Warning: Adult Language
Today, I struggled to seep into my morning meditation; to melt into my breath; to find just one yummy grain of peacefulness.
In between my sharp, jagged inhales and forced, abrupt exhales, I felt like a meditating failure—more like a broken yo-yo than a yogi.
My heartbeat sounded like a psychotic woodpecker. My thoughts clanged together, like a chaotic, thought-filled traffic jam, full of angry, frantic thought passengers.
It couldn’t have been a less peaceful experience.
All that cycled through my brain, over and over again, was this:
“Oh crap, I’m anxious. I need to get rid of that. I’m trying to f*cking meditate. I shouldn’t be anxious.”
Um, not true.
Just because we’re meditating doesn’t automatically mean that we’re going to hear singing angels and lap up precious pearls of peace as warm sunlight shines down on us, flawlessly.
Sure, four percent of the time, it feels like that. Maybe.
And that is beyond delicious. Those experiences are meant to be savored and kept in our heart’s pockets.
But most of the time, meditating or being present feels like sh*t. It hurts. It’s hard. It’s frustrating. It’s scary.
We feel sensations in our bodies, in our minds, in our hearts, that we usually push far, far away.
We come into contact with how we really feel, who we really are, what we’re really struggling with.
Today, I came face-to-face with my dear old friend, anxiety. I grimaced at the sight of its needy, clingy, sniveling little face.
I’ve turned away from it, millions of times before this moment.
But, I didn’t turn away, today.
Because I saw that the more violently I resisted, the more anxious I felt. Then, I felt anxious about being anxious. And then in a particularly annoying turn of events, I became anxious about “ruining” my meditation with anxiety.
Ha, mindf*ck much?!
At last, in the final few minutes of my meditation, I settled into my worried feelings—just a tiny bit. I let the unpleasant pangs of anxiety coexist with my breath. I ushered them into my heart, rather than casting them out, like orphans.
I accepted them as a part of this moment, this experience.
I accepted them as a part of me.
Goosebumps covered my body like sweet, wild honey. I felt whole—imperfect and flawed and a little f*cked up, but whole.
And I realized that sometimes, the most helpful thing we can do for ourselves, is to let things be.
Not to get rid of the seemingly “bad” things that we deem unacceptable.
Not to try to be “better” or feel “better” or have a “perfect” meditation (whatever the hell that is).
Sometimes, the most helpful thing is to honor our existence, just as it is.
I know, maybe that sounds like a triumphant collection of new-age bullsh*t.
But it’s not.
Because to honor every drop of our existence is the most courageous thing we could ever do.
To raise our coffee cups and bow down to it all:
The painful, stinging, angry bits.
The smiling bits.
The beautiful bits.
The weird, freaky-deaky bits.
The jealous, insecure-as-hell bits.
The anxious, jackhammer heartbeats.
All of it.
Maybe the broken, imperfect parts are the ones that make us whole.
Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out?
The present moment is the perfect place for that type of exploration: It’s juicy. It’s always juicy, stuffed with truth and meaning; overflowing with vivid, ripe vines of life.
It’s always available to us.
Wherever you are right now, however you feel, whatever heart-wrenching, soul-trying craziness is going on, take a breath.
Take a moment to come home to yourself.
Yes, come home to yourself—-to all your imperfect bits and pieces, and feel.
Feel it all.
Bite into this moment and feel the juiciness drip down your chin, like nectar.
Let it be.
Author: Sarah Harvey
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Flickr/Porsche Brosseau