When COVID hit back in March, all of us went from living fast paced lives to experiencing a standstill – some, for the very first time in a long time. We couldn’t leave our houses, go to work, go for leisure, go visit people. Hell, even going for walks in the neighborhood felt dangerous to me. We went from a world that moved so swiftly it was hard to keep track of the days (jumping from one task to another was the norm), to shuttering ourselves at home in front of laptops, phones and TV’s, and absorbing all the crazy news of the new virus that was coming out at the time. It felt like moving from one kind of anxiety to another. I personally felt the loneliness that came from not seeing family or friends for months (thank God I was living with my husband which kept me sane), or having a social network at work where our days were spent in in-person meetings and lunches and sometimes doing more talking than working. The pace at which we had to re-calibrate and readjust our lives was electric. And yet, one of the best things that could come out of it all, did. I started doing guided meditation and learning about what it meant to breathe deeply. To me, meditation had always been something that other people did who were much more in tune with their lives, had it all figured out, knew how to focus on the meditation itself and could control their thoughts. And now, I was practicing it. And once I started, the practice became easier and easier. I let my thoughts run like a river (cliche, I know). Or visualized myself on a cloud or myself as the wind. Visualizing this meant that thoughts could flow through and pass by me and that was perfectly fine and I just needed to think them and send them along on their way. Our thoughts really are a daily stream of our consciousness, and I wanted to breathe deeply through the stream and focus back on my mind. Through many of these guided meditation session, I’ve kept thinking to the image of when we were not yet born – all we could do was float around inside our mother’s bellies, and just breathe. There was nothing else we could do but just breathe. That was the only thing we knew how to do, and the only knowledge we came into this world with. And so knowing how integral breathing is to our very being helped me a lot too. It’s totally okay for me to think while meditating. It’s okay for me to have days where I’m trying to concentrate on my breathing and yet the only thing coming in my mind is one thought after another, like train carts speeding by. Because even on those kinds of days, I still take in deep breaths, inhale a delicious amount of oxygen into all my cells, and let out all my tension through the exhales. And that itself, is more than enough on those days. From crisis, came purpose. And permission to slow down, to just do the one thing that matters more than any other thing – to take some time in my day, to just breathe.
About the authorI'm Shaista. Most of you know me as Shai. I'm back to work on this blog/website which I started many years ago but let go due to life happening. But now I'm back and willing to let my creativity have a platform on this little slice of the internet. This baby is my Sunday Morning project as that's pretty much the only time I have to read/write in the week. Let's see how this pans out.
Browse through, look at the pictures in the Gallery, read a post or leave a comment. And remember to take a deeeeeep breath at least once a day (we don't do enough of that!) Hope to see you on my page again soon!