Last week, I got on a plane for the first time in two years. This is a long gap in flight travel for me, as one of my joys is to explore the world, visit friends and family, plus the many work related conferences I attended and spoke at over the years. So it was a bit frustrating to feel a resistance or nervousness about something that was so second nature to me, and for a trip I was very excited about. I’ve covered this ground! Why is it different?
I realized that my “circle” contracted in some ways over these past super unique years. The circle edge got a little smaller, the things that felt comfortable to do because I kept practicing them, had drifted to the outer edge of my circle. I simply was out of practice a bit with traveling, a muscle I hadn’t used during this time. But I’m also ok with that, there are ebbs and flows in life, things outside our control, or priorities shift around (it’s not always a pandemic that gets us out of the loop).
This is where practicing awareness comes in. Knowing that I have every intention of traveling again and the invitation to start again came at just the right time for me. My heart and intuition know this. The part of me that wanted to stay within the safe, comfortable smaller circle was bringing up the nervousness and resistance. But the heart was looking at the long term game and knew I had to work through this — now or later — and now felt like the right choice for me.
Sure things were a little bit different, but not too much, but I also found more joy in it than I expected. I happily breezed through my TSA Pre-Check, delighted at all the perks that I had forgotten about. Once I got through security and found my gate, I was so appreciative at getting to travel again, I was actually a bit teary-eyed! Normally, getting to a gate, it’s just the mundane waiting. Instead, I got to have this feeling of gratitude and that was a special gift from my heart, telling me “I got this.”
I’m telling you this story because I suspect there are circles in your life where the edge has shrunk back. And that’s ok. I bet, like me, maybe there is a feeling of resistance or nervousness about getting back to something you used to love to do. It’s ok to know you are not ready to go back to it yet, and have boundaries set through self-awareness with the intention that you will get back to it at the right time for you. It is also ok when you are ready to gently work through on your time line, step by step, to resume this activity that brings you joy. Awareness of where you are on your circle of comfort provides a perspective of non-judgmental, compassionate self-awareness.
Circle Edge Awareness Meditation
Sit in a comfortable, upright posture.
Bring to mind something you haven’t done in a while and desire to do again.
Let your mind raise the various reasons why you haven’t done it. If agitation, anger, blame, or long stories arise, be aware, take a deeper breath, and ask if these are helpful at this moment. If not, let them go. Spend just 1 minute in this part.
Now switch your mind to the feelings you had in the past when you did this thing. For example, you may feel vitality, joy, happiness, accomplished, relaxed, or many other things that were enjoyable. Soak in those feelings.
Visualize a circle around you. How close is the circle? Is it a step or two away? Off a distance on the horizon? Is the edge soft or hard? What’s inside the circle, close to you? Is it a color, clarity, a texture? What’s beyond the circle? Is it different than the inside? Walk to the edge of the circle. What would you need to do to cross the edge? Maybe try crossing it for a moment. You can step back and forth. Use your breath. What happens to the edge as you do this? What shifts in your mind, body, and breath? Does your energy expand, become more inward, or some other sensation?
Spend a moment now within the circle, and breathe gratitude towards yourself for doing this exercise. Nourish yourself. Perhaps journal what you experienced and learned, and come back to this meditation periodically.