Update for posterity on Jess’ life in 2021.
On 4th January I moved to a hostel with cheap bedrooms and shared facilities. I wanted to do my own thing as independently of others as possible. This means leaving my friends from London, and I did.
I switched out my first room which was kinda small to a bigger one with a private bathroom and a door to access the fire escape. By far my favourite feature of the room.
At first, in January, I was reading some buddhist books that are recommended in another book that I have (https://www.mctb.org/) The book says to start with Metta, so with Metta I started. I was simply saying “May I be peaceful and at ease” and the other three phrases in a vaguely undisciplined way during quiet times. I would also get stoned and observe my closed-eye visions, and my energy body. Something I still do now. Most of that month though I was easing in to the rhythms of the house, the kitchen and trying to stay warm.
In February, in the new room, I eventually decided to move on to Insight meditation practice (also known as mindfulness). I’ve gone from occasional 30 minute sits to 2×45 minutes every day. I also did an online weekend retreat of Mahasi noting, which I crashed out of it when it got hard several times.
This leads us to a “day in the life of”
I get up between 10am-12noon, just in time for the sun to reach my stairs.
I eat breakfast in the sun, and sometimes take my rug out to read down there. I am always reading one book on Buddhism/meditation of some kind or other, and cycle through them.
Usually, pre-lunch, I do a 45 minute mindfulness meditation sit on the rug just inside my room.
I eat lunch, trying to avoid other people as I make it. At some point in daylight hours, after lunch, I do a second 45 minute sit. Sometimes I do a guided video instead, occasionally later than dusk, to switch it up.
Sometimes, at some point before curfew at 8pm, I go out and get food, do laundry or other chores. In the park on the way to the supermarket I take photos of the wildlife.
If I don’t have chores but do need a little walk, I go and hug trees on the main street of Lisbon.
Once it gets to dusk I do a variation on having a nap, having a “special” cigarette on my stairs, and having a dance. Mostly all three. All of these involve imaginal experiences, paying attention to behind-the-eyes visions, my energy body, my physical aches and pains, and dreaming.
At dinner I sometimes see my friends at the hostel, and I’m not always avoiding them, which seems good, even though I want to devote more and more hours to spiritual stuff.
Almost every day I consider writing, but after the first mindful sit I feel very different. I don’t know what to write, or have any sense of feeling like writing. One day in every 10-20 or so days, like today, I write first and meditate later.
The desire to write is sometimes for its own sake, and sometimes because I would like to switch to that as a career, and I’m concerned with gradually building up enough words to one day make money with it.
During Jan and Feb I did in fact work most days on an ebook of my pre-existing blog posts (find it here: http://ssica3003.com/book.html) which was more mechanical than writing new things, and easier to do for short chunks per day.
At night I eat dinner and watch a film. Typically I have a late-night call with my partner, then fall into bed to sleep around 2-4am. I’m normally disturbed by early morning hostel noises between 7am-9am, then I dream weird dreams for an hour or three before it all begins again.
My world context is of Portugal in a strict lockdown (curfews, no movement, nothing open except for food, no delivery of goods that are not food) but I don’t think I’d live my life much differently if I could move around more. I’m starting to miss English friends though, would have flown home for a visit soon, and my birthday will be a corona-birthday once again.
There’s nothing to do except get awakened, which was true before I left London, so here I am, doing that, and sometimes it’s sunny 🙂