Sarah (left): Honestly, for the most part, it still goes something like this:
"I am being so quiet and still. I am going to rock this meditation."
Ego: "You're supposed to clear your mind Sarah, as in no thoughts."
"Be kind, be compassionate, quiet your thoughts."
Ego: "Yeah, but you have such productive, creative thoughts right now. Remember them for later!"
Then I try to compartmentalize my thoughts to remember them for later and move on. It's hard. I think it's supposed to be. I've been practicing meditation a few years now (very sporadically), and am just now learning to let it go. Just sit, practise being quiet, learning to let thoughts go and just sit with myself. Truly, as time goes on and I practise a bit more, I can recognize the benefits: I work my issues out, without thinking about them specifically. I bring myself back to a peaceful place, so I can begin again from there. I learn to train my thinking from being a runaway freight train of blame, drama, and anxiety to one of kindness, compassion and peace. (Now, that is a life-long lesson if i've ever heard one).
One thing I've found helpful is using my japa mala. My friend Andrea made it for me years ago. They are a set of 108 Buddhist prayer beads that predate the rosary (in fact, they are the inspiration for them, but that's a whole other history). You finger the beads one at a time, repeating a mantra in your head. It helps give my mind something to do other than wander. I imagine myself descending a ladder with each repetition of my Sanskrit mantra, Om Shanti Shanti Shanti. (om, peace, peace, peace). It takes me a while to finish all 108 beads, and sometimes, I don't. But when I do, I thank everyone who has helped me carve out this time, who has helped lift me up in a day, and go forth feeling much more like myself.
Johanna (right): My day to day life can sometimes feel chaotic and non-stop, with very little time for peace and quiet. But when I do find a quiet moment, be it while I am doing the dishes or just before my head hits my pillow, I try to become aware of my thoughts and take a moment to reflect on how my day has been. I sometimes ask God for strength, actually to be honest, I ask God for a lot of strength, almost daily. I also ask for patience, forgiveness and acceptance. And sometimes, I take a moment to show gratitude for the blessings I have in my life (this one should probably be more of a daily practice).
This week I found a moment of peace while I was making homemade bread. The very act of kneading the dough by hand was meditative, and my thoughts drifted to my children, for whom I was baking the bread for. Rolling the dough back and forth between my hands, no other noise or distractions, I looked at that moment as a chance for quiet thought and pause from the busyness of the day.
As a little girl, I often went to church with my mom , where I built a nice spiritual foundation. In my teen years, while I was going through some very difficult times in my family life, I would often attend church on my own. I felt a sense of comfort and calmness there. Now in my adult years, my spiritual understanding and beliefs have grown and changed, but I still feel the strong desire to connect with myself and greater power (I'm still working on figuring this one out). From my experience, I have found a lot of comfort in my spirituality when I've needed it most. And when I take those moments in my day to connect/meditate/pray, I often feel like a load is lifted off my shoulders.
The well-known poem by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken ends, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."
Two women, who became friends via the magic of the Internet, were both living life on roads less traveled by. Circumstance had them both live in Whitehorse for a short time, where they became best friends. Life's map has them currently in differing geographic locations, but their connection and camaraderie continue as they continue on paths of motherhood, friendship, creativity and discovery. The Two Roads Project is our effort to reconnect with each other and our inner artists on a weekly basis, each Friday. (Or thereabouts. We don't always know which day of the week it is).
Sarah writes at Cure For Boredom.
Sarah writes at Cure For Boredom.