Summer camp for kids is cancelled. In lieu of a refund, you agreed to a week of virtual camp: one 67-pound box of glue crafts, 15 Zoom check-ins, and countless chances to lose your shit on or off-screen. Make it to Friday with these age-old mindfulness practices.
Find joy in the mundane. Challenge yourself to believe that virtual summer camp is joy. It’s not just a knee-jerk commitment you made after the twelfth camp cancellation and no back-up plan.
Nourish compassion. Be gentle with yourself and with the pencil shavings being scattered roughshod across the kitchen floor. Transform them into an act of love, freely given to the children who are perfectly capable of putting them into the trash where they belong. Touch gratitude for Postmates’ free wine delivery and for next week’s Camp Netflix.
Attain Zen. Zen means knowing if you are smiling and crying at once, you are making a rainbow. It means not fretting about how much glue is being smeared across the kitchen table. It means allowing for everything’s rightful place, including yourself, your children, and seven thousand triangular paper clips.
Release the tension. Holding your breath? Clenching your jaw? Smiling releases tension even when you’ve shouted, “How can you need a snack when I just cleaned up breakfast like, eight minutes ago?” not knowing your campers were unmuted and your shouting made an onscreen camper cry very, very visibly.
Connect your mind to this moment. Did you compromise on a glass of milk, and did that milk get spilled immediately? Gently bring the mind 100% to bear on what is going on right now. Watch the milk splash across the table. Now, feel it soak into your pant leg. Release any resentment about how much is seeping into the underside of the laptop. Smile to any lingering regrets about the irony of paying for a summer camp that locks in more time with the kids, more cleaning, and zero chance you are finally finishing season six of Schitt’s Creek.
Check-in with your body. Can you feel the soles of your feet on the sticky floor? Think it’s mostly the milk or mostly the glue? Maybe get down there and check. Allow 100% of your body to participate in the act of mopping. How’s your back when you’re on all fours? And your knees? Better or worse, would you wager, than those of the pint-sized hellhounds demanding more milk because they’re still thirsty?
Connect with your ancestors. Are these your mother's hands you’re wiping the baseboards with, or your grandmother’s? Who made the wood? The trees? Are there trees anymore? When was the last time you were outside?
Hold on to hope. Is it Tuesday? Is there more future or more past? If we believe that tomorrow will be better, maybe we don’t need to request a camp refund today.
Remember this: no mud, no lotus. As you carefully chip dried glue out of the USB port in your laptop and wipe crusted milk from cracks in the upholstered kitchen chairs, visualize your kids who will absolutely not do Zoom camp next year because they will do sleepaway.