We don’t have access to our creature comforts in the same way we usually do. Our coffee shops, and places we go to work out or decompress aren’t available to us, and so now more than ever it is important to find a place where you can be still and be comfortable inside of yourself. And that’s what the meditation practice is really all about, it’s the ceasing to find external validation and external gratification and looking inward for those things.
Your body is your home, so I invite you to find ways to calm and nourish your body. A regular meditation practice is a great way to do that and I’d like to remind you that there isn’t a right way to meditate. The resistance that so many people have is something akin to “I can’t meditate… my thoughts just swirl and grumble and I can’t relax, etc.” and that’s’ not the point. We all have swirling thoughts, sometimes repetative and intrusive in nature, and the journey within is just a place to acknowledge those thoughts, shine a light on them so they don’t hide and grow in the dark and take over you. You can befriend them and, in that way, soothe them and quiet them. An overactive nervous system is going to make you think all kinds of things, many of them wildly improbable. Our ability to recognize that they are just thoughts takes their power away and gives your personal power back to you where it belongs.
If you can’t feel safe in the world right now, it’s more important than ever to feel like your body, the container of your spirit, is a healthy and safe place to be. Really anything that knocks your nervous system off of its axis is something that should be limited. Alcohol and marijuana can exacerbate anxiety after a ramp up in dopamine release. Anything stimulating like caffeine or sugar can also put you into a place of heightened anxiety.
This is a time when we don’t have to rush from one activity to the next, and we can give our systems a little reset. I’m not saying avoid all substances entirely; my morning coffee ritual has been very soothing to me personally, but I notice the difference if I go back for a second cup in the afternoon. What I am saying is that this is an opportunity to look at what we are putting in our bodies and how it affects our ability to deal with stress.
Consider also what else you are consuming during this time, not through the mouth, but in terms of what you allow in through your eyes and ears and subconscious minds. If you’re watching something that is stimulating to the eyes and ears your body will respond appropriately. This is a simple suggestion that maybe it’s time to turn off the Terminator movies and watch the Great British Baking Show instead.
And finally, I want to suggest that you create a respite somewhere in your home, as you are likely to be inside the walls of your house for the next few weeks. Put your idle hands to use by creating a safe space in your home you can retreat to. Take a space you are already drawn to and spruce it up a little bit. Add an alter in your meditation space, put candles and photographs around your yoga mat, enjoy the flowers in your backyard, put clean sheets on your bed, etc. and make a space that’s cozy and comfortable. A space that is just for you to reconnect with your spirit, your breath, the container of your spirit. Any place where you can lay your weapons down, place your hands over your heart and say gently to yourself, “I am Home.”