Sunday I had the opportunity to spend the day at a mindfulness conference. It was part of the mindfulness class that I am taking and although it was not required, it was highly suggested that we attend the day long retreat as a way to move deeper into our practice. Insert an influx in my anxiety. Going to a resort, with strangers, for a full day of meditation, yeah that sounds like torture to me. But there’s a twist, this was a retreat that was to be completed in silence. Yup, no speaking. I was like, “Are you serious? I need to be quiet for hours, upon hours? But what if I have the urge to speak, what the hell am I supposed to do?” Needless to say, I was not looking forward to the retreat and I thought of a million reasons that may work to excuse me from attending, but none would stick. So I attended.
I was up at 630 AM on a Sunday morning, which is unheard of for me. I had a simple breakfast and minded my coffee intake. The last thing I needed was to be jacked up on coffee and have a case of the jitters when I am supposed to be calm and reflective. Plus, I have found that an abundance of coffee directly affects my anxiety, and much like the physical jitters, I did not need mental jitters either.
I arrived at the resort and I went down winding hallways trying to find the room where my event was taking place, all the while with the nagging voice in my head saying to turn around and go home. I really did not want to do this. I really wanted to be home. But, I was determined that I was going to face my fears and I was going to attend this event.
With the new medication adjustment in my system, an increase in my main mood stabilizer and the rescue anxiety medication still in place, my brain was more quiet, and this was truly a blessing. I was able to focus, not in the way I thought I might, in the mind is empty kind of way, but in a creative way. I took the day and thought about my creative projects, thought about my writing, and about how this retreat was going to help me.
At lunch, I was alone. And this felt odd. But I had the blanket that my daughter gifted me for Christmas and I curled up on a bench and laid in the sun like a cat. I thought about how the sun was warming me. I thought about the day. I thought about how the sun was protecting me and creating a barrier of protection around me. I was in the center of a courtyard, surrounded by strangers, under a blanket, defenseless, and I was calm and I had peace. I was thanking the universe for the peace that I was feeling as just a few days earlier, I thoroughly believed that I would never feel safe or feel peace again due to the high and elevated levels of anxiety that I was experiencing.
A big part of what I have learned about mindfulness is not having expectations, as when we have expectations we then grasp. When we grasp we yearn, and we take our focus off the breath and onto other things. I want to say that nothing profound came to me on Sunday, but I am not sure if that is accurate. I can accurately state that nothing bad happened. None of my fears came true. I was safe all day. I survived not speaking and I made it all day not having my cell phone.
I was purely exhausted when I arrived home. I napped, and then fell asleep in my oversize red chair after dinner. This tells me that much more happened inside my body than I realized. Today, something is different. The calmness is still here. My mind is still. And as shocking as it may be, there is a sense of quiet in my body, and I don’t feel the need to babble about just for the purpose of being heard.
I plan to meditate tonight. Yesterday showed me that I am or was, incredibly scared to be alone especially with my thoughts. This is something that I need to work on. T o challenge myself to be still, to be quiet, to be calm. I have this feeling, deep down in my bones that something grand is in the making and that if I am still, it will be birthed.