We are living a moment in time that we will never forget. Our daily lives have dramatically changed in a short time and most of us are trying to make sense of this experience. We are searching for meaning, connection and moments of ease in the midst of intensity and confinement.
From the first week of “lockdown,” I had a deep urge to be of service, to connect to other women through my work as a certified wellness coach and Yoga instructor. Without overthinking, I created a virtual session from my living room in Paris and invited a group of women to join me for a guided morning meditation practice.
I am a firm believer that a consistent meditation practice can help you relate to stressful situations in a different way, build resilience and improve focus by training your mind to be in the present moment.
For many of us, our thoughts can quickly take us to the past or to the future, through mindfulness meditation we can train the mind to return to the present moment with kindness. This is key.
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
There are many different styles of meditation with different benefits. In the sessions that I have been doing during confinement, I have focused on body scan meditation, which is one of the practices that I have personally found very beneficial. This means that we train the attention by focusing on different parts of the body, noticing any sensations, always replacing judgment with curiosity. This, in my experience, not only helps to train the attention to be in the present moment but also connects to the body in a different way.
Leading these 30-minutes daily group meditation sessions has given structure to my day but it has also given me a sense of direction and purpose. I wake up and I get ready to lead this beautiful practice in which we connect as a group simply by “being in the present moment” not by “doing”.
During the past three weeks, we have started our days together, we have meditated together and we have shared brief but powerful exchanges to appreciate the practice. We have given ourselves the precious opportunity to train the mind to be in the present moment together.
This has been a safe space where we can acknowledge that there are days that emotions are high, that the mind feels restless, that we have more or less resistance to go inwards. However, there is aways common agreement: we all feel better after the practice.
As a group participant shared: “I showed up to the session feeling overwhelmed and I am leaving with a smile”.
In the second week, I opened a second virtual group at 3pm Paris time to provide another space to sit together and breathe together. The purpose of this group was to invite those women who lived overseas as far as Mexico, Brazil and the United States to participate.
Something incredible has happened. Our group has been growing little by little with women of different ages, backgrounds and countries. We are all at home, each trying to make the best of the circumstances acknowledging that some days are easier than others, and grateful for the present moment and the practice.
I cherish and savor each session, each exchange and each experience.
I am grateful for these women who choose to share these moments of their days with me. I am grateful for the opportunity to sit together and breathe together at a time when there are so many around us who are struggling.
As Queen Elizabeth said in her speech as she addressed the nation on April 5, 2020:
“And though self-isolating may at times be hard, many people of all faiths and of non are discovering that it presents an opportunity to slow down, pause and reflect in prayer or meditation. “
There is no “one size fits all” approach to living through confinement. Mediation is not for everyone but for some of us these group sessions have been a way to feel better inside as we connect to others who are going through a similar experience in different parts of the world.
Never underestimate what 30-minutes can do for each one of us. Even in the midst of intensity and crisis, find what makes you connect to purpose and gratitude in a way that feels authentic to you. Each day we have an opportunity.