I decided a couple of days ago that it was time to buckle down hard on the self-care. Ok, truth be told, i’ve been telling myself that for months, but i haven’t been good about doing it. As a result, i am exhausted. Flat out burnt. I haven’t any energy to do anything good, but i can’t seem to sleep through the night either. And it’s my own fault. I haven’t spent enough time outdoors. I haven’t been exercising. I’ve been spending far too much time in front of the laptop. And i’ve not been making time for much fun. I’ve made small efforts here and there, but not consistently. It has been like a very badly played game of hopscotch.
The day i had finally had enough, i decided that, to help myself sleep better, i would try to stretch and meditate. And of course, that was a dismal failure. I don’t meditate well when my brain is fresh, so it is never going to work when my brain is a piece of gluten-free, whole grain bread that’s been left unbagged on the counter for months.
That night, as i lay in bed trying to decide if the noise in my head is the frogs and crickets outside my window or just terrible tinnitus, i promised myself that i would so something spiritual this weekend.
Fast forward to this morning, when i woke from a night of tossing and turning, showered, dressed and headed to the Friends meeting across town. I hadn’t been in a couple years, so i was a little nervous. But the Quaker gathering is the one type of church where i never feel misplaced. In general, it is a very accepting group, dedicated to simplicity and service to fellow man. In fact, i doubt i was the only one there who wasn’t, strictly speaking, Christian. But we all share the common bond of knowing that the particulars aren’t important. The meeting in Chattanooga is unprogrammed, which means that there is no preacher. This isn’t a place where you go to confess, or recite, or be granted forgiveness. This is a place where the Light of each of us as individuals binds together and becomes exponentially stronger. Spiritually ennervating. Meditative. We wait in silence until someone feels moved to speak. Sometimes no one speaks and we all just take in the Peace – The Light that we seek.
The first half of today’s meeting was spent in silence. I closed my eyes and wished my thoughts away. My thoughts, however, had other ideas…
I can’t seem to settle down. I need to relax. Let me do that yoga thing… I tighten and release one muscle group at a time, starting with my toes. I made it all the way to my head and then took in one of those “Deep, cleansing breaths” that is supposed to maintain the stillness. Yah……. Nope.
They’ve changed the light fixtures since i was here last. I think they’ve painted in here too. C’mon Hol, you’re supposed to be quiet. But all the little noises are distracting. I can hear the children upstairs. And the birds outside. Someone is starting coffee. Wait. Did someone just fart? Oh God, that must be so embarrassing. Oh no. Was it me? Did i just fart during a freaking prayer meeting??? I mean, i don’t think it was me. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t me.It’s so hard not to giggle. C’mon Hol,what are you? 5? Everyone else is ignoring it, so just move on. Holy hell! There is a wasp in the room! Weird, tho… It doesn’t seem to be interested in bothering anyone. Maybe he knows Friends are pacifists. Doesn’t mean someone won’t squash him, tho. That coffee smells good. Man, i really suck at this meditation thing. I feel like that lemur in that meme where he is sitting there saying, “C’mon inner peace…. I don’t have all day!” I need to restart.
I start that thing where you count your breath as it goes in and out. That lasted for maybe 5 breaths.
Dideedideedideedoooooooo… My brain is a big lump of jelllllloooooooo…. Maybe today wasn’t the best day for me to come. I can’t seem to get into my Spiritual Space. Probably because it has grown a hard shell from disuse. Well, i supposed i have used it, but only superficially. I wonder if that counts? Or does the Universe even keep count? Oh! Sounds like someone is standing….
One of the members begins to speak about how awesome it is that we can meet like this and combine our collective light. Then another member speaks nostalgically about the history of the church for a couple minutes. Then comes the period when we can all offer up people who need to be held in the Light. Then it is over.
I stuck around long enough to reintroduce myself to a couple people i remembered, and to make new acquaintance with ones i didn’t know. Then i had to head out. I did feel a bit better. Just a bit more energetic. Enough that i actually went outside and did a little gardening after my Sunday chores and a meeting for work. Now i am out on the porch writing this. Maybe it’s not a landmark day, but it’s an improvement. Especially if i am able to get in a little exercise tonight.
Lots of us are in this same spot lately. We are doing a lot, but not the kinds of things that are good for us. We are trudging on with the dailies, while time passes us by and leaves us in the dust. We need to keep reminding ourselves:
If i am busy, i want it to be with fulfilling things, not trivialities.
If i am heavy, i want it to be from good food, not junk food.
If i have wrinkles, i want them to be from laughing, not frowning.
If i have aches and pains, i want them to be from doing things i love, not from allowing myself to get stiff and rusty.
If i must advance in age, i at least don’t have to get “old”.
And if i die tomorrow, i want to leave behind a life of Love, Light, and Laughter.
Here’s to remembering that daily.