COVID, CommUNITY, and Meditation
Never before in our lifetime, have we depended on community.
The last 9 months have given us a lot of uncertainty and given us a glimpse of the hardships of isolation. For many of us, community has given us the strength to survive the last few months during isolation thanks in part to technology which has brought us together for all things like business meetings, birthdays, milestones and just maybe a happy hour with friends.
During isolation, I personally turned to community to stay in touch with many circles of friends and to have a constant link with the help of technology with my loved ones. However, something magical also happened during isolation, I found mindfulness through community.
Meditation is something that I have had a really hard time to integrate into my life for many reasons - kids, distractions, time, work, etc. The excuses and the circumstances used to vary from day to day. Finding a quiet place in a house that serves as a shelter, school, playground and other things is hard when you have many of us living under the same roof at all times, it was and continues to be a challenge. However, in a fast paced and wired world that feels super noisy all the time, the need for quiet, stillness and peacefulness are much needed to preserve our mental health.
A few months ago, one of my Latin networks, advertised an open invitation to join a 5 am club. My initial reaction was excitement. The invitation post, talked about basing the proposed morning practice on the book by Robin Sharma, The 5AM Club, where you are encouraged to exercise, meditate and do some reading (personal growth). My reaction was met with both excitement and doubt at the prospect of starting a morning routine which was not unknown to me but rather a series of failed attempts in years past. This time, there was the prospect of being in community with many women and men willing to try a morning routine consistently and to be accountable to one another along the way.
It has been 9 weeks since the start of my 5AM Club and I am loving my morning practice. I think what I enjoy the most is that I am able to carve 60+ minutes of my day where I am in community with 30 or so women on a daily basis except for Sundays and show up for ME.
The meditation part has allowed me to enter a new self-care practice that I had never experienced before. During a guided meditation of approximately 20 minutes, I am able to quiet my racing mind from thoughts by simply going to my serene and quiet place where nothing but my breathing and the voice of a lovely lady in the group are to be heard. This soulful and spiritual human who takes us on an introspective journey for 20 minutes every morning has the ability to make me reflect and focus on nothing but my breathing and the present moment. Sometimes, this reflection has made me cry, or taken me to incredible places in my visualization exercises and simply allowed me to be with my thoughts. Attempting to describe what a daily 20 or so minutes of community meditation, has done to my wellbeing, mourning routine and self-preservation, is hard but overall it has done wonders to my mental wellbeing. It is a magical experience of sorts and a practice that would have been very different if undertaken by myself. The power of community coupled with the practice of meditation have super charged my morning routine in a way that nothing ever has. By simply coming together at a time when most of us would choose to rest and sleep in a bit more, a group of humans come together as a family to remind one another how much we need and rely on one another during uncertain times. We humans, depend on a variety
of networks that can help us with both our mental and physical health. My 5am club community has done wonders to both my physical and mental health for the last 9 weeks and has made an isolation period more tolerable. It has armed my mental health with an injection of therapeutic tools to calm the mind. It has also shown me that I am not alone. I have a community behind me who just like me, enjoy going to a quiet state of mind for 20 minutes each day looking for serenity to get them through the day. My community is everything and my community has given me the mindfulness I was looking for during the most trying of times in my lifetime.
Patricia Guerra is an entrepreneur, a wife, and a mother of two children who resides in Mississauga ON. She is a fervent advocate for people with physical disabilities and a passionate foodie who enjoys an active and healthy lifestyle.