Happy Day 17 of our BeHereNowvember Challenge!
I tell you, this week keeps on making it clear to me why a regular meditation practice is SO important. I had depression and eating disorder monsters both wake up from their hibernation this week, and spent Thursday and Friday struggling under the weight of them, and feeling very far away from myself. I'm pretty used to visits from these demons, and, rationally, I understand that sometimes they just show up, and the best reaction is to wait it out, rather than feed them with extreme reactions or desperate measures. If I give myself time, and am soft with myself, and let myself feel the pressure of these two sitting on my chest, they will eventually ease off and head back to their slumber. But sometimes it's hard not to panic under that weight, and feel guilty about giving myself time, and being soft with myself feels like a luxury I don't deserve.
Despite feeling so low, despite doubting whether I "deserved" it, I didn't let my meditation practice lapse. I can't say that I had terrific meditations on Thursday or Friday morning, and found it difficult to let thoughts go, forgetting to take deeper, more even breaths while I sat. But a crappy meditation is still far better than none at all, and this small form of self-care felt like an anchor to myself while I struggled to close the foggy distance depression had created.
I sat with my monsters, and let them be. I didn't scold them for existing, or myself for housing them. I just sat, and breathed, and was.
Then, on Saturday morning, we listened to Sarah Blondin's wonderful guided meditation, "Our Souls' Expansion," and it was a real departure from what I normally listen to. I don't tend to prefer constant talking throughout meditations, but my mind, so clouded and crammed for the previous couple of days, appreciated listening to Sarah speaking and focusing on her words instead of my buzzing anxieties. As she talked about sitting with our discomforts, going purposefully toward the parts of ourselves we usually give a wide berth, she told us not to try bullying them, not pushing or pulling them, but just sitting with them. Kind of like sitting next to a friend who's having a hard day. Learning how to sit with those parts of ourselves and loving them is how healing takes place, and I sat in deep gratitude for the reminder that self-love means loving all of myself, even on the bad days. I sat with my monsters, and let them be. I didn't scold them for existing, or myself for housing them. I just sat, and breathed, and was. And suddenly, the weight eased off. My harmful delusions about food and my body, my crushing melancholy, acknowledged, appeased, and, wild as it is, loved, hopped off my chest and went back to their corners, and in the vacuum created as they left, I found myself brought swiftly and safely back home, to me.
This is why I want to shout from the rooftops about the benefits of meditation. The easily observable good done by sitting in calmness and deep breath, considerable as it is, pales in comparison to the less tangible mental and emotional benefits of regular meditation. Without meaning to sound glib, much like veganism saved me from my eating disorder, meditation regularly saves me from my depression. There is an understated and inexhaustible power that comes from the ability to calm yourself down and ground to your truest self, and we do ourselves a disservice when we don't even try to take advantage of that power. Our bodies have so many mechanisms to try to heal themselves, and our minds and hearts will similarly heal themselves if we give them the space, time, quiet, and love to do so.
So I hope you've been finding time! It doesn't need to be perfect, it doesn't need to look like anyone else's meditation practice, and it doesn't have to feel like what you imagined meditation would feel like, for you to gain so much from it. Sending light and love your way!