The other morning I found a knot of sadness stuck in my chest. I recognized it as anxiety & had to dig deep to find out what was causing it. I had woken up at 5:30am to do my morning meditation & yoga, hoping to get a head start before the other guests arose. However soon after, new hostel guests arrived and were playing rock music & chatting/laughing quite loudly. In my mind I was stuck in a place of wanting silence/peace/calm for myself, while also recognizing that these guests had the right to show up in whatever way they wanted, even playing music early in the morning. What made my wants/needs greater than theirs? I remembered a negotiation strategy I learned in my social psychology classes where 2 people strive for a win-win solution (integrative bargaining), meaning a way for both parties to get what they want. How could I get my peace/quiet & the new arrivals their music/fun? In that moment I felt stuck, but later in the day something came to me. I could find my peace within, rather than trying to draw it externally from the environment.
The purpose of meditation is to draw us into the present moment, taking us out of our heads back into our bodies to free us from the stories that are keeping us stuck (in toxic emotions). Since we are staying in a hostel this week, there will be less silence/solitude for us here. In such a crowded place, I find myself feeling out of control, comparing myself & my experiences with others, & then judging myself for doing so. I feel diluted by all the energy I am swimming in. Rather than trying to escape to a "safer" place, I can immediately bring myself back into my body (perhaps with a few deep breaths or feeling my feet grounded on the floor), so I can stand solidly in the present moment. From this place of internal peace, I give myself the space in my mind & heart to choose the next action that will be most loving for both myself and others. I give space for inspiration & intuition to bubble up within me & to move me forward. The next time you feel overwhelmed by a strong emotion, I encourage you to take a moment to bring yourself back into the present moment by feeling into your body. Take a deep breath, think of one word that captures how you'd like to feel right now. How do you want to respond to this moment in both an honest, but loving way? I also encourage you, whether through meditation, journaling, talking with loved ones, or prayer, to reflect on the experience to understand what it has to tell you about yourself, what's important to you, what needs healing within you and what choices you have. In my next post, I will reflect on this more.