Wednesday December 30, 2009: On Wednesday, we left for 4 days at a vacation home rental nestled in the mountains near Luray, VA. There was no internet access so I have not been able to post about my meditations since my last post on Wednesday morning. You would think a vacation home away from the city with no internet would be the perfect place to meditate. But you would only be right if 1) said home did not have paper thin walls (it did) 2) several of your close friends were not there with you (they were) 3) there was neither excellent red wine nor a serious hot tub (there was). Lovely though friends, hot tubs, and wine are, they are enemies (maybe obstacles?) to a novice daily meditator. But, I’m happy to report that I actually did meditate daily. On Wednesday we arrived and got settled in and, after a soak in the hot tub, I realized if I did not break away for meditation immediately, it was not going to happen. So, I retreated upstairs to meditate seated on our bed. I normally meditate in my home yoga studio, on the floor, with my shawl and meditation pillow. So, physically I wasn’t quite at ease yet in this new space. As I closed my eyes, I could hear my friends joking as they started a fire. Someone turned on the television. I had trouble settling in. And I wasn’t in the mood for a mantra. So, I tried focusing on my belly and exaggerating each inhale and exhale so that I could really feel my belly expand and contract with each breath. This technique did effectively situate me more fully in my body and I was able to reduce the background noise to, well, background noise. After a time, I ceased the exaggerated breathing and just sat quietly. Perhaps it was the heat of the hot tub or the beer I’d had an hour or so earlier but I wasn’t able to generate or circulate much energy (prana, chi). I was, however, able to withdraw my senses and appreciate the time to sit with my mind on “off”.