I considered different titles for this piece: If I Didn’t Meditate, Would I Be a Monster? Why Even Meditate If I Still Stress Out? I Give Up on Meditation.
But I don’t give up, even as I wonder, why not?
As many of you know, I’ve been on a meditation streak for some time now. And, an exciting moment happened recently. I did NOT notice the day I passed three years straight in my streak. I meditated. Like it was any other day. Then, ten days later, I suddenly thought, “Wait a minute, did I pass my three-year anniversary of this streak??”
The reason I missed it is this: The first time I saw my mother after the start of the pandemic was in late August. I hadn’t seen her for 19 months. The last day of our visit was my 1000 thday of meditation. Since then, I am reminded each day of how long it has been since I last saw my mother. I send out a wish that that day count will not get anywhere near the 500+ of our last interval.
Is it okay if I take a moment here of celebration for three years straight of meditating every-every day?
And, I had one of the worst finish-starts to a year in memory. I got news on December 21 stthat a yearlong training program I’m in was going to continue with an in-person weekend the first week of January. The email explained all the reasons for pushing back against strict pandemic regulations in Quebec, which only got stricter as the next couple of weeks evolved. And the email said that the majority of the email recipients had been consulted. Not me. I was not in that majority. Plus, I was special needs, given that I was crossing an international border to attend, and all the added risks that entails. I was not worthy of consultation. My opinion did not matter. I slipped into the vortex, a downward spiral of increasing stress.
Yes, indeed, I fueled that spiral all by myself as I contemplated all the pandemic risks. I deployed all my tools to self-arrest, including meditation. While I could alleviate some of the stress, there was a core nugget that kept moving into darker and darker corners of my psyche. My always-borderline-fragile sense of belonging had been threatened and nothing grounded me or lifted me or offered me ease.