When we first moved to our rock, I had an inner calm that helped me through the worst of times, even the traumatizing experience of moving out of our home of twenty one years. That calm stayed with me for a long time.
Though last year, something happened that agitated me and that feeling of serenity became as elusive as Sunday shopping on the island. Maybe it was the new neighbours, young and single, whose busy lives and comings and goings brought a constant buzz of social activity to our quiet complex. Maybe it was the constant storm watching of some of our neighbouring islands on social media. Maybe it was that general feeling of unrest at the airport when I was leaving for a trip to Canada.Perhaps it was a combination of all of the above.
When I returned from Canada at the peak of hurricane season, my agitation only grew. The entire island was on edge, panic buying, posting storm trajectories, and closing up hurricane shutters. The only thing that seemed to help me was exercising to the point of exhaustion and doing yoga. Though those seemed to work well, unfortunately the calm only lasted for an hour or so.
Even after the storm season was over, even after another short stint off island, I still felt anxious. It was affecting my health. I worried about the well being of everyone around me. It was as if my worry-instinct had been triggered and couldn’t be turned off. At my daughter’s urging, I decided to try meditation.
A year later, we’ve entered the new hurricane season and I’ve still been meditating daily. Someone recently commented on my “aura of calm.” It seems I have rediscovered that inner peace… or have I?
One thing I used to do every morning was sit on the deck, looking out at the sea with my cup of coffee. I was the first one up in the morning, and I simply enjoyed the solitude, the scenes on the sea (whether it was calm or wild), and the sounds of my fellow islanders going off to work.
Then, I started swimming every morning. I would swim before I did anything else, which meant my coffee time shifted to be with my breakfast, joined by my husband. As nice as that was – and I still do it – without realizing it, I was missing my time alone with the sea.
Now that I meditate, I find that I’m sitting outside enjoying the quiet for at least a half hour or more every morning. Only 10 to 20 minutes of this time is spent in meditation and with the rest, I’m enjoying the sea and the solitude. When the sea is wild, I embrace the energy. When the sea is calm, I relax into the zen-like vibe. Let the noisy construction site next door carry on. Let the traffic noises rush past. The roosters can crow. I am simply enjoying the sea and the solitude, no matter what.
Maybe daily meditation has helped me restore my inner calm. I also feel that I’ve reconnected with my reason for being here on this island in the first place: the sea. The sea can be inviting on a beautiful calm sunny day, luring me in for a swim or a snorkel. The dive boats going out in the morning are teasing me with what their passengers might see today.
Sometimes, the sea is frightening, powerful and noisy. I love that sea, too. Then, I become a storm watcher, and if I feel a little agitated, I use that energy. It may be meditation that has helped me to accept these feelings, so my physical well being isn’t affected. I believe it’s my re-connection and time alone with the sea that has brought back not only my inner peace, but also an acceptance that I have an inner storm.
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How do you find your inner calm when life on a rock is not so idyllic or otherwise agitating?