Question 9 of 52

What is your favorite thing to do? How do you feel when you work on this activity?

I don’t think I have a favourite activity. I think I have a top five. My mind flits from one thing to the next depending on my needs and mood of the moment.

  1. Meditate – I begin each day sitting in silence for at least 30 minutes. When I need to postpone it for later in the day my brain doesn’t function as well. It is as if I skipped coffee. After meditation, thoughts are focused, feelings are calm and peaceful and I have a general confidence that I can do anything.
  2. Reading – I read anywhere from 45 – 50 books a year. I prefer character driven stories. I can relate better to women authors than men, but will read both. If the book doesn’t capture me by the first chapter I will likely not stick with it. I read more fiction than non-fiction and if I had to choose between TV/Visual Media and books, books win.
  3. Baking – I love the tactile nature of baking. The feel of a well kneaded bread, the smell of excellent vanilla, the mouth feel of silky custards and creams and the taste of perfection when they all come together. My favourite thing to bake would be cookies but a great loaf of bread is up there. I love a good baking challenge. This past Christmas I received two cook books. Duchess Bake Shop by Giselle Courteau and Dessert Person by Claire Safitz. I am slowly making my way through all the recipes. French patisserie techniques are so satisfying when you get it right.
  4. Travel – specifically standing in or sitting beside the ocean. This doesn’t mean I like a tropical beach holiday – I don’t. I like a west coast rainforest stormy ocean best. More specifically, Tofino, British Columbia and Chesterman Beach. When I need to recharge, I stand in the ocean and let the waves wash away my woes. It rejuvenates me and is the first thing I do when I arrive. The hubs goes off exploring while I stand in the water for hours before dinner. I cry, I laugh and let the water welcome me back.
  5. Deep conversation – This happens most days before dinner. My children and I chat about books, art, politics, science etc. They are both well read and bring insightful thoughts to the conversation. It is a relief to not have to talk about people or things, the type of conversation many people chat about. Deep conversation with others is something I am always looking for and rarely find. When I find it, I treasure it.

If I had to pick one thing from this list, what would it be? A vacation in Tofino while attending a baking workshop with deep conversation and a great book after standing in the ocean while meditating?

If only one, meditation would win because of the way it balances my life and brings me peace. But all the others are tied for second.

How about you? Do you have just one thing?

Stay healthy friends!

Silence

Have you ever sat in a room or outside and heard absolutely nothing? I have a couple of times. Once was at my acreage after a heavy snowfall. It was below -30 so the snow takes on a dense quality. I was waiting for my ride so I sat on the half log wall and waited. I was dressed in a one piece snow suit and felt relatively toasty warm. It was getting dark so the birds had stopped any chattering. There is a smell and sound to dense snow. It seems to absorb sound. It was perfect silence.

The other time I was walking through a forest in northern Scotland. Pine or spruce, I can’t remember. The needles had fallen off every tree. I had never seen a completely dead forest before. No birds, no animals no other trees or plants. Just a deep floor of needles and bare trees that seemed to go on for miles. It had the same sound as the cold winter evening I experienced. Dense and complete silence. Only this felt spooky. I could feel the death. In Winter I feel the hibernation. Here I felt death.

After spending months with my family, my son said, “No offence, but I am introverting hard and would like you all to go away for a holiday.” Me too, but the places I would prefer to go have just had large outbreaks. The second wave has come and I don’t trust others enough not to share the virus. So I stay home.

I needed to go into work for a meeting on Friday. I have been back to work five times since March 17. The place is like a ghost town. My employer has graciously allowed me to stay home because I am high risk. But this past week everyone was sent home again as a preemptive attempt to protect employees and their families. It has been decades since I worked for an employer who cared this much. It is comforting and feels a bit like loyalty. Something I haven’t felt in decades. At any rate, this place was silent. Almost as silent as the spooky forest. It felt eerie without anyone there. Then I had my meeting and I was loud as usual and disturbed the only four people on the floor. It was too quiet anyways. I drove home in the silence of my car. I didn’t listen to anything. I needed silence.

I miss silence.

I am surrounded by my family – which is great – but also not great. I miss having the house to myself.

In June I was supposed to go to a meditation retreat. I really feel like I missed out on some me time by not going. My next vacation is in November. Obviously I am not going anywhere. (Sorry son of mine). I think I will plan a mediation retreat in the sanctuary of my bedroom. Spend a day or two in silence. Honestly that sounds as good as winning the lottery. Spending the balance of the week reading and writing, sounds like an actual mental retreat. After 8 months of high stress I think I need it. I bet you do too. Bubble baths, good books, meditation, and maybe a day to bundle up and sit outside in the dense snow.

It sounds like self-care. Something I bet we all need even though self-care for you might look different, you still deserve it. Be good to yourselves and stay healthy. I am rooting for you. Try silence and see what you think.

Solitude

I can lie in bed catatonic for hours staring into the ceiling half expecting it to open up and show me the sky. I can sit for hours staring out into the garden just watching bees and birds flit by. The last time I did this, it was the dark time and I was severely depressed. I recognize I am not depressed. I do recognized that I am mentally tired. I think we all are. We just handle it differently.

For me I go through long periods of time not talking. I look at people, I smile and nod but words don’t form as thoughts to express. This makes work hard. I was in a meeting last week and was supposed to talk about an idea I pitched. I couldn’t string together a coherent thought – or at least I couldn’t in a way that I would prefer. I just did what I was capable of in that moment. I made myself a script for my next meeting, I think its called coping. I am tired of a lot of things. The dumpster fire going on in the country to the south of us, the angry hostile way people behave when required to wear a mask, the fascists’ extremes our provincial government is taking to privatize the province and stuff money in the pockets of their pals. I am tired of people dying needlessly.

But mostly I am tired of people complaining about living.

Living is a privilege.

You have an obligation to care for yourself. My body has moved into self-care mode.

I went for a walk yesterday morning with my pal Cap. We went to three different locations looking for solitude without luck. I came home, made lunch and went to my room and closed the door. I laid on my bed in silence. I understand this is a form of meditation. Thoughts didn’t penetrate my brain. I was present. I decided to do a rotation of consciousness. This is a Reiki practice where you focus energy to every part of your body. Eyes, ears, brain, lungs, liver, ribs, knees, etc… you get the idea… on a rotational basis. This relaxes your body and is part of the Yoga Nidra practice. Your body sleeps and your brain is conscious. I recognize my body sleeps because I hear it snoring. But being in this state is like sleeping for four hours when you have just been in this state for 30 minutes. It is incredibly refreshing. I recommend this to anyone who is tired. It takes practice and having a recording or someone to talk you through it is important. Calm that monkey mind. I stayed in this state for 90 minutes. Clearly my body and mind needed the rest.

Other forms of self-care are also important. For me not watching the news, talking about dumpster fires and focusing on my surroundings is self-care. Using my diffuser with essential blends is an instant relaxation sensation. It calms my brain and releases tension from my shoulders. Baking can be a form of self care but I am too tired to do it right now so I read. Although lately, reading makes me sleepy so I listen to audio books. Hot showers and letting my hair dry naturally feels like luxury. I am grateful for the quiet in my home. Half of us are introverts and need quiet too. The stresses and strains of the world have become a bit much for all of us, so remember to take time for yourself.

I am at the part in Eat Love Pray, where the author is living in Bali. She mostly walks or rides her bike, eats and meditates. It is the holiday I fantasize about. Being alone for four months without obligations. Not giving to anyone, not taking from anyone, just being. Sleeping when I need it, being creative when the spirit moves me, answering to no one and most of all not working on a project that was forced upon me. I want this. I want autonomous solitude. Not forever, but for a little while – like a month.

What are you doing to care for your tired mind? I recommend visiting Jana Roemer on Insite Timer or her website for Yoga Nidra mediations. Hang in there friends and stay healthy.