As I write this, as when I practice Insight meditation, I can hear the birdsong and the gulls and the crows arguing through their caws in the tall fir tree in the park nearby that I watch dance when it’s windy.
Often throughout the last six months there have been eruptions of anger, especially from one man, living in a tent in the park below and over from my balcony high above. I hear him and sometimes I see him, the testosterone and anger sparking off him. Usually, he’s ranting at a woman who maybe lives in the tent with him. Sometimes he is going head-to-head with another camper, like two rams on a mountainside locking horns.
I can’t see clearly through the trees but I can hear him, sometimes in the middle of the night, sometimes in the middle of the afternoon. I have empathy. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to live in a tent. At the same time, I’m amazed anyone can get that rage filled and I always wonder what precipitates it. Luckily this park has bathroom facilities.
Feeling work stress in the past month or more, and recognizing the symptoms of that, I decided to start meditating again. It was actually the urging of my friend Colleen who has become immersed in a Sufi meditation practice led by a sheikh in Toronto.
When she reminded me, I’d forgotten that I’d taken an insight meditation course and then belonged to a group that met for a few months afterwards. So much has consumed our minds in the past year that I was surprised such a thing had fallen so far down to the bottom of my conscious memory.
I have been now doing meditation since April 3. I am a super early riser, much to my chagrin at times, and so doing meditation in the morning is a natural fit. I used to balk at getting out of bed only to sit down and close my eyes again. I didn’t understand that meditation is about being present, not absent, so it is not at all like sleep in any way and for consistency, mornings are a perfect time for me.
I get up. I have a glass of water. I light my jasmine incense as a ritual to announce, now we will meditate, and I wrap my shawl that I love, bought in Chiapas Mexico in 1997, around me, and I sit down and begin.
Sometimes lately, as a way to be sure it’s not too difficult to become immersed, I listen to guided meditations by this woman, Tara Brach or sometimes the well-known Jack Kornfield of Spirit Rock and it’s a luxurious way to begin the day.
I incorporate the cacophony of bird sound that begins at that time and I always, as required, go back to my breath. The coolness of where the air enters and leaves at the tip of my nostril is the focal point for me.
During this time, this seemingly never-ending time of unrest and apprehension and uncertainty and fear of the present, but more fear of the future, I think it is important to have some form of calming ritual, that we carve out for ourselves, whatever that may be.
Part of Tara Brach’s meditations ask participants to ask themselves, What brings me here? I like to add, What does my heart need? How do I want to change to be ready for the future I want for myself?
Just putting that question out into the universe is enough. You don’t want to get caught in the stress of answering it in the moment. Just let it be there.
Usually, I choose to end my meditation intentionally with the words, “Anything is possible.”
If anyone reading this has begun their own self care routine, let us know what that looks like.
Share if you want to.
Here are a few other links from my past blog posts related to self care:
Qi-Gong: Awakening the Tiger: http://gaylemavor.com/2020/01/
Daydreaming the past: http://gaylemavor.com/2020/04/daydreaming-the-past-in-april-2020/
Reintroducing yourself to yourself once a week: http://gaylemavor.com/2019/02/re-introducing-yourself-to-yourself-once-a-week/