Meditation: Calm, How to Meditate: Connected From the Inside Length: 11 minutes Where: Living Room, Michigan How It Felt: Challenging and Thought-provoking Who Joined Me: Steve & Tigre
This meditation was all about connection and gratitude.
If I just read that sentence, written by me, and didn’t know anything else about today’s session, I would think to myself, “What a perfect meditation for me! I love gratitude! My words for the year are ‘Connection and Creation’! Yes!”
(Yeah, I’m a dork who chooses words for the year. My planner tells me to do it and, as a rule, I do everything my planner says.)
However, this little meditation was actually super challenging and uncomfortable to me in my current headspace.
Let me explain.
Whenever I come back home, as I wrote about a bit in this post, I struggle. In this case, “home” is really defined as “the Midwest,” because I definitely go through this in Indiana, where I grew up, but also in Michigan, where we have a home now. (If you’re jumping in late to the blog: my hubby and I are technically long-distance. He is based out of the Detroit area and I stay in Los Angeles most of the time.) One of my biggest hurdles is that I love my family (and now, by extension, Steve’s family, especially my step-kids) so fricking much that I get sucked in. I should stay focused on my career, my friends, my life in LA, because when you get majorly sidetracked over and over again you constantly lose inertia and it suuuuucks, but I hate not being there for my people. I stress about their stresses, I think way too much about parenting when the step-kiddies have a perfectly capable father, I get sucked into whatever toxic crap is happening, I worry about if my dad is drinking, if my uncles are social distancing, if my sister knows how much I love her.
I stay up all night with my mind racing, because this is how I am. I was the parent in my family, still am in most ways, and it somehow extends to wanting to take care of the extended family, too, and all the extensions of them, because I just revert to that role. I don’t know how not to! I’ve read the books, done the therapy, gone to the groups, journaled and talked it out and meditated on it and everything you can think of. I overcame an eating disorder, learned to forgive my father and let go of anger, came to understand my mother’s mental health issues better than she does, figured out how to best care for my own mental health challenges…. but this.
How do I stop mothering? How do I let go and not worry about if my sister’s partner is an asshole or if my step-kids seem extra stressed out when we pick them up lately? How do I not completely lose myself the minute I’m back here?
I can’t compartmentalize it. I can’t separate it out. I just get sucked in immediately, and I’m gone.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have a great time when I’m home almost always. The best parties, time with family, time with my husband and kids. We do fun things and laugh a lot. It’s not torture or anything.
So, why am I telling you all this? Because this trip has made me realize (again) that this is something I need to be actively working on, because I don’t like how I feel when I’m home. I don’t like getting resentful and sulky and put out. It’s not a nice way to be.
So, to that end, I’m actually trying to disconnect myself in some ways, step back from people, build in a little space. A meditation that called on me to think about all the connections in my “web,” all the people who influenced who I am today… in my current mindset I recoiled a bit.
I’m trying to stop thinking about these people!
It was basically a gratitude exercise, for all the people connected to you who affected your life, for all the ancestors and everyone attached to that web in any way, then eventually for the plants and animals that have supported you, etc. A lot of breathing in support and breathing out gratitude. Really beautiful. It didn’t take long for my initial reaction to pass so I could lean into it.
The truth is, I am grateful for each and every person along the way who made me “me.” Just because I don’t want to let myself get sucked into my own destructive habits, that doesn’t mean I don’t love them like crazy. That’s the point. I love them so much I can’t not care about their lives!
Today is the birthday of one of my best friends in the world. We met in Chicago and eventually moved to LA together. It’s fitting that he’s been on my mind today because he’s the type of connection that’s very healthy for me. He’s always pushed me to put myself and my goals first, to prioritize what I want over making sure everyone else has what they want. He’s an artist, a driven businessman, a great husband, a positive person, fun, creative, progressive, and always supportive. We have awesome conversations about everything from politics to film to psychology to quantum physics, and he makes me laugh a lot. He’s great friends with my husband and I have a wonderful time with his wife.
In short, he is a connection that lifts me up and moves me forward, the kind I cherish. I’m lucky to have many like that, and I could probably meet many more, if I gave myself space in my world, if I didn’t always have one foot turning backwards in time. If I was present in my life and showed up for myself first.
Something to work on. I have a feeling I’m about to read a lot of books about unhealthy attachments and letting go of control…
Really, the most important thing about today’s meditation experience is that Tigre was with us, and he and Steve were adorably cuddling, and Tigre put on the best Buddha face so we could all meditate together. I died a little.
So, very happy ending.