Relax and feel good

I love the synchronicity of the universe. I am always reminded to return to the present moment. This morning I was feeling restless even after silent meditation and an inspiring message from daily reading. I decided to get some exercise and take my puppy for a bike run. As I was riding my bike down a winding country road, enjoying the warmth of the sun and the shade of the large canopy of trees, out of nowhere a shiny black car passed with a Hawaii license plate that read “FL GOOD.” Now, at that very moment, I had been listening with my headphones to a guided meditation on Insight Timer on my iPhone. The narrator of the meditation had just said in his deep and peaceful Australian voice: “Breathe in, relax and feel good.” I smiled as I recognized the connection between the guided meditation and the message of the car. I felt my body relax and I reminded myself that there is no need to be anywhere other than here, and that I do not need to escape from life, my feelings or my mind. Instead, I simply need to befriend them and allow myself to feel good, and be completely in the moment. I stopped worrying about the future and felt a stillness rise from deep within me.

Then I considered the various ways that I escaped the moment because I find it too painful, scary, unfamiliar, or boring. Netflix, food, Facebook, and focusing on other people’s problems rather than my own are ways that I sometimes cut off life and miss the present moment. Even meditation or overwork can become an unhealthy escape if I use them excessively to avoid entering the emptiness of my soul that wants to be filled with love. This pattern of escaping the painful or scary present moment started as a child. My friend’s daughter proves this point.

Yesterday, Alicia, a good friend of mine, told me that her 10-year-old daughter, Holly, is addicted to audible books. I found myself saying, “Well that’s not that bad, it’s better than videos and TV.” But, then he shook his head and said sadly, “No you don’t understand, he doesn’t even want to tell me about his day or talk while we go home from school, he just wants to enter the fantasy world.” of their stories. And a story is never enough, it always has to have more and more books. She even falls asleep while listening to them. “Then I asked her about the content of the books. She informed me that they are positive stories of fairy tale characters and heroes.” So why is it so bad? “I asked. Alice replied. quickly that her daughter was missing the precious present moments of life, friends and family and, most importantly, discovering her own thoughts and feelings.

Then I realized that he was right. Anything we overuse to get away from this reality and the present moment can detract from our full vitality, feelings, and intuition. As with Holly, while an occasional audiobook can be uplifting and fun, the addictive urge to have one after the other indicates that there is a deeper problem at hand. Alicia went on to tell me that her daughter is struggling to make friends at her new school and with the content of the material in fifth grade. The pain of loneliness and the feeling of failure are perhaps too much for Holly to deal with, hence the escape to the books.

Our minds can be very difficult places to navigate. I think maybe a survival mechanism has been built in that says, “Escape! Get out! Go now!” when our pain threshold is too high. How we choose to follow the directive to evacuate is up to us. Today, I’m more likely to go out into nature and exercise or call a friend and talk about what’s going on inside my crazy brain rather than reverting to old, outdated, or dysfunctional escape modes. Today I was lucky and chose a guided meditation to reign in peace again, and that was reinforced with an impromptu message from a passing car to feel good. When I live in the present moment, life is never too much to deal with and synchronicities can occur.

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