It was quiet in my car, except for the occasional whoosh of a passing car and the distant hum of a leaf blower. I was sitting, eyes closed, breathing in the driver's seat. And then, the silence was broken:
“Ommmm. Ommmm. Ommmm. Shanti, shanti, shanti.”
I surprised myself by saying that out loud. I opened my eyes and the world was still there. I was still there. I looked down at my phone and saw that I had another minute and a half left on the timer.
I promised myself five minutes. I gave myself three-and-a-half.
My mind has been fully in the driver's seat for the past month or so. I've been working hard on a lot of projects and efforts, and as I'm wont to do, I've detached myself from self-care.
But in those moments in my car, I focused on just connecting with myself and letting my monkey mind go. Certainly, snippets of songs were flowing through my head. Things to do. But then I found a connection with myself. And it was hard to reconnect with that part, because it felt... kind of new again. My “should” parts showed up. “You should do this more often. You haven't been doing enough. You haven't been enough.” Then another part piled on, and saw this as a Huge Setback: one where I reverted to being more connected with my brain and my analytical mind than my body and my emotions – really, my self.
I saw that as a problem, and parts of me wanted to solve it immediately.
What if, instead, I just... let the moment be, and give these feelings space to exist, and be, without judgment? The part of me that wants to fix things, that wants me to be a certain way, has a lot of power in me and it's been that way for a very long time. It floods my mind with “should” thinking. I should be doing this, I should be doing that. So what if I say, “No, it's cool, I've got this?”
Moving to a place without that judgment requires understanding, patience, and compassion.
I certainly understand why that part of me wants these activities and thoughts and words to be just so – it's because of a fear of being perceived as “weird.” Patience? I'm good at it with others, less so with myself. That comes from my long-seeded desire to please others, to get others' approval.
Compassion is the hardest. (I've certainly written about it before – here, and here – so this is not something unfamiliar to me.) In these moments, it's a lot easier to say something or type something than soak it in and believe it. Parts of me want those changes to happen instantly and get really impatient and restless when they don't. And in those moments, it's easier for me to come up with plans and schedules and tick things off of lists in lieu of just confronting those emotions, with compassion, and letting them know that everything is cool. So, I fall into schedules and plans and lists and what's ahead in my day.
But in those brief minutes I had with myself, that reconnection happened. Schedules faded away. Lists fell. Worrying about the future was absent. Thinking about the morning was gone. And I found the compassion to reach out to myself.
So when I heard that chant, when I said those words out loud, I was surprised – because I had found my self. And I had something to say.