How many weeks have we been social distancing? How long has this lockdown been official? As the days turn into weeks and these weeks turn into months, our coping mechanisms are changing.
Quarantine felt very scary in the beginning to many people. There were so many unanswered questions about how we would go about our day-to-day lives with such abrupt rules and changes. How could we continue to attend work and school? For some of us, there were no easy answers. Not all jobs are designed to work remotely, otherwise more of us would have adopted this way of working. Every family is not equipped to homeschool due to needing to be present for their work, needing childcare, or not having computers and wifi for their children’s use.
Our incomes have changed. Some incomes have increased if work is essential enough to warrant overtime. Many of us have a decreased amount of income. Landlords are giving discounts and allowing for extensions. Banks are giving grace for a few months on mortgage payments. Most businesses are offering discounts and payment-plans to show their support and to entice customers to continue doing business with them.
I have witnessed more volunteer work from people and businesses than I have in my entire life! We are making masks for essential workers. We are shopping for our neighbors. We are donating money and food to kitchens that provide free meals to school children. We are offering our services for free by providing classes and workshops LIVE on FaceBook and Zoom. We are giving concerts in our living room with our famous actress wife assisting with cords and instruments (Nicole Kidman with hubby Keith Urban). We are showing our support in comments on social media to those with symptoms of COVID or who are struggling with isolation and homeschooling. We are sharing tutorials to entertain all of the children. We are hosting LIVE happy hours by video chat.
I sit on my porch with smiles and tears as I write…remembering all that I have seen in these last few weeks. I have felt more community and support during isolation than I can remember. I am renewed and humbled by witnessing the good in people. I am excited to see the changes we make in our lives and the world as a collective when the world is open again. I know we are struggling. I know this is hard. And I know we are growing through this, together.
Meditation has been a part of my life for over twenty years. I feel the best when I meditate daily, however, that is not the case as much as I would like. After several months of daily practice, distractions break up my focus and I struggle to get back on board. I know that when I take 15 – 60 minutes a day for this practice I feel better physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I treat my family better. I feel stronger and more able to handle negative outcomes. I feel calm and centered when I add meditation into my daily world.
If you have never meditated before you might have a few pre-conceived ideas. Perhaps you imagine sitting peacefully for an hour while tuning out the outside world while you are transported to a blissful state with no thoughts in your head. I feel at peace already. To get out of my head sounds like a luxury vacation. Unfortunately, a meditation practice takes effort to get to a place of tranquility. If you are lucky, you may find a few moments without thoughts swirling around your head during each session. But this is not a guarantee.
The goal of meditation
The goal is to sit quietly, allowing thoughts to come and go without judgement. You cannot control your thoughts. Not remaining attached to your thoughts, not holding on to them, and not feeling a need to do anything about them…this is the goal of meditation. A thought rolls in, say “goodbye” and allow it to float away. When the next thought comes… “goodbye” and go back to quiet. You may spend your whole hour-long sit dismissing thoughts that continuously come at you.
Your space to sit
Choose a quiet space in your house or outside. Leave your phone elsewhere and silence your ringer. Keep your body loose and sit upright. Sit in a chair or on a floor cushion. Lay down if you prefer but not if you will fall asleep. Sleeping is not meditating.
The sounds around you
Play soothing music or none at all. I like the sounds that are naturally found in my backyard. I also love the Pandora station: Yoga Sanctuary Radio. Whether you have music or quiet, you will hear other sounds. Car noise, lawnmowers, and neighbors will not respect your choice to sit quietly. Your children will make noise. Your doorbell will ring because that grocery order you placed two days ago is finally being delivered. When at all possible, continue to sit and ignore these sounds while you go back to quiet your mind.
Mantras and quiet
As mentioned earlier, as thoughts come and outside distractions bring you to the present, let them go. Trying to not think is difficult to do. Your goal in meditation is to get to a state of divine bliss. Letting thoughts go without giving them your attention is how you start. One day, you may have a few minutes of going deep within yourself, during meditation. With media blaring at us constantly, giving our minds a break will do us good. If it’s hard for you, keep trying. It’s a skill that must be learned. Practice and more practice is required.
“You will notice the benefits of meditation from the trying, not just from achieving the enlightened blissful state that you strive for.”Anastacia Elizabeth Walden
When you have completed your meditation practice, sit back and relax with a cup of hot tea. Meditative State of Mind tea has beneficial herbs for your health and your sanity. Order yours on Amazon and try this delicious blend. Read our article about this lovely tea. Know Your Gut, Trust Your Gut contains soothing herbs and flowers that will rebalance your digestive tract. Read our article about digestive help.
Know that we really are all in this together. Add something positive to the comments. Be a part of our community at You, Me, and Uni.
Anastacia Elizabeth Walden
Freelance writer and editor in Gainesville, Florida