There is a woman that lives in a cute little cottage on a hill. The cottage over looks the sea and contains a lush little garden in the back. The woman is old and wise and kind. She is soft and beautiful. She has infinite patience and she loves me so so much. I visit her every day and she is always happy to see me. Inside the house it is always cool and soothing. It smells faintly like lavender and chamomile and fresh air. We sit on a big comfy chair together. I talk and talk. And she listens. She nods and smiles and sighs at all things I have to say. She never interrupts and never offers answers or advice. Sometimes she asks questions and her questions always lead me to new insight. Sometimes, when I am feeling particularly low, she takes me by the hand and leads me to a room in the house- sunny, bright and empty but for a lone chest that sits in the middle of the floor. The chest is big and ornately carved. In it lives all my riches. She invites me to sit and look at them, touch them, take them out and feel them. What is in there? My children. My grandchildren. My mother. My sister. My family. My friends. And so much more. it is overflowing. This is my Hope Chest. This old woman is there for me to lay all my burdens at her feet. And I do. My worries pour out of me and pile up on the floor in front of where she sits. They turn into shimmery balls of light and when I am done, when I am empty of my grief, despair, dashed dreams-she gathers them up in her arms and we walk outside together. She smiles at me and asks me if I am ready to let them go. I always say yes. She releases them into the blue sky and we stand together and watch them float away. She has ultimate compassion for me. I stay with her for about 5 minutes.
I have a simple bracelet that I wear all the time. It is a bracelet made out of small wooden beads. There is a small silver charm in the shape of a lotus flower that dangles from it. I don’t think that there is anything special, sacred or even meaningful about this bracelet. It is a tool. I use it to keep track of the words I say over and over. A mantra, if you will. I have two and they are not deep or profound. The first of them is this: Thank You. That is all. Over and over, I state my gratitude for all the blessings in my life. To whomever or whatever is out there, I give thanks. I start at the first bead beside the lotus flower and I move along and each bead gets a declaration of thanks. I stop when I get back to the lotus flower. My second go round the bracelet find me repeating this: Help Me. That’s right. Life is tough and complicated and sometimes scary. I need shoring up. I need reminders that I am ok. I need help from whomever or whatever is out there. I spend about 5 minutest with my bracelet, going round and round. Thank you for helping me. Help me more.
The last part of my meditation is actually the part that is the simplest but yet the hardest for me. I sit. Be still. Just be. Breathing and paying attention to my body and what I am feeling. Sometimes it feels like all I am constantly doing is reigning in my thoughts; bringing them back to centre. Focus on breath, forget about focusing on breath, bring it back to breath. This is so very hard for me. I practice it for 5 minutes.
And then I am done. I do set a timer. And I use music to “set the mood”. I put a sticky note on my door so my kids don’t barge in. It says Meditating. Do Not Disturb. And by and large, they don’t. I turn the ringer and all sounds off on my phone. I make sure I am comfortable; not too hot, not too cold, that the room is a little dark and off I go. Lots of people will think this is not a proper way to meditate. It really doesn’t matter to me. I figure I’m good as I make a deep connection with my inner wise woman. I express gratitude and ask for help and try to be still while sitting with my breath. If that’s not meditation, I don’t care what is. This practice (and it IS a practice) helps me so much; to keep perspective, to not sink into despair, to be the eye of the storm in my sometimes chaotic life, to know that no matter what- my inner self is good, strong and always there for me. It’s 15 minutes of medicine.