Resisting stillness

Light purple sticky note with script reading "my brain has too many tabs open"

At the start of my regular Tuesday meditation sessions, the teacher usually asks how we’re coming to practice. Yesterday, I said I was feeling a lot of resistance. 

After her regular thank-you-for-sharing affirmation, she encouraged me to question what was feeling threatened by the practice. THREATENED. The word hit hard. The question caught me off guard. 

Partway through the meditation, I found my answer.

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Meanings, meditations, and modifications

The report from the most recent MRI on my right knee is filled with words I don’t understand — and not just because they’re German. ‘Subluxation’ is the same in English and auf Deutsche. ‘Chondral degeneration’ and ‘joint effusion’ are pretty close. ‘Arthrose’ translates neatly to ‘osteoarthritis.’ And meniscus is readily understandable with a ‘k’ instead of a ‘c.’

The meaning of the medical terminology is opaque in either language. The effects on my life, however, are obvious — and leave me wondering about what osteoarthritis and a host of complications mean for meditating.

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Calming the disquiet

There’s a swirling sense of anxiety. And it’s making me unsettled. 

Woman wearing a white disposable mask holding up one thumb (like thumbs up)
We all doing okay?

I know logically that I’m quite well-protected. It’s not a challenge to stay fed and sheltered and entertained. I’m pretty healthy and likely to stay that way. I have just about every creature comfort at my disposal. But those rational thoughts don’t stop me from fretting about the state of the world. 

A few things help: talking with friends, family, and a professional (shout out to Building Bridges for excellent online counselling), giant hugs from my very-in-bubble husband, staying off social media if I’m feeling meh, getting into nature, cuddling with Sofie (she’s less and less amenable, but occasionally consents), and meditating.

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Meditation for compassion

Laura seated in well-propped easy pose demonstrating a gently moving meditation to encourage compassion
Laura mid-way through an easy, five-minute meditation to encourage compassion

Most of us could stand to show ourselves and others a little more kindness. And I feel that need for compassion is more with the amplified sense of hatred, fear, confusion, and division that’s reflected in my social media feeds.

I ended my last online Yin Yoga class with a short meditation to encourage compassion for ourselves and others and I’ve recorded this short practice to share more broadly.

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Meringue over meditation

Easy hazelnut chocolate cookies

My commitment to daily meditation in March faded almost immediately after my mid-March update – and my commitment to posting seems to have ended with it 😉 I have, however, been making an inordinate number of meringue-based treats! Spring has been all about whipping up egg whites to use in pavlovas or cookies.

These Nutella-inspired confections are based on an Italian recipe for Brutti ma Buoni (ugly but delicious) cookies that has just three ingredients (egg white, sugar, ground hazelnuts). I’ve added a bit of depth with vanilla extract (or vanilla sugar) and amped up the deliciousness by covering them with chocolate.

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Mid-March measure

Laura sitting cross-legged on a bench, meditating at nightI’ve been successful thus far in my commitment to meditate at least once a day in March. In fact, I’m at 16 consecutive days of meditation because I jumped the gun by starting on February 28 😉

So far I’ve done my Om Shreem Mahalakshmiyei Namaha meditation mostly at home, but I’ve also sat and silently chanted in an airport, an empty hotel conference room, and my brother’s guest room. I’ve meditated with my dog, Sofie, curled up next to me, while lying down in savasana (corpse pose), and with my legs up the wall. I’ve meditated in yoga gear (stretchy pants and a tank top) and in jeans. I’ve meditated in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening. I’ve meditated as part of a yoga practice and as a quick 10 minute stand alone.

I have not sought out a regular meditation routine (like a specific time of day or location), but have been able to fit it into my life without feeling like it’s an imposition. I have embraced the idea that there’s no wrong way to meditate. Simply sitting and being mindful is enough.

And it’s even been warm enough in Calgary to meditate outdoors in March! (Although winter has made its return after a few days of 15º+ temperatures – it’s currently snowing!) I suspect I’ll be meditating indoors for the rest of March 🙂

March is for meditating

Laura sitting in easy pose meditatingLarge-scale change has been a constant for me over the last year and a half (new languages! new cities! new places to travel! new residences!) and, despite being somewhat settled in Calgary, there are still many more changes coming. To help me manage this upheaval, I’m undertaking a personal meditation challenge and committing to daily meditation for the month of March.

I’ve selected a Sanskrit meditation for abundance; partially to encourage my levels of energy and enthusiasm and partially just because I like the way it sounds 😉 I’ll be chanting 108 repetitions of Om Shreem Mahalakshmiyei Namaha along with Deva Premal for the next 31 days and hoping that the regularity helps me feel content and calm.

The words are relatively simple (no long complicated Sanskrit phrases!), it takes under 10 minutes, and Deva Premal’s version is well-paced and easy to follow (take a listen on YouTube, if you’d like). I’ll have very few excuses not to stick to meditating for abundance in March!