My Meditation Retreat
Last September I attended my first meditation retreat at Niagara Falls, NY. Led by Dr. Joe Dispenza where approximately 1,800 attendees joined for a week of daily meditation. It was a surreal experience and honestly, I was a bit embarrassed to tell my family and friends that I was attending a meditation retreat. I didn’t want to seem “woo-woo” or vain to them or to myself, for that matter.
I had been curious about meditation and mindfulness for several years, but I did not begin to meditate formally and consistently until 2018 when I took a year course by Dr. Shefali Tsabary. She taught Vipassana meditation with the group and connected the week’s teachings to the guided meditation. When I started, I thought meditation was all mental because it was about focusing my attention on my breath and releasing other thoughts. I would become frustrated when I couldn’t stop thinking and thought I could never get it right. I laugh to myself now, because it is so much more than that.
When we get past the BS, the judgment, the self-limiting beliefs, the excuses, our binds to societal expectations, and justifications of not taking time to nurture our inner world, we begin to connect to a sense of calm and strength that was there all along! Practicing meditation during so much uncertainty can bring up a ton of feelings and racing thoughts. The key is to allow them to surface and watch them dissipate. Only when we practice this, do we recognize that we are not our thoughts. That our thoughts and feelings are parts of us that come and go but, they don’t need to define us. If we abide by this, then we don’t need to be afraid of our thoughts instead- learn to recognize that they just as much as our feelings and behaviors are a means of communication that something is off or needs tending to.
I look back on that experience at Niagara Falls. An entire week focused on the science behind the mind and the brain, and how the heart and mind send signals reciprocally and inform our unique reality. My days were heavy with attunement and emotions, with positivity and curiosity. Returning home was a smack in the face of trying to incorporate that experience in comparison to what seemed like the day to day life and negativity and drabness. You know the feeling when you come home from an amazing vacation to find the desk piled up high with late work and everyone is complaining about the traffic and their problems? Now, imagine that feeling times 1,000.
Then, COVID-19 hit and all I heard was noise in my mind. Meditation was one of the only ways I could quiet my mind. It helped me reconnect back to myself and to my loved ones, my purpose, and my strength. I’m by no means a pro or a meditation teacher (yet) but it is definitely something I strive to include in my life and that of my clients. If you find yourself struggling to quiet the mind from racing thoughts and an inner critic with a loudspeaker, contact me. Together, we can sort it out, little by little to help you harness your strength.