is the way she writes about seemingly small things with such depth and attention to detail. Her words are so intentional, I couldn’t help but feel the carefully considered weight of each and every one of them.

And while her most recent book, A Slow Childhood: Notes on Thoughtful Parenting is, obviously, about parenting and raising a family in a very slow and considered way, so much of what Helen and I speak about in today’s poggie applies well beyond motherhood and parenting in general. We talk a lot about what it means to live an examined life, and why, as we’ve both discovered over the past years, those little things really are the big things in life.

One of the most common questions I’m asked, and can rarely answer with any kind of surety, is how to get (or keep) older kids on board with a slower pace of life. And while Helen’s two kids (17 and 20) have grown up with slow-ness at the centre of family life, Helen talks at length about the benefits of that, which I really enjoy digging in to.

Helen and I also talk about one of my favourite bug-bears: the myth of work-life balance and why she’s not even sure that long-term balance is a possibility, but rather requires an endless process of tilting – always in to one thing and away from another. To be honest, it’s pretty rare to talk to someone so willing to admit that balance is not only elusive, but often damaging to pursue, and I found myself wonderfully disarmed chatting with Helen!

I hope you enjoy the episode.

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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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Meditation Basics: Emotions

Meditation Basics: Emotions - Episode 166 of The Slow Home Podcast

Kevin Janks is back with the second mini meditation workshop, and this week we’re focusing on our emotions.

I have always been an emotional person, and while I think a certain level of emotional honesty is a good thing, I used to spend a big percentage of my life with the more explosive of my emotions sitting very close to the surface. I had a temper, I’d let the behaviour of others send me in to a meltdown, and I usually wouldn’t accept responsibility for any of my outbursts. They were someone else’s fault.

What meditation has taught me is that my emotions don’t rule me, and much like we learnt in last week’s mini workshop about thoughts, my emotions aren’t always a reflection of reality.

In today’s episode Kevin talks us through the physical sensations of our emotions – where we feel things like love or anger or anxiety in our bodies – and how to begin to notice the thought commentary that comes along with those feelings, as being distinct from the sensations themselves.

A few years ago I would have rolled my eyes at this idea. I would have scoffed at the thought that I was anything other than a slave to my emotions, and that simply sitting there, observing my emotions was an option that wouldn’t result in me exploding at a later date. Now though, things are very different. 

In today’s mini workshop, Kevin talks us through these ideas:

    • Just like we are not our thoughts, we are also not our emotions
    • Emotions (feelings) are made up of bodily sensations and usually accompanied by thought patterns/stories
    • By distinguishing between the sensations (emotion) and thoughts, and observing ‘us’ as distinct from it all, our lives can change as we begin to take apart their power over us.
    • No longer will we identify with “being an angry/sad/frustrated/etc person
    • Rather, we can simply observe these emotions as they pass through us.
  • In everyday life, begin to observe the emotions that pass through you. Start to identify the inevitable patterns that they follow, and again practice seeing them as transient.

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 the idea of present moment awareness 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:

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10 things you might not know about us

10 things you might not know about us - Episode 165 of The Slow Home Podcast

Sometimes I worry about the things we share with you on this poggie. Sometimes I worry they’re too serious. Sometimes I worry they’re too silly. Too raw. Too protective. Too honest. Too polished.

I think we do a pretty decent job of balancing what we share and what we don’t but there are times I don’t know if I do a good job of portraying us. The real people behind the microphones and the real life we’re creating every day.

So when we had a last minute interview cancellation earlier this week Ben and I thought it might be a good opportunity to do another hostful episode, but this time spend it digging a little deeper in to the parts of us we don’t often share on the show. Parts that might surprise you (or not) and parts that we might be a little hesitant to share.

We talk about secret habits and vain concerns. We dive in to little-shared talents and personality traits. We disclose some rather embarrassing admissions about farm-based gaming apps and we also share our thoughts and reasons for using social media the way we do (and the way we don’t).

I truly believe that sharing openly (but intentionally) brings down barriers between us as humans and hopefully today’s episode also helps to round out your idea of who we are and the kind of life we’re living. Because it’s not all #slowliving and making each and every decision in alignment with our why. It’s real and evolving and consists of compromises more often than not. And it’s great. 

What’s interesting, as I write this post, is that I’m far less worried about sharing any of this than I was a year ago, which probably means I’ve become much more comfortable with who we are and what we stand for, and the fact that not everyone will get it or like it. And that’s A-OK too.

So take a listen as Ben and I reveal 10 things you may not know about us, including…

    • Am I earnest or silly or a combination of both?
    • What’s Ben’s dirty little secret?
    • Which of us was addicted to My Little Pony – Friendship is Magic?
    • Just how successful is Jackrabbit.FM?
  • Which one of us has recorded an album?

Listen in and all will be revealed…

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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:

Love Slow? Support the show!