I know it’s been awhile; there hasn’t been much to share! But today I started the one summer course I’m taking: Spirituality and Empowerment. It’s the final Humanities credit I need. I’m not quite sure what to expect, where this will take me, or if I’ll even majorly enjoy it, but the first class was interesting and thought provoking.

Three days each week he wants us to meditate for ten minutes. Clear our heads, don’t think about anything, practice having a still mind. Goodness. We tried to do it in class today for one minute and it was interesting. It wasn’t as hard as it usually is, but there were still things bouncing around in there. I think for a lot of people those ten minutes will feel more like an hour.

It’s interesting because I actually used to meditate as a child. We had these three big garden walls and I would go to the top platform and sit with my walking stick and close my eyes, empty my mind and simply be aware of the nature around me. When I was ten years old we moved to a house that has a small hill in the front yard and I would take my mat or rug and my walking stick and sit on that hill for who knows how long. Then I got into middle school and high school and now I’m in college and I can’t remember the last time I took the time to sit like that. You get so busy and more concerned with other things; before I went away to college my dad gave me a rug that was much like the one I used to meditate with and told me to find time to bring it to the park and find a spot by a tree. I haven’t done that. The city’s too busy for me to think about taking or to want to take that time.

I do take time for myself – I’m an introvert – but it’s not in the same way. Today in class I was able to remember what it felt like to have a still mind, but I recognized that it’s so much harder now to clear the head. There’s too much up there. Throughout the past eight years I have definitely realized that I am a socially anxious person, and I wonder if there’s any correlation. Perhaps not! But that is what will be interesting to find out.

I’ve said before that I’m an obsessive journaler. That has been my form of meditation over the years, but lately I’ve been finding that while it is very therapeutic in some ways, it also can be a negative thing. I have done very little journaling since September (except on my travels) because now it’s begun to stress me out. It was an obsession. Something that was very detail oriented and it was no longer therapeutic for me. Sometimes it still can be, but I suppose that in those few instances I sit and write on my blog instead of in my journal.

I think being able to have a clear mind could be a very powerful thing. Some of us think too much about the past and what was, and I think that holds you back and closes you off to new possibilities. You have to be able to move on and be open to change and hidden beauty. Some of us (like me) think too much about the future. I over-think everything. We all know this. In a specific anticipated situation, I think about every possible scenario that could occur, and I go through the different turns that conversation could take. On more than one occasion I have been accused of putting on my “acting voice”. It is so incredibly frustrating. My words aren’t less genuine, but I have already had this conversation – or one similar to it – in my head, probably multiple times, which might be why my words sound “rehearsed.” It makes it so incredibly difficult to express how genuine and honest I’m trying to be when the person on the receiving end thinks I’m merely putting on an act. I cannot express how often this has gotten me into rough conversations. So in that sense, being able to have a still mind is something that could be desperately beneficial for me. We don’t know what’s to come. It will be what it will be and over-thinking doesn’t necessarily make you more prepared and worrying isn’t going to magically make things go well. Some people can keep this mindset pretty well. Others need to silence those voices and slideshows and I’m hoping throughout this summer I’ll find an easier way to do that.

Right now I’m just speculating and thinking out loud. I’ll be able to tell you more when I’ve had a couple weeks with 30 minutes of meditation.