We have had some stuff goin’ on ’round here, haven’t we?! Lawd have mercy!
A pandemic. Closing of schools and everything else. Quarantine. Unjustified brutality and protests for equal treatment. Rising case numbers in the pandemic. Hard conversations. Personal stuff. Family stuff. Work stuff. Enlightenment. Shifting of priorities. New normals.
It’s enough to make you wanna throw yourself down on the bed and exhale a soul-relieving breath, hoping to blow it all away and see clearly.
It’s been foggy, hasn’t it? The dense type of fog that doesn’t lift when the sun comes out. A fog full of uncertainty, anxiety, questions. I don’t know about y’all, but I felt like I was walking around here with a fog machine strapped to my back…going through my days with four feet of visibility. One of my kids–the anxious one–would ask questions about the future, near and far, and I would have to tell him, “bud, I’m just trying to make it through this hour…anything beyond that is out of my circle.”
But, we made it through. The fog, I mean. Every day, we made it through. And every day I would reflect on our accomplishments…what we’d done…how we were able to keep our heads about us…how we could still highlight our favorite part of the day during our dinner discussions.
Last night I started thinking about things. It was more like an unconscious thing when your mind starts to wander. Like, all over the place.
For a while, I’ve been having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep and sleeping well. Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? It kinda is…only kinda. It has helped me weed out the negative thoughts. Focus on the positive. Find what’s important. Remember my core values and filter what happens to me and around me through those values. It’s cleansed my lense (see what I did there? <wink>). Given me glasses to see through the fog that’s settled over all of us.
Before you guys, my therapist (remember him?) pushed me to meditate. I was in such a hole at the time that I scoffed and said “yeah, whatever,” and brushed it off. I tried a couple times but couldn’t ever get it right. If you’ve never done it, like me at that time, I pictured a person sitting criss-cross (applesauce–shout out to my early childhood educators, LOL), arms resting on knees, eyes closed, and some form of “ohm” coming from his mouth. So, I mean, naturally, I was too cool for that.
Looking back, I realize that my hole was too deep and my head too foggy to think I could get this right. BUT, I did keep trying…and eventually, I was able to do it successfully. Some of you are fist-pumping right now. Some of you are shaking your head in agreement. Some of you are reading so fast that you’re barely thinking about what I’m saying. It’s ok, you’ll be back.
Here’s what I know now.
Meditating is thinking really hard and not at all at the same time.
Yikes, right? Yeah.
It’s thinking about nothing so hard that it’s an active thing.
I close my eyes just so I don’t focus on anything in my space. No noises so I don’t focus on beats or voices or conversations. Nothing can enter my brain from the outside. I just focus on nothing. And then I wait. I see nothing. Eventually, words come bouncing in. Remember when everyone had desktop computers and the bouncing words were the cool screensaver? Like, “Biology CP” would be bouncing around the screen in shadowed block letters? Yeah, just like that. Words come bouncing into my focus. Names. Ideas. Places. Things. The words sometimes repeat themselves. Those are the things I focus on. Those are the things that need my attention. Those are the things that are taking my energy, my thoughts…causing my anxiety, my questions, my feelings. Those repeating, bouncing words are the ones I pull out to address.
So, when I first started and had someone holding me accountable, this helped me bring topics to therapy. I would meditate, find my words, bring them to our session, and we would discuss them. Why are they repeating? Why are they important?
As my fog cleared, my meditation changed. I no longer have a therapist…just friends and you. I don’t have anyone holding me accountable. I just have a self-awareness and some good people to talk to. These days, it looks alot like prayer. I still clear my mind. Remove all outside stimuli. And I focus on nothing. The words come bouncing in and I have an internal dialogue with myself and with God or my Grandmama who I often speak to in prayer. I talk to y’all. I write these letters to y’all periodically based on what keeps bouncing in my brain. Talking it out, writing it out…it all helps to clear the fog.
So, last night while the house was quiet and I couldn’t fall asleep, this bounced around my noggin…so many things have happened in the last 3 months. Not just to me. Not just to my family or my friends. To us. Us. Big things have happened to us, around us, beside us, with us, in front of us, inside of us.
Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees.
Meditating can help with that.
Praying can help with that.
And if you don’t wanna call it that, me and my people also call it “whoosaahhing.” #heretohelp #normalizingtheabnormal