I have been meditating. FOR FOUR DAYS.
Laugh all you want, but it feels like a miracle that I have been able to keep it up for that long. I have tried meditation before, but it always seemed to make me more anxious. I attributed it to a couple of things; the main ones being I just wasn’t ready and my mind really didn’t want to be turned off. When your mind is used to racing at a million miles an hour, and it isn’t attuned to the present moment, it can be very difficult to quiet it down – let alone turn it off.
When I am able to sit peacefully and sink into my body, it creates a calm and peace within me. I believe that when I meditate I am creating a connection to the core of who I am. I have noticed that as I am learning to become more present in my physical self, I am able to recognize that I am not my thoughts, I am simply the awareness of my thoughts. Being able to recognize this is so hugely important. Especially when I tend to attach so much weight to my emotions and my thoughts.
I am trying to get to the essence of who I am by being in tune with the present moment and making every single moment matter. I am training my mind to focus on what is literally right in front of me (right now it is the weight of my dog sleeping on my legs). I believe that when I am able to do this, only the here and now matter. I am trying to break free of the past and the future.
We all have the bad habit of worrying about the future and perhaps lamenting the past. My tendency to project myself years into the future never get me anywhere emotionally healthy. My tendency to get all nostalgic or relive the past does me no good.
I have this awful scenario that I invent in my mind when I am feeling anxious and my thoughts are slamming around in my brain; out of control. It goes something like this: The year is 2024 and I am turning 50. I have 2 children who are almost 18 and nearing the time when they leave the house and I am an empty-nester; all by myself. I have only recently begun my own business in counseling, and the income isn’t what I had hoped it would be. I am wrinkled, gray-haired and have no partner in my life. My future is bleak, dreary, and downright terrifying.
I cry every single time my brain goes there (right now too); to a future that does not exist. I try to distract myself with being busy and trying to focus on the positive; empowering myself for a future of success and happiness. But I don’t think that is the answer either. Of course positive thoughts and being gentle with myself are important, but even more so is pulling myself back to this moment and letting go of my addiction to time. When I am right here, solidly in my physical self, there is no time but the present. And the future and the past simply do not exist. I don’t even need those positive thoughts to help me feel safe and secure in an imaginary future filled with success and happiness. They don’t matter.
I can’t predict the future, nor can I change the past. My perceived future with my husband and my children, living and loving under the same roof, are gone. Futures have a way of falling down in mid flight. Relationships and financial success are not recipes for happiness or security. My INFJ brain wants to analyze, dissect, and plan, plan, plan. It loves puzzles and working through life-problems with the goal of finding the answers; solving the puzzles. Retraining my mind to settle down and learning to pull it back to the here and now, are two of the most difficult challenges I have faced (and I have faced more than my fair share of challenges).
I think that meditation is the answer to much of what ails me in life. I am an emotional creature. I am continually driven by my emotions. Getting out of my head, and into my body, and freeing myself from the addiction to time, has become my number one priority. Putting down my phone and focusing on my children when they are right in front of me, babbling away about something or other, is all that matters. When I am doing the dishes by hand, and accepting that is the only thing that I am doing; nothing else matters.
When I strip myself of my wandering and obsessive thoughts, and ground myself in my body, I dissolve into the present moment at hand.
I am free.
As I sit outside
I feel peace within me
Radiating from me
I feel a blade of grass tickling my leg
I watch as an ant ascends my boot
I hear the wind wrapping itself around leaves just beginning to bud on the trees
A distant chime from someone’s backyard
The warm spring air moves around me
My hair floats in wild strands around my head
Yet I am still
No voices or laughter
A magpie cackles behind me
I have found what soothes my introverted soul in the middle of my hectic day
I am ready to go back inside