COVID19 has forced many of us to live in a state of chronic stress, beyond our typical baseline. For people who already hold an anxiety and/or depression diagnosis (i.e. 18.1% of the U.S. population, this worldwide crisis has been more than some can tolerate. However, this pandemic has brought about a few unusual blessings. 1)The world can now see quite clearly the socio-economic and racial injustices endured by so many, whereas prior to the pandemic I think it was much easier for the powers at be to stuff their heads in the sand and ignore these systemic issues. 2) The pandemic and the prolonged quarantine that it brings along with it offer us an opportunity to practice mindfulness; which can lower anxiety and provide the meditator with a sense of agency in a time of chaos.
After several months of pro-longed stress, I decided to create an at-home retreat that would allow me the escape that I needed to recharge. I found a cheap motel, not far from home, and I reserved the room for 4 nights. I surfed the web and I found three one-day workshops that I would work through during my stay. I also splurged and scheduled myself a massage the morning of my first day; I did this because I thought it might be more comfortable to rest in my own body in a pro-longed seated position if I could have someone smooth out the many kinks in my upper back beforehand. I packed many meals, I brought along my journals, my knitting, my painting, and my white noise machine so that I could play nature sounds throughout my stay. I participated in three meditation retreats; I’ve shared the two that I found to be most beneficial. Here was my self-imposed workshop schedule:
- Friday evening: arrive at hotel
- Saturday: “Forgiveness Workshop with Tim Burnett” by Mindfulness Northwest – live
- Sunday: Silent meditation, scheduled provided by the Copper Beach Institute
- Monday: “Mindfully Stabilizing Your Life” by OMEGA – on demand
Tuesday: head home!
While attending my self-imposed retreat, I tried other guided meditations that I found on Youtube (I completed most of these on Sunday):
I am writing this post nearly three weeks after completing my meditation retreat and I’m happy to report that I’ve managed to stick to BOTH a daily meditation and daily journaling practice. Prior to leaving my retreat, I stumbled across this meditation group that allows you to meditate with others via zoom (i.e. Monday through Friday, every hour, on the hour).
I hope that you’ll take a moment to explore some of the meditations I’ve posted here. I am looking forward to attending an in-person retreat (my first one) some time in the next year. If you haven’t tried a mindful practice before, I HIGHLY recommend it. Teaching ourselves to be comfortable with things “just as they are” during the easier times makes it a little less challenging to maintain our mental health during the most challenging times.