Last week, during meditation, I felt compelled to write down my little routine. I wasn’t sure why, and then all hell broke loose in D.C. Maybe I felt the urge as a way to reinforce the calm my body and mind needs right now, or maybe someone else out there can glean some sense of peace and stillness in reading this. In any case, here goes:
I begin by playing calming music on my phone and laying down with my eyes closed. I start to focus on whatever soothing words pop into my mind. Words like, “calm” or “stillness” or “peace.” I usually try to match my breathing to these words, for example: an inhale of calm and an exhale of peace. If my mind feels wild and unsettled, I try to imagine myself sitting quietly beside a river bank or standing waist-deep in a clear and gently flowing body of water. Sometimes I match my breath to my hands in the water: an inhale scoop of water and an exhale release of the water back to its source. If my thoughts feel really scattered, I’ll just imagine something completely plain, like a beige wall. When I notice myself meandering mentally, I’ll just gently guide my thoughts back to one of these places.
Once I feel like the mental “snowglobe” of thoughts has settled into relative stillness, I begin a routine of thanking and loving my body.
Starting with my toes, feet, legs, hips, spine. I express my gratitude that they have literally carried me and supported me my whole life. The way they have provided stability and mobility and independence and strength is incredible, I love them, what a miracle.
I move to my reproductive and digestive systems. I express my gratitude that they work so diligently and methodically to not only give my body what it needs, but rid my body of what it doesn’t need. I love them, what a miracle. *I send an extra special nod to my uterus, and ask it to help me prepare a safe and warm home for River, just in case that’s in the cards.
I move to my ribs, my heart, my lungs, my veins, etc. I express my gratitude that they protect and transport the blood and oxygen my body needs to survive and heal and thrive. I love them, what a miracle.
I move to my arms and hands and fingers. I express my gratitude that they help me lift and carry and work and create and express and have fun. I love them, what a miracle.
I move to my head, skull, eyes, sight, ears, hearing, mouth, taste, tongue, teeth, nose, smell, brain, nerves, mind, thoughts, words. I express my gratitude for how they allow me to sense and experience and communicate with my surroundings, with other people, with life itself. I love them, what a miracle.
And so on, and so forth. I close with one final thank you to my body, every single cell that’s ever been or ever will be, for taking care of me, and promise my body I will do my best to take care of it in return, like lay off the aforementioned Cheetos a bit more. 😉
By this time, my hands are usually noticeably tingling with off-the-charts warmth and energy, which tells me my body hears me. I sit with that energy for a few moments. Sometimes it has a color in my mind's eye...usually purple and pink and a shimmery gold or amber. (Amber is the color of my energy for real). I imagine this force of warm energy surrounding me, shielding me, attracting love and goodness in abundance, repelling evil and fear with ease.
After this, I move into visualizing and affirming a space where all my values can be cultivated and connected. I imagine a spacious home overlooking the sea. The space is safe, intimate, serene, creative, communal, familial, compassionate, and full of love...
I visualize Audrie sitting across from me on a couch in the living room. We’re rubbing each other’s feet under a blanket, talking and laughing about our days. (safe)
I visualize waking up next to her at dawn, cuddling well into the afternoon, and watching her from the bed as she steps into one of those fancy en suite showers with clear walls, stone floors, and eucalyptus smells wafting out into the bedroom. The whole time I marvel at my luck to be in total and complete love with this treasure of a human. I tell her so, so many times. She never stops smiling and tells me the same. (intimate)
I visualize the view from huge windows overlooking gorgeous sunrises and sunsets on the water. I imagine how the warm sun and the still sea and the fresh air combine to calm my nerves, relax my senses, and form an impenetrable barrier to all anxiety attacks. (serenity)
I visualize curling up in a comfy chair in my bedroom with a journal, and sitting in my home office/studio recording a new song, and hosting house concert after house concert after house concert after house concert for friends and traveling troubadours. (creativity)
I visualize my chosen family gathering around a huge dining room table for dinner, Lady Brain members gathered around the same table for an inspiring workshop of some sort (Julia Sage and Miki Vale are always there in my vision), and every last nook and cranny of the space being used for projects and fundraisers and mutual aid meetings and activism and artivism that fights for social justice and the liberation of all people. (community)
I visualize River as a little girl playing in the back yard with my sister. Sometimes my dad is there with them, or cozy in his little back apartment that resembles a small bookstore. I visualize Audrie’s teenage niece and nephew (who I’ve never met but silently witnessed grow up over the phone) sitting on barstools at the kitchen island. I’m making them a snack and asking them about school. They know me and they get to feel that I love them. I visualize rocking River in a rocking chair in the nursery. A picture of my mom rocking me when I was a toddler hangs on the wall behind us, along with other photos of people I've loved and lost. I tell River stories about all of them. I take care of everyone in this home. I take care of the memory of everyone gone. (family)
This is the point where tears well up in my closed eyes, and I just let them fall freely where they may. It’s not about the house I can only visualize but might never afford. It’s about the love and peace and creativity and communal care that grows and intertwines in one spacious home under one singular roof. It’s all love and it’s all here.
After this visualization, I focus on questions for the Universe. I ask my source things like “How can I effortlessly attract abundance and cultivate my values in this space I envision within my capacities and capabilities?” and “Will you illuminate with absolute clarity the steps I can take, the work I can create, the relationships I can develop, the ways I can serve?” and “Will you draw me toward my purpose and values?” and “Will you place glaring roadblocks in front of me and gut reservations within me if I begin to wander down a road that is not in alignment with my purpose and values?”
And then I return to the still waters of the river bank. I return to my breath, and this time, I focus on the word trust. I trust that the answers to the questions I ask will flow through the channel that connects me to the vast Universe and all other creatures. I trust that everything that comes to me will also leave me. Again, I inhale with trust and scoop up water with my hands. Again, I exhale with trust and let the water fall away.
After several more breaths, I begin to chant out loud, starting with several “Ohms” from my gut, followed by the mantra Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu from my throat. As I repeat the words, my heartbeat makes itself known as the rhythm section for this chant, traveling through my vocal cords along with the words that mean “May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”