Surf those emotional waves and ride
You might not be able to escape, but you can meditate
Jon Kabat-Zinn said “We can’t change the waves, but we can learn to surf.”
Yes, leave the bad marriage, the wrong job, the “money pit” house. But the day will come when you cannot “leave.” There will be a pandemic and you will need to stay in your house because your life and the lives of those you love and the lives of total strangers depend on it.
And you will sit in your basement on an old zafu you have had for 25 years with the latest dog trying to crawl in your lap. And when the dog finally settles, finds her comfortable spot, and you ring the bell, the waves will pound you. They will roar in your ears and slam against you because it is February in central Ohio and there has been snow on the ground for too long, and it is too cold and you want to hop on a plane or get in your car and drive, just get the f*ck out of here. But you can’t because it is a pandemic and your life and the lives of those you love and the lives of total strangers depend on your staying home.
And you will know in that moment that your sanity depends on you sitting on that zafu, sitting as still as you can, feeling the warm dog on your legs, feeling her breath go in and out, and your own breath go in and out. And even though your legs will fall asleep from the weight of her, you will sit until the bell goes off, not moving, learning to surf those waves and ride.
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Nita Sweeney is the award-winning wellness author of the running and mental health memoir, Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink and co-creator of the writing journal, You Should Be Writing: A Journal of Inspiration & Instruction to Keep Your Pen Moving. A long-time meditator, three-time marathoner, and assistant to writing practice originator Natalie Goldberg, Nita founded the Facebook group Mind, Mood, and Movement to support mental well-being through meditation, exercise, and writing practice. She also publishes the central Ohio writing resource, Write Now Columbus. Nita lives in central Ohio with her husband, Ed, and their yellow Labrador retriever, Scarlet.