Finding A Place of Peace
I started this blog about a month ago and it was around that same time that my friend Michelle made a suggestion that I should start practicing meditation. The very next day there was a blog post by someone I follow about meditation. I thought, “Well, that’s a bit odd.” Since then, there has not been a week that’s gone by that meditation has not been mentioned. It seems to me as if the universe itself is telling me I need to begin meditating. So, this past Friday I had some time all to myself and I decided to give it a try.
Before I did so, I spent some time trying to read up on beginning tips or techniques, pretty much anything I could find to help me out. What I found out is that there is way too much information on the web, and it is too easy to become overloaded with information. So, I decided I would just try breathing and not worrying about anything else.
I sat down in the middle of my living room because that was where it was warmer and quieter. I closed my eyes and just began breathing. I tried to do what Michelle had suggested which was to clear my mind and think of a restful place, a place I could just “be” in. I thought about Playa del Carmen. There was a resort there that I had stayed at in 1997. I had gone there with my husband (ex-now) for a 7-day vacation, and I fell in love. It was my first time on a beach. It was a white sand beach and the water was so clear. The very first thing we did after getting settled in our room was to head out to the beach. It didn’t take long for me to become addicted to the water. The hardest thing for me was to pull myself away from the beach, for any reason. It didn’t take long, either, for me to buy a snorkel and mask and head back out to the beach the next day. Being so fair-skinned, I naturally sunburned to a crisp, even though I slathered sunscreen on often. I hated having to spend the next day inside, but I knew I had overdone it, and now had to pay the piper. The day after that we rode out to Chichen Itza (completely outstanding), and the next day I went scuba diving. We visited Cozumel, and other places but all I really wanted to do was be at the beach. I woke up as early as I could, before anyone else was awake, and I would go sit out on the sand and watch the sun rise. I’d stay up late and go walk on the beach in the moonlight alone. I’d close my eyes, and breathe deep. It was the most peaceful, and the happiest, I’ve ever been in my life. If you tell me to find my happy place, that would be it.
So, I tried to picture myself there in my mind. And I couldn’t. I tried to focus on breathing. In and out, in and out. The problem came when I tried to clear and quiet my mind. Since I haven’t meditated before, this was really difficult. Random thoughts popped in and out like fireflies. Eventually, I wasn’t even thinking about anything in particular except a person. Just that. Just a person. My breathing evened out, I became less frustrated with myself, and I found myself relaxing. How weird is that? Instead of thinking of a place that made me feel secure and happy and peaceful, I thought of a person. Well, that’s a bit of oddness, right? And yet, it worked. I wasn’t even thinking anything about this person. I just pictured their face and smile. Then I started noticing little things about my body. I had straightened my posture. My breathing was deep and regular. My whole body felt alert and in tune. I was comfortable.
I don’t know how long I actually had been that way but I know I was unable to sustain it for long. Have I mentioned I have kids? Too soon I had to stop and take care of everyone’s daily schedules. But, for the whole day, nothing bothered me. I felt a lightness of being in a way. I was calm and happy. I felt peaceful, and I was able to deal with stress in a more positive way. Why?
What had caused me to feel this way? Was it just me picturing someone who made me feel safe and happy? Was it being able to focus on myself for a few minutes instead of on others all the time? What was it? I still don’t know. But I’m intrigued. That is how I always want to feel. I know we must have our ups and downs but I want to know how to control my emotions and calm myself when I start to become overwhelmed in life. For that whole day, I was more me than I’ve been in a long time. And that’s a wonderful thing.
I’m juggling several balls right now but I’m about to let them all drop to see how and where they land. I’m tired of juggling them, to be honest. I think meditation would be a good way to help me decided which goals I want to accomplish now, and which ones I can let go of for the time being. Meditation is nothing like I thought it would be. It’s a good way to center myself and focus more on the present moment. And since the universe is still throwing it in my path, I am not going to ignore it. There’s obviously a reason for it. I will learn how to calm my thoughts and quiet my mind.
Although, what I’m beginning to learn is that when I run, there’s a certain focus I’ve been doing while I run. I notice my mind is focused more on what’s going on with my running and less on making lists, what I need to do when I get home, etcetera. I’ve also begun to notice that when I focus on my steps and try to time them with the music, I can’t keep it up. I fall out of sync with the music. If I let go of trying to control two things at once, and I focus on something else, then my steps and the music fall into place. Isn’t that true of life, too? When we begin to juggle too many things, we have too many projects or responsibilities going on all at once, then sooner or later we will get out of sync. But if we let go of things, if we just stop juggling, we find that things almost sort themselves out on their own. Usually in unexpected ways. That’s something I hope meditation will help me with. I would love to learn how to stop juggling and let everything take care of itself. Because it will. I have faith.
Just so you know, I did go out and run today. It wasn’t as bad as yesterday although it was definitely colder and I had wind gusting at me at up to 40 mph. I even made it to my halfway point before my legs even began to feel the burn this time. But that hill is still just as bad. The good thing was that I only had to run halfway up the hill today because the wind caused me to lose some ground today. I kept having to push harder to run into the wind so my time was off by two minutes. However, my recovery time was less today and I felt I could have kept up the 2 minute running for longer but I didn’t want to push it. Plus, I am sore. My whole lower half of my body feels bruised and it aches. But it is a good pain. Tomorrow I am taking the day off from running but I plan on working on some cardio and upper body training. I’ve been reading some helpful tips that I didn’t know about before and I plan on putting into my training now. I’m still persevering, though, I swear this is really hard to do. I am completely out of shape, but giving up is not an option. Resistance is futile.