By Dawn M. Sanders
I started meditation on Sunday evenings at 7 just a few weeks ago and am loving it. It’s something I should have started years ago as a coping mechanism, with the complicated rollercoaster ride that my life often is – ducking and diving the rocks of wrath life hurls my way, often with little support. So, I thought I would share a few with you in a many series of blogs for the next few weeks – taking a breather from the political stuff.
I found the woman who has spearheaded the meditations, on the nextdoor website, as I just joined it and was trawling the groups on there. Luckily, it’s not one of those newly cropped up groups on zoom where, if you can’t get your head around the tricky technology, you are frozen out. You just contact her, register your interest as part of the collective and she sends out a reminder e-mail every Saturday – so I’ve taken to setting my alarm on Sunday evening for about quarter to 7 to get ready and settled.
Just starting with last week, she had written in the reminder message a suggested theme. It is of course anyone’s choice whether not to follow the suggestion or just go with their own thing. Last Sunday was breezy and cool, but I wanted to be outside to have some time with the elements – particularly air, as that is what was most in charge. I climbed the hill to the top of our communal gardens at the flats where I live and sat between 2 lovely full bushes I found – they gave me shelter from the cool wind, so I wasn’t even cold.
I sat on the grass, with my hands on the earth, spread my fingers apart and stretched out my legs, opening up my senses and just focussed on my breathing and appreciated each of the elements, starting with air in the east. As my Pagan roots had taught me, each element is represented within the 4 directions of the universe: air in the east, earth from the north, water in the west and fire in the south. Not forgetting the cosmos or the underworld – representing our ancestors, I just sat with the cool wind, the twitter of birds and the odd rustle from the flats below. I sat for about 20-odd minutes, cleared my little space of energy, got up and walked down the hill and around the corner to my warm flat that serves as my sanctuary.
This Week, 17 May
The facilitator reminded us on Saturday and suggested kindness as this week’s theme, how ironic given the fact I have just discovered today my card has been stolen, maxed out well over 200 quid with the contactless chip-&-pin thing, so had a long conversation with my bank to sort things out.
After an afternoon kip and sodding the cleaning that needs doing, the alarm went off, ten to 7 and time to get comfortable and ready…
It was again cool, but not as breezy as last week, but I resolved to stay in – maybe needing that layer of security after being ripped off to the tune of someone’s cheap thrills. Sitting on my bed propping up with pillows and my soft throw, I closed my eyes and savoured the cool air coming in from my open window – listening to the calming cry of the seagulls as they glided through the air. My thoughts immediately came flooding in.
I thought of all those people running around scared, being treated like dirt or social Guinea pigs by the government who, a wide consensus thinks, is sending people back to work at their own peril. I had started my Sunday morning as I always do, with a cup of tea and the observer, reading this article, I felt angry at how the workers featured in it were being treated like second-class citizens by their employers, especially the nanny, who wasn’t even allowed by her overly privileged bosses, to go to a funeral, filling in for their convenience and lazy snobbery. I thought of the ticket collector I read about last week, who had been spat at by some random passenger moving through London Victoria. She died of the disease he obviously didn’t know he carried, in a random act of disgusting slobbery. I thought of how people, including myself, who have family far from them, still don’t know when we can reunite.
I thought of the general chaos it all brought to us as a country, the UK being a more conservative play it safe society that, seemingly needed to be told what to do in time of crisis. Yet for those daring to question the narrative or mixed messages, it all seems like cautious and calculated nervousness. Whereas in my country of origin, the US, people are protesting lockdown and an infringement on civil liberties, but here it seems the opposite.
Okay so I think too much. I should probably take a break from the news, even for a day, because it wreaks havoc on my brain and doesn’t just wash over me in the way it might for some news reporter. As a journalist the need-to-know what’s going on, just takes over; I care about people and things too much – my conscientious political convictions are somewhere embedded in my DNA, they must be!
Then of course I thought of the person who snatched my debit card after I had obviously forgotten it in the card machine Friday night after leaving the One Stop. I could almost be forgiving if, the bank report of frenzied spending of my benefits money reflected maybe a desperate single mum buying a week’s groceries for her kids, but instead laid bare someone going around all the local convenience shops spending various amounts, because they were, for a time getting away with it.
Consequently, I felt angry, cheated and taken for a ride. Luckily, my bank said after the fraud investigations, it should be put back into my account. Of course it happens to anyone, but I’m always, so careful and annoyed that now I’ve got to physically get on a bus to the bank in town to get some cash which, will interrupt my Monday morning motivation and intention of sitting down at my desk and getting on with work or the other pressing matters – the inevitable to-do list or things I’m already behind on.
Kindness? I’m not a fluffy bird who can forgive someone stealing my money. In fact, where is Karma? About a week ago my neighbour was talking of having to walk to town to go and see her brother who was in some kind of bad situation. I told her to let me know if she needed anything and she asked if I could loan her the bus fare which, I thought nothing of and was happy to help – I don’t even want it back. I don’t like to walk around jaded and with a, ‘the world owes me a living attitude’ but by the same token, I’m a realist, wise to the world and not someone who is easily taken for a ride, well so I like to believe…
I ended the meditation, stood up and thought of my empty stomach and what I might eat for dinner. I rang my son first though, because what is important is I have a home and just 1 hero of a lad to be grateful for. I have a fridge full of food, electricity and integrity. Kindness? I could use a little, but I will always give it unselfishly, but not to the detriment of my own wellbeing or security.