Updated: Feb 10
Meditation has been a refuge for me for a long time now, especially in the past few years with my mum dying, going through a divorce that broke my heart and the really difficult decision to step down from studio ownership. It's the practice that held me steady through everything, and the place I returned to again and again to find solid ground when there was none.
So when the pandemic began - especially right after the first lockdown, of course it was the place I ran to. As I felt the shock and impact of so much uncertainty in my own life and those close to me, I tried to imagine how this was being experienced across the entire world. All creatures at the same time. Wow. I got the sense there is going to be a tsunami of suffering in the wake of the pandemic - so much grief, loss and uncertainty - in both big and small ways. The disruption to our sense of normality and safety was immense.
I spoke to so many people dealing with depression and anxiety, difficulty sleeping and concentrating, addictive behaviours playing out as a way to cope. Kids, families, parents, leaders and teachers. It seemed the pandemic was activating deep suffering and for some people, old trauma which is mostly experienced as a reaction, not a memory.
And the pandemic hasn't happened in a vacuum. There have been all kinds of traumas and losses these past two years including the climate crisis, racial reckoning, political divisiveness, uptick in violence of all sorts. It's been vastly disruptive to people’s nervous system and hardly anyone is going to feel really safe during a time like this. And at no other time in our recorded history have so many mammals on the surface of this rock (earth!) been in a similar state of dysregulation, to this extreme, for this long.
My sense (worry!) was the size and scale of the impact was going to be great, and our mental health systems were already straining under the weight of demand prior to the pandemic. The way out needed to be beyond people going to therapy - there's going to be too much of this going on. We needed a way to support ourselves and each other - to offer a safe space to both face and work through our own difficult thoughts and feelings, and know we're ok. This is called Self Regulation.
As a teacher, I want to be a regulated presence in the room. I want to help other teachers do the same. So whether you’re wanting to deepen your practice to offer a more calming presence for your family or students (and everyone in your life), or are ready to teach meditation, know that every time you meditate you are cultivating your own solid ground and sharing that gift with the world, which is so needed right now.
So that's a big part of my motivation in focusing on Mindfulness Meditation. By increasing the number of people practicing and teaching, we’re giving them the tools to cultivate a friendly relationship with themselves - their thoughts and feelings. When they can skillfully self-regulate in this way, they are free from external regulation like drugs, alcohol, compulsive behaviours, acting or numbing out. They’re also free to extend a supporting hand to the people they love and beyond. And so it ripples out.
I believe it’s our next evolution as the human species. By becoming MORE connected to our selves, we'll take better care of ourselves, each other and the earth. I think this is the only adaptation that will help us find our way through a time where there is so much struggle, divisiveness and pain.
My hope is that we can stop some of this struggle and fighting, and come to a sense of ease and peace- not only inside ourselves and in relationships, but also actively contributing to helping the world be less reactive and living in a less defensive state. It isn't the government or businesses that will get us out of this mess. It starts with us right?
This is my hope. And I need to have hope. Maybe you do too. Deborah x
Here's what I've decided. The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for, and the most you can do is live inside that hope.
Not admire it from a distance, but live right in it under its roof.
What I want is so simple I almost can't say it. Elementary kindness