Saturday, August 02, 2008

Feeling it (everywhere)...

Tonight I facilitated a session on stress management and relaxation for teenagers who are doing a summer Independence program at Ryerson University. Having participated in the same program seven years earlier, I had a bit of heads up on what to expect. We talked about what stress is, how it is caused, and the purpose of stress. After going over positive ways to cope with stress, meditation came up and I knew a relaxation CD was coming. When the same CD was played seven years ago, I couldn't stop laughing. The idea of closing one's eyes and being still trying to connect to oneself seemed so airy fairy and dumb. Being surrounded by peers made it awkward and uncomfortable to "let go" and "be present" as the dude on the CD says. It all seemed a bit silly.

I'm still a meditation skeptic. It's not something I regularly do. Tonight though, my opinion changed.The experience was insightful. Being older, maybe I appreciate being able to relax, be silent, sit still, and surrender. Now, unlike seven years ago, I understand that life is full of demands, anxiety and mystery. If we can take half an hour to reconnect with who we are, maybe it's not such a crazy activity. I actually liked what the meditation instructor was getting at - that the simple reality that we are breathing shows us that our bodies are working as opposed to being unproductive. There was a real emphasis on focusing on now and that we are exactly where we are meant to be, a comforting thought in stressful times. The CD outlined feeling your body from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. When we got to, "feel through your genitals," I laughed. Maybe I set a bad example for the participants, but isn't laughter a stress reliever?