Meditations in an Emergency and Then Some

ibn taymiyyah

“I’ve got to get out of here. I choose a piece of shawl and my dirtiest suntans. I’ll be back, I’ll re-emerge, defeated, from the valley; you don’t want me to go where you go, so I go where you don’t want me to. It’s only afternoon, there’s a lot ahead. There won’t be any mail downstairs. Turning, I spit in the lock and the knob turns.”

“Now I am quietly waiting for the catastrophe of my personality to seem beautiful again, and interesting, and modern.”

Frank O’Hara, Meditations in an Emergency

The door slammed open and she came trudging in. Then she started talking all about her horrible day and her coughing and her overall misery. I listened to the labored breathing and the edge of frustration in her voice. Then I sighed, opened my eyes, and resigned myself to another day. My new morning exercise would have to be put on hold for a quieter time.

I’ve been searching the past couple of weeks. Searching for what, I’m not exactly sure. The answer comes to me in bits and pieces daily. But the hunt is on for something more. I’m calling on everything within my grasp to help me figure out this deep yearning I have inside of me that I can’t quite define. Enter meditation.

Ibn Taymiyyah’s quote above coupled with Frank O’Hara’s seminal work has an irony that’s not lost on me. A 13th century Islamic scholar and homosexual poet from New York in the mid-20th century don’t have much in common on the surface but it is their deeper awareness of the self brought about by observations and study of their environments or faith that strike a chord in me.  I’m not particularly spiritual nor do I follow a specific religion. I can’t even say that I’m on a journey to discover my beliefs in God or a higher power. What I can say is that I’m on a journey to discover who I really am underneath all the layers of crap I’ve been shoveling for years. And trust me, the layers run deep.

I took a step back recently from all of the modern tools that I have recently embraced in favor of a more solitary exploration. This means no Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or Instagram. Even this blog has to take a back seat while I focus most of my energy on accomplishing what I’ve set out to do. As much as I enjoy networking and connecting with people on each of these platforms, I’ve also managed to avoid a lot of the hard work that’s needed to get myself on the right path. I find myself disconnected with writing and my goals.  I still wake up everyday with a heavy heart. I still go to the same job that leaves me feeling unfulfilled. I still have the same bucket list of things I want to do but I don’t make the investments necessary to get them done. I’m still on square one and I’m tired of the scenery here. For all of my talk about nutrition and keeping our bodies healthy, I forgot the soul, and it needs nourishment too.

Meditation was one of these things that interested me but I shied away from because it didn’t seem like something I could do. I labeled it as an exercise for either Buddhist monks or that annoying author of Eat Pray Love (not a fan). Then one of my good friends started meditating and she shared her experiences with her guru, Gabrielle Bernstein, with me and how it was changing her life. All these scary words, “meditating” and “guru” and “enlightenment” sort of freaked me out. I couldn’t imagine what it would mean to embrace these things for myself or that I was even capable of taking them seriously enough to make it worth the effort. I went to a session with Gabrielle Bernstein last winter and found it interesting enough, but not something that I would extend into my daily life. Case closed, door shut.

Nine months later, here I am sitting at my desk at 6am, my eyes half closed, listening to meditation music and focusing on my breathing for as long as I can. I’m following a life coach/spiritual healer/affirmation blogger (?) and slowly allowing the words of love and encouragement to wash over me. And I want more. I want to take meditation to deeper levels and restart my yoga exercises to take in the more spiritual elements that I could never really understand before. I want to reshape my life from within by healing all the broken parts that I’ve never stopped to fix in the past. I want to forgive myself for not being everything I thought I was supposed to be at my age. I want to forgive others who have wronged me or my loved ones so that I can move forward. More importantly, I want to get to know the real me. That might sound a bit corny, but its the honest truth. There’s a person in there that I haven’t taken the time to meet and it’s time that I do.

Strip away the social networks, the friends, comforts of modern life, and even your family and then you realize that you have to rely on yourself. I feel the strength of my surrounding network each day and I am so grateful for those bonds because they keep me grounded. But it’s time for me to establish that connection with myself because I won’t always have everyone there with me. Maybe I won’t be on here as often or you won’t find me pinning random fragments of a so-called fantasy life on Pinterest for hours on end like I was doing a month ago. No more daydreaming. No more complaining. I’m putting in the investment now.

As always, keep paying it forward. And breathe deep. 🙂

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7 thoughts on “Meditations in an Emergency and Then Some

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  1. As you probably know, I am a huge fan of meditation – and I totally understand your need to step back from social media. Some of the info out there is great but a lot of it is just noise, and the noise will get in your way when what you are seeking is enough silence to find your truth.
    I am on a blogging hiatus too as you know – for similar reasons. I am looking forward to coming back refresehd, and I also look forward to reading more of your posts – when are you ready. xo

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    1. Thanks Ilene and ditto on your posts. I think I hit my limit around Thanksgiving but I kept pushing ahead because I thought I had to. Then I had to stop and ask, why? Some of my friends and I are considering taking up Kundalini yoga. Do you practice or know much about it? There’s a lot buzzing around in my head and I need to sort them out some how. As always, thanks for the encouragement Ilene. Hope your time off is giving you some well earned rest. 🙂

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  2. I understand fully your step away. I am a believer in meditation, yoga and physical fitness. Believing in yourself is the first step and you are there. You have made the first baby step. I think many of us are wondering right now what are our lives; especially since the recent hardship of Hurricane Sandy and the horrific tragedy in Sandy Hook. Me for one am with you. What is the meaning here and social media? Maybe it means living more outside the computer box and taking the break. Social media are like puppies. Who is going to take care of the puppy when we don’t take care of it. And we worry about it. You have a real puppy. Live outside the box for awhile and you may find what you were looking for. I wish you the best and look forward to hearing from you and what you have found on your search. Have a wonderful holiday time and relaxation.
    Kindly, judy {{Virtual Hug}}

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    1. Thanks Judy! I completely agree with you about the hurricane and recent tragedy in CT sparking this heightened awareness of the self in relation to our environments. We’re not all islands and as much as we try to reach out and connect, we push ourselves further away if we don’t take the time to work out what’s holding us back from a more peaceful coexistence. Meditation is not easy. Half the time I feel like I’m just sitting there with my mental checklist clicking away. But it’s SO necessary to check out right now. I miss the energy and enthusiasm I had when I first started all of this and I want to get that back. You’re always so encouraging Judy- thank you! I hope your holidays are amazing and that you enjoy every minute. Your red velvet cupcakes (with beets) are on my agenda for Christmas! 🙂

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  3. Dear Maribel, I totally understand your need to step away. It is a very good idea to take a step back and disconnect from everything and tune into yourself. I can relate to doing mindless stuff day in and day out. I hope you find some peace and rest during this holiday season. I wish you love, health, happiness and inner peace now and always. Hugs xo Eva

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    1. Thank you Eva. I hope you have a great holiday as well. I’ll still be here but just not as often. I need to reconnect with the writing and my mission statement again. Get my ducks in a row, you know? I wish you all the best for the rest of the year and I’m looking forward to catching up soon. Take care Eva! 🙂

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