The Value of Unwinding

Each of us needs some regular activity that stabilizes. Meditation is frequently offered as a sure bet for Americans to calm down and be centered. And for many, it is. 

I was once on that path, went to an Ashram where I sat for two weeks, several hours at a stretch, in a cross-legged position. I was guided to do a continual body scan, only allowing my attention to register any pain I was feeling when I reached that point in the scan (usually a leg or foot). After about a month of practice, I was able to sit pain-free for long periods. 

Guess what happened then? My mind resumed being just as hyperactive and ruminant as ever and I realized that sitting meditation was not my route to unwind and be centered.

 Each of us has to figure out what does the trick for us. Some people run, knit, paint, sculpt, or work with wood. Some sew, pray, do yoga or tai chi, sing, golf, or play an instrument. Many of us use a combination of outlets.

 I head for a hiking trail in the woods, preferably with the sound of running water. No surprise for those of us who worry about the environment. I relax when I see nature’s copacetic interactions. I marvel at the immense diversity of plants that all seem to get along, even help each other by providing necessary shade or water. Something softens when I see a plush bed of moss spread over a rough granite boulder or several different mosses gathering collectively. I see the fungi doing their recycling on the stumps of trees or making a secure mat for mosses and seedlings to anchor themselves.

 This morning, the path opened to a quiet pond, to well worn resting spots where others have stopped. Vireos were singing, as though keeping track of everyone who enters the woods with their call of, “Here I am. Where are you?” So there’s always a sense of belonging, being welcomed, whether it’s the vireo or the stocky frogs that pause to check who goes there.

 We live in times where the decisions we make will  impact the lives of people to come. Haven’t such times always existed? Yet, now we know that our actions impact the whole world. If we are to keep level heads and get along with each other as many roads cross, it’s crucial that we bring a clear and positive attitude to the table.

Hopefully, we’ll give priority time to whatever form of  unwinding clears our heads, keeps us awake, and energizes healthy natural interactions with each other so that we are able to share the same page in current events.

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