You Have Everything You Need

I have been feeling really drained and stressed out lately. I feel like the weeks have been flying by without leaving me any time to do the things I need to do. It seems like I have an ever increasing list of chores, but less and less time to take care of them. Whenever things start feeling frantic like this, I tend to lean on self-medication hard. I start to use marijuana, kratom, alcohol, cigarettes, etc. as a crutch to get me through the day. Inevitably these things become less and less effective as time goes on. And when that starts to happen, the panic sets in.

There is so often this lingering sense of fear that looms around me. It is an ever-present unease, a whisper in my ear, telling me I need to go, run, flee, get away somehow. From what? I couldn’t say. To where? I don’t know. Yet this feeling is powerful, it waits for those moments of weakness and overwhelms me. It is momentarily placated when I am able to “escape” my own mind for awhile with some substance or another. But as I’ve said, that is only a highly unhealthy, temporary fix at best.

While I was meditating today, I came back to a realization that I’ve had a few times before. Even though I was pressed for time and could only sit for 5 minutes today, it was enough for a few moments of profound healing. Just like always, I felt a lot of resistance to the stillness at first. It never ceases to amaze me just how hard it actually is to just breathe. Once I allowed myself to surrender and drop into the soothing rhythm of my own breath, I found so much peace within that was waiting for me. Everything always seems so simple in those moments, so clear.

I remembered that I already have everything that I need inside of me. I don’t need any chemicals or substances to calm me down. All I need is this breath. I have the power to go within whenever the outside world becomes to much. I can go to that silent, still, safe place. A place that is even deeper than the constant noise inside my head. My own private sanctuary where I can heal and stay as long as I like. All I’ve got to do is give myself permission to go there. To let go of all of the things that are weighing me down. It may not be as easy as it sounds, but it is possible.

Short meditations like today’s remind me that even a few minutes can make a huge difference. It isn’t always necessary to set aside a half an hour or more for meditation. There is always time to center and ground yourself in the breath. Even if it’s just a minute, even if it’s just three deep breaths. Anything is better than nothing at all. And I don’t need to limit myself to practicing once a day. This isn’t just something to check off of a list. Meditation is a tool that I can utilize in my most difficult moments. It is also something I can do when I want to savor a particularly good one. There is really no limit to the potential of this mindfulness practice. I would like to learn to integrate it more into my day to day existence. It isn’t simply a healthy activity like daily exercise. It is a way of life, it is taping into that deep peace and wisdom that we all have inside of us. It is an opportunity to drink from that bottomless well of energy within.

Everything is going to be alright. You have everything that you need. You are more powerful than you know. You are the love, you are the peace, that you seek. Just breathe.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Use It

I heard this phrase used in a yoga class the other day. Essentially the point is, whatever happens in life, whatever strange turn your day may take, use it to your advantage. This is a great way to reframe difficult situations. Instead of allowing things to bring you down or stress you out, try thinking of a way in which you might benefit.

I am really trying my best to embody this mantra in my own life. We have a lot scheduled at work this week, so I am going to have to come into the office practically every day. Normally this would either infuriate me or suffocate me with stress. But I’m not going to let either one of those happen today. I am going to use this sudden busy schedule to my advantage.

Even though it might seem unpleasant, it is important that I be confronted with situations that stray from my rigid daily outline. How can I use this hectic week to help me grow? Is there a lesson I could learn by persevering? Instead of looking at this as a burden or an inconvenience. I am going to choose to look at it like a blessing. This is a perfect chance for me to practice my yoga off the mat. Can I learn to be centered in my breath even when the world is spinning so quickly around me? Can I find reasons to be grateful no matter what life places before me?

This is the universe giving me the chance to discover for myself that, yes, yes I can do these things. I can do anything. The outside world is not what dictates my inner atmosphere. There is nothing for me to fear. I am going to use this week to show myself that this peace, this love, this stillness is always within me. Nothing has the ability to lessen it or lock it away besides me. It is always my choice how I want to respond to the world around me.

Taking life too seriously seems to be a common problem. Yet life can be anything we want it to be. Why not make it a fun game? Or a story that we are writing about ourselves? Challenges are part of any game. They are part of any story that’s worth reading. Can we use them to become stronger? Can they help us become better versions of ourselves? Things aren’t always going to be easy, but we can learn to find enjoyment and pleasure even in the difficult times. Growth is often painful, but it’s always worth it. We can all learn to find a blissful ease within the effort though. We can all learn to use it.

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Grounding

Photo by Lucas Pezeta on Pexels.com

Come into stillness. Let yourself sink. Be heavy in this moment.

Watch as it bleeds seamlessly into the next.

You are here.

You are whole.

You are safe in gravity’s embrace. You are anchored to our sweet green mother.

Always.

Just allow her to hold you now.

Trust.

Weave the roots of your energetic body into her warm soil.

Shift your weight. Then spread it evenly.

Supported.

Just be here now.

Everything is as it should be.

Grounded.

Grateful.

Breathe in – expand your energy outwards in all directions.

Breathe out – focus that energy, grow your roots, anchor.

You are safe.

You are loved.

You are still.

Resisting Stillness

Even though I have been practicing meditation every day for years now, there are still plenty of days when one of the most challenging things I do is those 15-30 minutes of stillness. My breath just won’t come naturally. My mind frantically tries to cling to racing thoughts. My anxiety will not be tamed. Today was one of those days.

When I have these difficult meditation days, I try to remember to take a step back and observe the mere fact that I’m struggling. I think, isn’t it interesting how much my mind is resisting this stillness? What is it so afraid of? Why does it try to prevent this deep peace it knows is waiting within?

We are so conditioned in our culture to see any time not spent working or producing something, planning something, is time wasted. We are being lazy, unproductive. Yet setting aside this quiet time to observe our breath, our minds, this existence, is quite possibly the most valuable thing we can do.

It is important to remind ourselves when we have these difficult days just how important our practice is. We need these few moments of stillness even more when sitting down and just breathing feels impossible. And even though your mind may continue racing through the whole meditation, you can’t stop fidgeting, or you can only bring yourself to sit for five minutes rather than thirty, thank yourself.

You have still given yourself a beautiful gift. Don’t dismay. Don’t allow these challenges to make you disregard all the progress you’ve made. An ebb and flow exists in all things, even your practice. Don’t let your “bad” days overshadow all the others. You’re doing just fine.

Photo by Elly Fairytale on Pexels.com

The Silence We’ve Lost

It is interesting when I contemplate how different life must have been even just a few decades ago. I wonder how it would have felt to be alive before technology took this strangle hold on society. I am lucky enough to have a few years of childhood memories devoid of computers and the internet and smart phones. It is hard for me to really discern the impact these things have had on my life though. I was just a child back then and certainly a lot would have changed by now regardless of the influence of technology.

However, the more I learn about the miraculous power of silence and stillness through meditation, the more I mourn the loss of those things in daily life. I wonder who I could have been if I had been born in my parents’ generation or my grandparents’. If only it was easier to have moments devoid of mindless distractions.

I would love to see if there have been any studies to show the effect these modern conveniences have had on the collective consciousness of our society. We no longer have any time to reflect or daydream. Never a moment of true boredom for our own minds to fill. There is always some escape, something to watch or listen to or read.

On the surface this seems like just another benefit of our technological age. But I truly fear what we have lost as a result of this. I feel certain studies would show that this shift has had an overwhelmingly negative effect on mental health. I’ve read that even in this era of virtual connection, people are feeling more alone and isolated than ever before. The connections and conversations we have online seem to be shallow and not hold the same weight as real life interactions.

I desperately want to free myself from these electronic chains, but it seems impossible. No longer using Facebook has definitely made me feel less angry and stressed from day to day, but it has also been very socially isolating. I no longer know what is going on in my community and with the people I once knew. I also feel that I am drifting through life more unseen than ever now. A ghost on the outskirts.

As a child I used to watch way too much TV, but it can’t even compare to the way I am now glued to YouTube and Netflix nearly every moment of the day. I feel panicky at the idea of even an hour of complete silence without at least something playing in the background of whatever I may be doing. Even when I am out and about, I usually need to have music playing. A few years ago I attempted to limit my media consumption, but failed miserably and promptly gave up my half-hearted efforts all together.

It is just too easy to avoid myself, my life, with these convenient distractions. The moments of silence and even boredom that we have lost use to be the catalyst for so many wonderful things. There are no longer any empty spaces for inspiration and creativity to fill. There isn’t time anymore for anyone to truly know themselves. And all of this makes me very worried and very sad.