As a salesperson in the tech industry here in Eden Prairie, I work to manage the expectations of my customers in order to reduce the chance of dissatisfaction (a.k.a. unhappiness). We have to learn to manage our own expectations as well.
We have a choice. Always. Will this be a good day or a bad day? It’s always been up to us.
In that regard, 2020 has been something, hasn’t it? It has represented to some a time of reckoning, to others a period of atonement, to others still a very bad nightmare from which there is no waking. Ok, to most people a very bad nightmare from which there is no waking.
I admit to times where I’ve given in to these experiences, and even to some extended periods of melancholy and self-pity.
Yet, ultimately, I’ve chosen (very intentionally) to focus in on the positive which has come from this very unconventional year. After spending an initial (undisclosed!) number of weeks in a shell-shocked and wine-soaked state of grief and despair, I remembered something very important.
Something I learned years ago, and had forgotten.
Something I think I first heard from an elementary school gym teacher; I believe: “Life is what you make it.” This quote is widely attributed to the inspirational and pragmatic Eleanor Roosevelt.
And it’s true.
When were we ever going to have this kind of time on our hands? Haven’t I always yearned for more time? Isn’t time the most precious commodity? What an opportunity!
I’ve suffered from a low-level depression and chronic anxiety for much of my life. One thing I developed as a coping mechanism through the more difficult periods is the ability to accept my circumstances and adapt. To be comfortable being uncomfortable. Acceptance and surrender. This is a skill that has gotten me through an awful lot.
This is the time to stop the racing mind. Go inward. Feel the feelings. You cannot escape (not really), even if you tried, anyways. For our demons will always be there, until we face them down and consume them, absorbing them into our consciousness and then holding them gently in the heart until they no longer have power over us.
My husband and I started a meditation practice shortly after the COVID lockdown started in March. Neither of us had ever really tried meditating, but we had both always been curious. Not really knowing where to start, we purchased a subscription to CALM and began right away.
Ten months later, we are still meditating every day.
Meditation has changed our lives in very dramatic ways. It has put us in touch with something hard to describe – probably because the spirit (or, source, whatever) is by definition ineffable. But ineffable as it truly is, it is real, friends. I don’t want to preach here. Let’s just say we recommend mediation. There you go.
About 4 or 5 weeks into meditation practice, I started to think about life goals. I’d always wanted to play the piano, learn a foreign language, write a book, and paint beautiful paintings. I’m approaching 50 and, realizing that I’m not getting any younger, decided to seize the day. Again, when will we ever have this much undisturbed time on our hands?
I was absolutely shocked to discover I can paint. Really paint. I fully attribute this to the meditation practice. Painting isn’t at all what I thought it would be. I had always assumed people who painted were somehow special, better, and had talents that others would (could) never have. Now I know that we all have access to this kind of energy. Creativity is our birthright. Again, here, it’s entirely ineffable so hard to exactly describe.
I just want to share with people my experience of this understanding. It is something we all have access to. It’s free and available to every single living person. All you need is to quiet the mind, go peacefully inward, and “be”.
Is meditation easy at first? No! The monkey-mind is stubborn and persistent! But I encourage you to give this an earnest effort. Doing this consistently over time can open you up to opportunities you had never dreamt possible. As I said earlier, I do not wish to preach. I want to share this message as a gift. I want you all to experience what I’ve caught glimpses of.
And mostly I want to offer some kind of help, as I know this has been a really tough year.
After the urging of family and friends, I am very proud to share that I have decided to open an Etsy shop for my painting hobby. I never thought this would have been possible for me. I am specializing in pet portraits.
Peace and love to you and yours this holiday season. And hang in there.