I have never been much for meditating. Sitting still is about as easy for me as a kitten resisting a wriggling piece of twine. My foot twitches, my face itches, my legs fall asleep in lotus position, and breathing feels contrived! Sigh… But many of my friends meditate, as does my husband and one of my sons, so the other night I surrendered, cross-legged in a chair and turned the timer on my iPhone to ring after 20 minutes. To my amazement, I became comfortable and mostly still. By focusing on the exhale (which naturally encouraged my inhale), I let go of many thoughts. I even felt calm afterwards; not the kind that helped me levitate, and I had no major insights, but I did feel more connected to myself, as if I had dropped anchor into earth. I felt a moment of presence.
That moment overcame my resistance to exploring stillness. Stillness goes against the modeling in my house growing up, which was more like Grand Central Station than a monastary. But I decided to try it again, because when I’m present I feel fully alive.
This morning I tuned in for only 12 minutes. No sooner was the timer pulsing than tears began to flow. What’s going on? I asked myself. More tears came, and then I saw my 5-year-old girl. What do you want? I asked her, loving her blond, curly hair. The questions flowed downstream.
I saw her furrowed brow looking at me. She was trying to figure out how to take care of me. Wait a minute! I told her, this is backwards! I’m supposed to be taking care of you! She didn’t talk to me, but I saw her confusion. She had grown up taking care of my mother, and now that I’m the mother to myself, she thought she had to keep on caring for me. You poor girl. I comforted, wiping my eyes. I vowed to gain her trust in caring for her. I unbraided her hair and started brushing it with soft strokes.
Life is a treasure trove of lessons if we stop long enough in the cove of our soul, to anchor our body, breath in new life, and keep our hearts open.
How often do we stop to look inside and let the twitching settle?