Unsettled and Restless

meditation candleI am unsettled and restless these days.

Maybe with the current state of the world it’s easy to understand why, but somehow this uneasiness seems more personal.

I’m caught in the tangle of planning for the future or in looking over my shoulder to resolve old business. I’m “doing” all the right things—eating complex carbs, fruits, and vegetables. I exercise regularly—a combination of aerobic and strength training. I stay in touch with friends near and far, read good books, limit exposure to distressing news while staying informed and involved. I have a family I love, a dog, work that is meaningful. I know how to have fun. I meditate regularly. And yet I am unsettled and restless.

This morning at 5:00 after the fourth day of waking early, it occurred to me what I might be missing. I remembered the deep and abiding feeling of a weeklong silent retreat four months ago.

So rather than stay in bed and stew about my inability to sleep and my growing concern about what the pattern of early morning awakening might mean about my psyche, I quietly got out of bed and went downstairs to meditate. It was still dark and the house was completely quiet. Even the dog was asleep.

I set the timer for an extended period and listened deeply to the sound of the bell on my phone. I set my intention to find refuge, to remember the experience I had during the weeklong retreat. I didn’t simply put in my time until the sound of the three bells forty-five minutes later. I was wholeheartedly present with myself, asking nothing of myself other than my presence.

I had become so entangled in the workings of my mind that I had lost touch with the present and myself. It was a gift I had forgotten. Like finding a precious jewel tucked away in the back of a drawer—only so much better.

Claire Weiner, LMSW, RYT
September 6, 2017