This time last year, COVID-19 had changed the world. The clinic was closed, and my mind overflowed with worries. Would the clinic survive? Will my landlord still expect rent? Should I spray bleach on my groceries?
Baking sourdough bread, riding my bike, and doing jigsaw puzzles were not cutting it for stress relief. In an effort to fortify me for the year ahead, I embarked on a journey to calm my mind and focus on breathing.
Up until that point, meditation felt like something I knew I should do, but it was such a task: something akin to swallowing a handful of vitamins. As schedules and to-do lists vanished, a residual gift was the abundance of unstructured alone time. It was indeed time to dust off my cushion and approach meditation practice as a newcomer. After all, I didn’t have a whole lot of better things I could be doing with my time.
The result from these past several months of regular meditation practice is that I now actually relish those 15 or 20 minutes of time I set aside for myself. I close myself off to all distractions, breathe slowly in and out through my nose. I allow my mind to experience sensations rather than thoughts even though the thoughts are awfully persuasive and beg for my attention. It’s a “practice” after all, and there’s no need to master it or rate the experience like a Yelp reviewer.
A teacher once said to me that meditation is a time to sit with your very best friend, YOU!
Meditation is available to anyone, anywhere. It can be done alone, alongside others, quietly, or with a guided spoken word. It’s all out there for us, and I plan to try it all! This Ram Daas video about how to get started with meditation is one of my favorites. I also like this beginner video.
Most days, my meditation practice ranges from five to 30 minutes. I aim for daily practice, but I don’t get down on myself if I miss a day. Nobody keeps score, and it’s purely for my own benefit and pleasure. In order to block out household noises, I play ambient music. Next on my shopping list: a Do Not Disturb sign for my door. Keep out, kids!
One tip I have for anyone giving meditation a try is to play ambient music.** It’s a fantastic way to block out household noises. You shouldn’t need too many accessories to get where you need to go, but if I could also suggest a proper meditation chair, this would be it!*** Next on my shopping list: a Do Not Disturb sign for my door. Keep out, kids!
You shouldn’t need many accessories to get where you need to go. Mostly, you need to get ready for some well-deserved “me time.”
**Here is a Spotify list of ambient tracks that helps me get into my bliss:
***Also, I highly recommend a proper meditation chair. Here’s mine: https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B071WBCDJM/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_9HM440F7Q7Y65BZ1A4R0