I have always been one to keep fairly quiet on what I do to maintain my health and fitness beyond my cardio and strength workouts. I am sure if it wasn't my job, I wouldn't even be sharing that with everyone.
As outgoing as I am with my work, in real life I am quite the introvert. Often I find myself being schooled by people on topics which they believe I know nothing about, when in fact they are things which I have practiced or studied for years. However, it doesn't bother me. I enjoy hearing what others have to say about things which interest us both. Although I often pretend I am as blissfully ignorant about the topic as they think I am. Mostly because I feel I don't have to prove what I know about the subject. But also because I have become too exhausted by constantly being schooled on what Diwali or Holi is and all the thousands of cultural nuances I have lived with for the past decade that people seem to think I don't know or have experienced. I find it best to just be quiet and go into a heavily meditated state of mind.
I remember not long after I moved to India people started to tell me how I needed to meditate. They would constantly try to explain to me what it was and how to do it. It always seemed to me they were just trying to prove or convince something to oneself more than anything. Meditation was not new to me at all. This word and concept has been with me since my childhood.
As a kid, Friday afternoons I would ride the bus to my great-grandmother's house and spend time with her. Often she would be finishing up her daily devotions and then meditate on them. This was my first exposure to meditation as I remember. When I started competing in sports during my teens I was quickly taught the benefits of meditation before a race or diving meet. Every night I would do visual meditations of each and every dive on my list perfectly over and over again. My early twenties I spent many weekends in sweat lodges which sacred ritual involves prayer, meditation and purification. Meditation has been a part of my life for almost as long as I can remember.
Sixteen years ago I walked into the Dai Bosatsu Zen Monastery and took a month long kessei training. I have spent years practicing zazen thereafter. From there I have allowed meditation to be as normal and natural in my life as brushing my teeth every day. I suppose that is why I never really talk about it. I have never felt the need to tell every one I wash my hands and brush my teeth. I don't need to prove to anyone I am clean. I have never needed to let the world know I meditate. But it has been a part of my life and daily practice for decades.
Like we all have our normal daily habits we have picked up over the years, I wake up, meditate, coffee....and so on. Meditate again during the day when I need and again in the evenings. I look forward to it more than I do turning on a show. TV makes me feel lonely. In fact, I am someone who feels lonely most of the time and it saddens me greatly, but meditation is the one thing which makes me good. It makes me feel whole.
So when I began hearing people talk more and more about starting to meditate recently, it actually made me think, 'do people not find this normal or natural to do in their every day life?'
I know we all are having our own difficulties during this time of lockdown. There are moms who are separated from their children. Doctors who don't get to see their families and kids who are stuck at universities. Even for me, I am stuck thousands of miles from home and I struggle every day with not knowing when I get to go back. It is easy to have bad days, to feel sad, stressed and upset. It's okay to have those days. But coming from someone who has practiced meditation her whole life, I can attest this is the best tool I have that is helping me get through these tough times.
Meditation is something which is very spiritual for me. It goes beyond the mind and lies deep within the soul. Perhaps that is why I don't talk about it much. I always left the spiritual soul stuff to everyone's own devices. This is why I have been hesitant for years to write about or share my meditation experiences with others.
Years ago, long after I had done my Reiki II, I was doing a shiatsu session on a woman who stopped me in the middle of our session and told me to do my Master Level. She was a Reiki Master herself and I had not shared my Reiki experience with her, she just knew. Yes, most don't know I am a Reiki Master. Nor will you know I am a certified meditation teacher as well. My point: I have always felt the tools one acquires in life will come to light to use when the time is right.
For me to be writing about this, I guess the time must be the right. This sparked in me yesterday when my sister and I were talking about her not having motivation. I found myself discussing meditation with her and how a mantra meditation can help rewire the brain for changing behaviour patterns (aka - create new habits). She helped me bring to light how many people are really struggling with creating new habits during this time, which made me think.
So before I carry on too long, (and let's face it, people rarely have the attention span to read beyond one paragraph) I thought I would share with you my personal history on meditation before I started writing more about it. I am not one to just hop on this month's mainstream train to gain popularity.
I decided I will start sharing some meditations with you which can help deal with these stressful times. Hopefully it can help you feel more at ease. I hope you look forward to it. Until then, be well and keep your head on straight.
I wanted to share with you a site one of my friends started for the endurance athlete in this era of Covid19 Social Distancing, called The Social Distance Athlete. Over the next few weeks there will be posts with tips and support for the endurance athlete during this time. I wrote an article for them which I will share an excerpt...
Congratulations, you have been forced into home quarantine! Isolated from the outside world. Your gym is now shut and you have gone near mad in the first 48 hours.
But wait…aren’t you a triathlete? Didn’t you take up a sport which requires you to spend endless hours on the bike solo? How many conversations have you had with your friends with your head in the water as you swim lap upon lap staring at the black line in the bottom of the pool? How many mornings have you gotten up before the rest of the world to get in your miles of that morning run? Just to make my point clear; You chose a sport where you get penalized for spending too much time along the side of another rider! You are a Triathlete!
You have been training for this social distancing/isolation/quarantine all along!...
Dear 10 Year Old Me,
As we come to the beginning of a new year, I want to first congratulate you for making it this far. You have done a damn good job. I am really proud of how you stuck to all those gut feelings you had over the past few years. Your curiosity of the big world out there serves you well in your 20s, 30s and 40s. You get to see so many places, you wouldn't believe! You even live in other countries. Handling with grace at all ages, you never stress when everyone was putting the pressure on you to figure out what you wanted in life. Everything you knew from the start, you stay true to you all the way through. Not many people figure that out in their adulthood, but you knew al along. It's quite impressive and as a result your life is really amazing.
I am still enjoying all the adventures I have now days, just as I did when I was 10. There will be some ups and downs through the years, but you are prepared. I won't spoil the excitement for you, but if I were to give you one word of advice that will help, it would be this: The loneliness and isolation you have always felt, you will continue to experience your entire life. (Or at least to this point.) Know it isn't because people don't like you. In fact you are well liked. It is because you are different. You see and feel things differently than others. You will experience life in a way which isn't conventional to social standards. This is what makes you feel alone. Don't worry through these times. Spend these moments of loneliness to educate yourself and grow. You will have a few amazing friends who help you nurture the gift you have.
Most importantly, continue to always follow your instinct. Never has it mislead you and because of that you live a life of no regrets. Life is going to be good.
I love you very much.
Your 42 Year Old Me