Where do YOU go for solace?
I go to the sky.
I talk to the heavens through prayer.
I soar through the atmosphere on jet planes.
And all my life I’ve been told my head is in the clouds.
But I also seek solace here on earth, even though I’m not very good at being grounded.
Historically, the same things often work to soothe my soul, and some of them may be the same for you, too. Church. Music. Yoga. Dog cuddles. Human hugs. Therapy. Books. Movies. The ocean or mountains.
And then there’s that thing I’m kind of scared of but I do anyways and love it even though I have to make myself do it: meditation.
You see, meditation is rooted in being grounded. My meditative pose involves my feet being FIRMLY PLANTED ON THE GROUND and I’ve been told even if you are sitting up with a pretend string in your head pulling your body upright, you must be connected to the earth.
It’s a foundation for good meditation, I’ve been taught.
Since I’m a terrible meditator even though I enjoy it, I seek out opportunities to meditate in the community. A few years ago I did meditative yoga. I’ve taken mindfulness meditation classes through the library, community organizations and universities.
I’m currently attending a series entitled, “Exploring Mindfulness, Discovering Delight” through my local library district.
And through this class I have learned what makes meditation both difficult for me and rewarding: letting things be.
In this particular class, we don’t hum or recite a mantra or even close our eyes. We sit with a diffused gaze and let our thoughts come. We don’t encourage or discourage them, or follow trains of them. We simply acknowledge that we are thinking, and we continue to meditate. So many things go through my mind while I sit there. Each time, I ask the instructor questions afterwards. Is it, like, my subconscious bringing this or that up? What is the meaning of the song that ran through my head or the person I kept seeing?
And she always tells me the same thing.
It doesn’t matter. We don’t need an answer for it or to search for meaning in every thought. We shouldn’t be thinking about our thinking during meditation but rather just accepting what is, right now. Just be present.
Just be present.
The absolute hardest thing for me; the thing I work on constantly. My genes and my disposition and my anxiety disorder make it darn near impossible to live in the moment. I am always in the future or the past. A past that didn’t work out or COULD have or SHOULD have and a future that SHOULD be or COULD be or MAY be or HOPEFULLY WON’T be.
But the universe has been telling me often to let go out of the SHOULDS. Life is full of shoulds and woulds. And they don’t do a damn thing for us.
The only reality is the one we sit in, right now. And sometimes…..even just sometimes….it’s okay to just let it be.
Are you always seeking after your next great adventure? Even if you’re on one?!?
I am. And I think a lot of it is my avoidance of the present. Sometimes the present can be uncomfortable. So I avoid it.
We all love stories. True stories, fictional stories, stories with lessons, stories we tell ourselves to make sense of things, stories we follow to create rules, stories, stories, stories.
If I’m having a bad day, this is my mind:
“FIND A STORY, ALANA! QUICK! Go to church, see a movie, read a book, watch a YouTube video. Listen to music REALLY LOUDLY. FIND A STORY or…..PLAN A STORY!! PLAN YOUR NEXT STORY! MAKE IT HAPPEN!!! FOCUS ON ANYTHING EXCEPT RIGHT NOW!!!!! YOU CAN DOOOOOO IIIIIIIIIIIT.”
Okay, so my brain doesn’t exactly scream at me, but this is how I’m portraying it for emphasis. My mind doesn’t like to let things be.
But there is something freeing in letting go of the shoulds and woulds and coulds and cants. Maybe I haven’t discovered delight at my local library meditation class yet, but I think I’m on my way.
It is rather like the Serenity prayer: Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Give me the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
I’ve prayed that prayer a million times and I always focus on the part where I ask for courage to change things. Well, change isn’t my problem. It’s the first sentence of the prayer that I need to work on. And maybe you do, too. So I thought I’d write this blog post.
Enjoy the subtitles: