Well, I finally did it. I meditated. For ten minutes. After wanting, planning and hoping to do so, I did it. And it was wonderful! It’s hard to turn off the mind, and I didn’t exactly do that. But I slowed down. I could feel the tightness, like a drum, in my belly, the pull of my hip flexors, the spread of muscles shining out of my spine. I saw images. I asked for clarity surrounding my pursuits.
I have been pursuing a career as an actress for my entire adult life and I am stuck. I, who once prided myself on being optimistic and innocent almost to a fault, have become disillusioned. I don’t know what step to take next or how, or if I am even willing to do so. As I was meditating, I asked for guidance on this conundrum, and I imagined being at the bottom of a well, with dirt so tightly compacted around me that it felt as if I was suffocating. Breathing and feeling the stifling grip of the earth, I tried to relax into it. Slowly, its claws loosened and I had a bit more room to be. The path before me seemed a little less foggy.
I asked my heart for a word, as I was taught by my Enneagram mentor, Sandra. She says if you ask your heart for a word, it will only come from a place of love. If you get an unkind word, you know it’s not really your heart speaking to you. So, my heart first said “key” and then it said “soften.” And I knew what that meant. Compassion.
It means I must soften my heart in order to unlock it. I could feel the tightness, like vines, covering up my heart, trying to protect it. For as long as I can remember I have been incredibly hard on myself. I want too much from myself, I push myself past my boundaries, and limits. I berate myself for not being good enough, for failing, for being human.
Yesterday, I felt particularly stressed. Beginning my morning with immediately trying to put myself out there, getting online, trying to reach for something, giving away my power, by 10am I felt exhausted. I was frustrated, angry, annoyed, mad, tired, and upset. Over what? Nothing in particular. It was mainly because I was not present. It felt like someone was behind me, pushing me towards some end goal, some product, and I was clamoring and tripping over myself trying to get there. I think I was pissed at that bully who was forcing me to be somewhere that I wasn’t.
I didn’t like that feeling, that stress, that overwhelm of the mind, that disconnection from the body. And that is what led me to start my day a little differently this morning. When I opened my eyes from my ten-minute meditation, I could see in real time what was in front of me. The flickering of my Lavender Vanilla candle flame, the blueness of the sky juxtaposed with the rust red of the roof across the street. My breathing had slowed down and it felt just a little easier to take the next step.
This, I suppose, is the gift of meditation. We are so over-stimulated in this uber technological age. We have more on our plates than ever. We are constantly feeling behind, or too much, or not good enough. I hope to be able to give myself this gift every morning.
If any of what I’ve written resonates with you, please share a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts and begin a conversation!