“Move and write and find the breath for your body…”
“I trust the quiet. I trust the dark. I trust my breath to keep me safe in this space […] I’ve never had so much fun just by breathing.”
I smirk and take a breath as I read over these words from the first day of my 28 Day Meditation Challenge. I recall moving into the first night of this project with an open and safe mind. My thoughts occasionally played like a movie reel, though I continued to sit. In her memoir, Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert describes wisdom as giving the only possible answer in the moment, and in each moment of my movie reel, I knew to simply be.
And I loved being.
I only continued with the meditation challenge for eight nights. Some evenings I would hold chakra stones in my hands (chakras being energy points in the body-more on that as I blog. Promise!), some evenings I would practice mudras (hand gestures) and just sometimes, I would find myself bellydancing into a yoga sequence instead of being “perfectly” still. Meditation, yoga, dance, are each a practice of being and not a “perfection” of being. This is half the battle of our ego (more on ego later). Stay humble in practices. Practices in physical exercise, mental exercise, and human interaction exercise.
Though I was very much my own adult while on this meditating journey, I was told by someone close to me not to share my personal connections/experiences. Almost immediately I could feel a shadow of fear over me, as though I was doing something wrong. I knew that one person- one person with a different viewpoint was not entitled to un-do my experience, but I couldn’t shake it.
And anyway, how is mediating not personal? Instead of hiding, I gently pushed my curiosity out toward my critic and fellow readers two nights later:
Appropriately enough with my throat chakra (energy) closed off, critics muted my voice even more. “Don’t put your thoughts out there. Only write a paragraph about your meditation and nothing personal.” But, wait a minute… If one is completely honest in the practice it can be emotional, intellectually confusing, and intense as things surface. To write “I sat. Inhaled. Exhaled. Felt better” doesn’t say anything about one human’s experience with connecting to a higher power, with what their belief of yoga is.
There are many yoga trainings that include a three day meditation retreat where the trainees focus on the eyes of a partner and meditate on the question “Who/What am I?” Among the groups, many tears are shed as many unresolved issues and unacknowledged tensions either rise or perhaps completely release with that simple question. The idea of meditating is to, indeed, detach from different levels of distractions but as long as one concentrates on the breath- their recycled energy-how can one’s own journey of meditating not be personal? Doesn’t it take courage and strength to commit to such an honest act of being? And doesn’t reawakening after one moment of vulnerability dissolve weakness, not hold a soul in it?
Watch me write.
“Watch me write!” Boy was I ever gung-ho! Fast forward four years later, I should only be so wise today- my body has been scurrying around all morning, my breath only moving when I sigh in frustration. My belly is tightly held in place while my chest hasn’t risen or fallen. Only small annoyances are pinching, and if the small things are all that I feel, I am in serious need of meditating and moving on a regular basis.
Not only is it time to re-visit that challenge but also create a lifestyle that includes the right to be creative and expressive.
Since being muted years back, I have had several transitions occur: some beautiful, some independent, some heartbreaking, but through all of these changes, I know I could’ve taken care of my breath and mind better.
It’s time. Time to be gentle and also loud.
Come with me as I record my happenings on physical and mental movement through dance, yoga, and meditation!
Meditate on this:
What are your thoughts on meditation being personal? Do you agree or disagree? Why?