April is a big month for me. It holds my birthday and my sober date, both of which I look forward to like a little kid counting down the days. I get excited about the longer days and warmer weather and relish the unpeeling of my winter layers. This year, April is also the first month in which I will hold a local workshop and gathering for sober women in the Durham, NC area and also when I’ll be launching into my second business venture. It’s a whole bunch of big happenings and big emotions all wrapped into a tiny pocket of the year.
It’s a lot of transition.
I’ve spent the last two weeks looking forward to a group meditation practice on Friday. The timing seemed so perfect; the first Friday of the month and right after my birthday felt like such a perfect opportunity to launch myself into the adventures ahead. I sent my day blissfully thinking about how I’d spend my evening on the mat and how free I felt after last month’s gathering. I showed up, ready to settle into a quiet place and reflect and release. Except… I couldn’t.
I couldn’t get comfortable laying on the floor as we began. It was like the front of my shoulders were connected with a rubber band, keeping the backs of my shoulders from ever touching the floor. The cozy shirt that I love so much was suddenly itchy and my hair just didn’t feel right pulled up and out of the way, even though letting it down felt less right.
As we were led from the grounding practice into our meditation, I tried to focus on all of the things that I was grateful for, starting with being there. I wanted to slow the roll of restlessness that I felt.
It’s funny how I can look at it now and see the irony of going to meditation and actively choosing to resist the message that I was there to receive. The more gratitude I tried to muster, the bigger the welling in my chest got.
Girl, you need a grieving list.
As soon as the words came to me, so did the tears. And they just. kept. coming. I let them.
I’ve spoken a lot about how I credit gratitude with saving my life. There was definitely a lot of other work involved, but being pointed in the direction of gratitude is what strengthened my faith and swept the path for me to move forward. I can’t imagine a time when my gratitude list won’t be a part of my daily practice. Today, though, I knew that the parts of me that weren’t budging were going to need more than a daily dose of grateful grease.
I am grateful. I am also very aware of the amount of change I have gone through, especially over the past couple of years, and that I’m actively asking for more. You can be grateful for all of the things that have been created and still mourn the things that were lost. I had so many things that I hadn’t said goodbye too. Of course I was restless.
Anyone who has physically moved knows this process, the one where you decide which boxes stay and which boxes go. When my husband and I moved out of our last house, we had boxes in our garage that hadn’t been opened in the whole four years we’d been in our house. Four years of collecting dust and taking up space. We knew those boxes wouldn’t come with us; we let them go.
It was time for me to free up this space also. I cried for things that I thought were behind me and things that still felt fresh, each one getting its own time to be seen and released.
I finally cried over the loss of one of my dearest and most cherished friends; a relationship that I pumped full of selfish, jealous, and self-righteous indignation during the time of her greatest joy and then eviscerated with cruel, silent, and intentional absence when she was faced with the unimaginable loss of her beautiful baby boy. I mourned the end of my short teaching career and all of the things that I thought it would be, that I would be, but wasn’t. I grieved my relationship with my parents and felt my sadness for bonds that are so painfully absent.
I know that there is more and, like gratitude, I welcome it openly and lovingly and even eagerly. Grief will only let you ignore it for so long. It will burrow and dig and grow and bubble and still eventually make its way out. It’s not like gratitude. Gratitude needs light to grow and multiplies when we share it. When we don’t take time to recognize the things that we are grateful for, our capacity to see them and appreciate them lessens. Grief grows in the dark and begins to dissipate when we give it light.
As we move into spring, with beautiful sunshine, warmer days, and beautiful blooms, take a moment to think about the parts of you that need to be held to the light and released. Allow yourself the space to sit with those parts, to see them and acknowledge them, and grieve them as needed, then let go.
I’m a huge fan of Kundalini chanting meditations. Here’s one for letting go that you might enjoy too. Carve out a quiet time, chant along if you choose, and let it come to you. I recommend keeping your journal handy too!
Do you have a favorite “spring cleaning” meditation? Please share it with us in the comments!