Teri Vance: A meditative New Year’s experience
Rather than resolutions, I typically try to set intentions for each new year. I will admit, I’m not structured around it, and it tends to take shape over the first few weeks or months of the year. This year, I’m endeavoring to increase in love — love for others and love of myself.
While self care is often interpreted as taking baths or indulging in favorite activities, I see it as more of a willingness to challenge myself to do new things and be open to new thoughts.
So when a friend asked me this week to attend a meditation with her, I was excited at the prospect. I have taken some yoga classes and sporadically joined Oprah in her meditation series, so I thought I at least had an idea what to expect.
I was mistaken.
We showed up to the meditation (I’m going to be vague about the venue as I didn’t tell them I’d be writing about my experience), and the leader outlined to us what to expect.
My friend and I were the only new ones, so I assured them we’d just follow along and not worry about protocol.
It began with the participants chanting in unison. I just observed this. I always find it interesting to witness people connect meaning to ritual. We often take our own belief systems for granted, so for me it helps to step outside of them through other practices.
So while I wasn’t necessarily meditating, I was absorbed in thoughtful reflection.
Then came the quiet meditation and during that time, I did find myself getting into the zone. I successfully imagined drawing the power of the sun into my third chakra (I may not be accurate about what we were supposed to be doing. I got confused pretty quickly).
Then I felt myself snapping out of it. It felt a lot like waking up … on the wrong side of the bed. Where before I had been nestled in a small nest of pillows, now I felt a pain in my back shooting down my leg.
I tried to talk myself out of it. Mind over matter. The pain isn’t real. But the more I tried to ignore it, the worse it got.
Then I started itching. Everywhere. My bra started pinching. I tried not to fidget. I didn’t want to disturb everyone else.
I didn’t want them to know what a failure I was. Then I started thinking what they must have thought about me. This woman walks in with plaid pants, bright purple lipstick and blue hair (a mishap from some shampoo my hairdresser gave me). They wouldn’t be surprised at all to know of my misery.
“That woman’s appearance is so loud, there’s no way her soul could be settled,” I thought they must be thinking.
“This blue hair is an accident!” I wanted to shout.
I couldn’t remember the sequence the leader outlined to us in the beginning or what the signal would be that it was over. Was it over now? Were these people just staying longer for extra credit?
Do they know “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” is on right now? Do they even have televisions? If they don’t, what do they live for?
Finally, I caught the eye of my friend who signaled with her eyes she was ready to go too. So we crept out as quietly as we could, which wasn’t quietly at all.
My husband came home to find me on the couch with a Diet Coke and the Real Housewives.
“I just need to decompress,” I said.
“Yes!” I said. “It’s brutal.”
Now I have the first mission of my New Year’s intention — before I can love myself or others even, I need to learn to be comfortable just being.
Even if it’s just for an hour.
Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.