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The Art of Saving My Bacon

Since late last year, I’ve had a non-stop whirlpool of varied physical ailments, stress and heightened worry that surely would have undone me if I didn’t have a daily life raft to grab onto.

I have a personal ritual where, at the end of every year, I take a few quiet breaths and feel into the year ahead, trying to tap into the underlying flavour of what’s in store. When I did this at the end of 2019, 2020 felt fast. It felt full and very, very fast. I got the sense that, without solid tools to keep me grounded, my head may spin out of control.

I knew I needed a stronger meditation practice. Meditation would slow time down when it otherwise felt as if life was speeding by.

In January I found myself in Bali with a Buddhist Mindfulness teacher and it was there that I solidified my daily meditation practice. It’s now a morning and evening practice for me. Sometimes there are additional meditations weaved in throughout the day, as required by the off-kilter part of me.

Just eight weeks in to 2020 and already I feel that this practice has saved my bacon and kept me afloat.

Sometimes, when I’m walking alone, I’ll even grab the opportunity for an open-eyed meditation with the intention of tethering my focus to the present moment. It’s to reign in the worrying part of me. As I’m walking, I silently label everything my attention lands on moment-to-moment. My walks may have a narrative that goes along the lines of “long grass.. wet sand.. man with shopping.. dog.. crack in the pavement.. cloud.. fallen leaves.. white car.. bad window tint.. puddle…..”

It may sound odd, but it pins my conscious awareness to right now. Without it, my action-packed imagination darts off on long tangents which are instantaneously populated with colourful detail of things that haven’t even happened – and may not ever happen. Meditation brings me back. It locks my mind in the present moment and what is actually my reality. I attach to this and this only. Still the mind.

For me, meditation slows time. It even stops time. I come to right now and that’s all there is - and I practice staying there. In that space, there is no time. There is only now. It doesn’t move fast; it doesn’t move at all. It’s only ever now. And I can handle this moment right now.

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