When I Meditate
Like most days in 2020, under threat of a still-limitless pandemic, and all the savage public discourse surrounding global issues, I am emotional.
A tidal wave of sensation flows through me, from pelvis to crown, peaking in my chest. Shaking follows. Tears roll. A wash of relief as my inner waters still. Perhaps that was all that was needed today. Perhaps another tidal wave is brewing. Hard to say.
Oddly, the storm waits to come until I'm in a safe place, with nobody around except for occasionally Shane. It is not necessarily a result of something that has happened. It is often a process as predictable as an urge to drink water or stand in the sun. It is a kind of maintenance for my mental health. Sometimes I feel like I'm crying for a reason (propelled by a song or a film or a conversation). Often I feel like the 'reason' is blurred, and I don't have to know it to let the floodgates open and feel better afterward. I stopped looking for a clearly defined motive for crying... months ago. I just let it do its thing. It's usually a private affair, it feels healing, and it's definitely not hurting anyone.
Today's meditation comes at my favorite middle place between afternoon and evening. The heat wanes and the sky mellows into pastel hues. Despite my emotional outburst earlier that morning, I have been unable to shake off a crankiness. I'm irritable, feeling misunderstood, blocking myself from gratitude like a playground bully clotheslining a smaller, innocent passerby... an act of ego; an act of resistance to the true nature of self.
I try to meditate daily but when it doesn't happen, I don't let it faze me. As long as I've taken a moment for myself, the form factor doesn't seem to matter. But today, it's not a contemplative walk or a breathy yoga series in the grass that I need. I am ready for a specific kind of reset. I am ready for the still space between thoughts.
I treat myself with a soft blanket and lie down. I find maximum neck and shoulder comfort. I let my palms fall open. I decide to use the Insight Timer with optional audio on a seamless loop. Sometimes I skip the audio. Sometimes I choose ocean waves or Tibetan singing bowls. Today: rainfall with distant frog chirps and healing chimes. Sublime.
As my eyes close and my breathing levels out, little tensions in my body release, the way wrinkles in cotton shirts smooth themselves under a steamy iron face. The trick that always gets me to a deeper level is relaxing my jaw, a place where so much stress is held. It takes a few phases to fully relax, and it often requires repeated attention throughout the meditation.
Then, I just focus on the inside of my eyelids, and let everything else go. Colors and patterns swirl about in my mind's eye. Pinks and glowing reds. Lines of yellow and the occasional green wash. Thoughts come, but I just let them quiet on their own. I am undeniably stoked to have this 20 minutes of total relaxation of mind and body. While the world floods with new statistics and opinions, I come back to gratitude for simply being.
Time becomes irrelevant. The bell rings and I'm not sure where I've 'gone'. It felt like 2 minutes and it felt like 2 hours... of beautiful, needed stillness. My body, mind, and heart have reset. I let myself lie there as the raindrop sounds continue, just appreciating this exact moment in time. When I rise from under the warm weight of the blanket, my mood has lifted. Shane returns from a grocery trip with vegan treats and fancy 'dewey moss' hand soap, and I can't stop laughing... at how wonderful and adorable he is. He laughs playfully with me and projects adoration and wellness, the same thing he always projects, the same things he projected when I broke down in tears in the car, mere hours before. I am lucky.
I waste no time worrying about my earlier bout of crankiness. I stay anchored in a more joyful moment and trust that the day is meant to be how it is. We need those 'out of alignment' moments to recognize when we're truly in alignment. I don't vow to meditate strictly from now on. I just... let myself be happy and grateful, now.