I am absolutely not chill. I’m a crazy, high-strung, type-A, mom of three. I need to learn how to take it easy. I need to have time to take it easy. I need a damn break! Yoga is my therapy. Without it, I wouldn’t be a functioning member to society.
It is in search of chill, calm, and quiet that I decided to try and meditate. I should meditate. I am a yoga instructor, after all. But, I hate sitting still. I claim the it hurts; my low back complains. I claim I don’t have time; who does? I can come up with every excuse possible, but the real reason is…. I don’t know. I simply have a hard time making time to do nothing.
In search of that much needed quiet moment, I went to a meditation class. I propped myself up on a block against a wall, to soothe my low back. I closed my eyes, and tried to resist the urge to day dream. Jess, the instructor, was great. She walked me through my body and into my breath. I don’t know exactly what she said, or when she stopped talking. It was as if she slowly lowered my mind into itself and left me watching time unravel in front of me. The first minute or two was this beautiful expanse of breath, and quiet. And then suddenly, not knowing how I got there, I was planning dinner. I was wondering what my kids were doing. I was planning this very blog. How could I admit that I suck at this? I blamed the candy I ate before class. I blamed my ADHD. What was the weather going to be? I started listing everything I had to do with my week… Jess talked again, and again I was brought back to the room. This, I thought to myself, is exactly what I crave all day long. I yearn for a moment of peace and quiet, when my kids are screaming, the house is a wreck and I have to go do all those things I always have to do. Of course, this distracted me again. This back and forth went on for twenty minutes. There were times that I was sure I could feel my mind opening up, and then the realization of that distracted me. My mind was the usual mess it always is.
My frustration with meditation is that after years of yoga, I still suck at it. I feel like I’ve grown in my practice. I haven’t grown much at all in my ability to meditate. Maybe it is because I barely ever meditate. And maybe it is because, that is the way it is supposed to be. Meditation brings us to the here and now, the very fibers of our psyche, and robs us of all of our usual distractions. Meditation is hard. So is life. It is easier to go through the rough stuff in our lives distracted, planning, moving forward, looking back and never really standing still. Meditation forces us to stand still and see what is in front of us. In those quiet still moments we get to really look at ourselves. It isn’t always pretty, but it is always real and true.
I asked Jess what her theory was behind her meditation classes. How does she decide what she is going to say, and how she is going to lead us? “It’s a work in progress. I guess I’m learning as we go, what works for the class and what works for me.” Yes. Exactly. That is what meditation is. Meditation happens in the moment. And because the mind is an electric, slippery creature, meditation must always change. The present moment is always moving just past us. As soon as we think we are in it, as soon as we pay attention to it, the moment has past.
As I left the studio, I didn’t think I had achieved much from my meditation. As usual, I was frustrated with myself, feeling as if I had wasted 20 minutes. I felt this way the whole way home. But when I opened the door to my house something shifted. I noticed the aroma of garlic and onions from the dinner my husband was cooking. I actually looked at the radiant faces of my three kids who were elated to see me. I didn’t want to pick up my phone and loose myself in work or the internet. I didn’t feel the need to clean up the toys that were covering my floor. I comfortably slid into the present moment. It was as if meditation had primed my mind for real life. Those fleeting, distracted twenty minutes allowed my mind to understand how to be present. Time opened up, and slowed in front of me. I was more attentive and happier. I was chill. I was the calm eye in the center of the beautiful storm that is my life. At least for a little while.
In case you want to find your own peace and quiet, meditation classes at Yoga Innovations are Sunday evenings!