Meet, meditate, meaning, meander, music, motherhood …
This is a story about my first meditation group. Sure, I have laid in savasana after a strenuous yoga class that was peppered with spiritual messages and felt my muscles fall into the ground, thrumming after the pulling and panting of the 90-minute class, while being guided through a meditation. This has always felt very peaceful to me and enough (even though it was often done in collaboration with a to-do list repetition that I was never really able to escape, if I’m honest). But to be in a circle with women and set intentions and meditate together under a full moon surrounded by crystals and candlelight– this was a first for me.
It instantly felt unlike a usual adult-new-friendship gathering. There wasn’t that feeling of trying to find common ground, to see if you have children the same age, or schedules that might fit in a playdate next week, or jobs that carry similar burdens or stresses. There was no checklist that I find quite common on the playground since I had my first child two years ago.
“Oh, your child doesn’t sleep either? Great, let’s complain together and catch up every week to do it again.”
This meeting was different. This meeting already had a feeling of intention. We were all women – mostly mothers – there to meditate together. We knew the agenda and, mostly we were new to the experience entirely. The energy in the home was quite calm and anticipatory and ready; ready to start a new conversation, to start to tackle some of our life experiences with a new energy. I know I was very ready for it.
We took our seats on the floor and there was a plate with delicate grey ash in the centre along with candles, pencils, and paper. There was also silence and, for a change, I didn’t feel the need to fill it. The space just didn’t ask for it. We were all happy to be with each other and find a place in ourselves that was ready to take in the guide. Now, looking back, it is quite impressive – or rather, intuitive – that a group of meditation-novices were settling into their seats with patience and openness and readiness without any need to look for a social convention that might be helpful in a group of new acquaintances.
We were guided through a meditation while the full moon splashed light on our space and the candles supplemented a softness and licking to the ethereal lighting pallet. Apparently the full moon is a masculine energy (did I mention I was a novice to all of this?) and therefore we needed to complement that with our divine feminine attributes of intuition, nurturing, mindfulness, creativeness, and patience. This is the point of the meditation that triggered something in me and my life. This need for yin and yang, for complementing both energies and using them in their positive expressions.
I have been journalising recently about a disconnect to the word ‘woman’ when it is attached to my name. Could this be why? Am I working with a masculine energy and not balancing that mindfully?
Following the meditation – which, admittedly was still marred with thoughts about how Grace was sleeping, did I remember to tell Brendon I had a meeting on Thursday? Was there enough flour to make a banana bread before the bruised fruit turned from playfully punched to out-rightly mutilated? – we took time to again be silent before the next step. Again, I didn’t feel the need to fill the silence and instantly start sharing the points of stillness I found between my mind’s chatter and see if anyone else found the same struggles and successes that I did. I just sat and let it be. Let the whole experience settle in and then I let it go.
Finding meaning was to find intention (‘intention’ just didn’t fit in with the ‘M’ theme I was going for). We each took two squares of paper and were asked to write something we wanted to let go of on one square and something we wanted to invite in on the other. Our meditation guide, Meta, also reiterated the continuing theme of the evening, trust. That this circle was a place of trust and safety and that if another woman decided to share her intentions, we wouldn’t comment or discuss or share insight or opinion, we would just send quiet acknowledgement with our minds and our hearts. While seemingly a small ask, this, for me, was quite a big challenge. When I hear a friend, or colleague, or family member, or fellow park-mother tell me their story, I have a proclivity towards jumping in with advice or a shared experience, or at least an inappropriate joke. But to be quiet and just let the intention ‘be’ … this was new.
Once we started to share our little squares of insight into our lives, our small group may as well have joined to become one fused being. We were so similar and so instantaneously connected; our fears, our anxieties, our vulnerabilities, our hopes, our loves. The little squares of paper that were no bigger than a toddler’s sticky palm read with messages of loneliness, feelings of imposter syndrome, holding onto pain that had rationally passed, doubt in a creative passion, questioning worth and the strength of relationships. Burning these words with the pale fire from a tea-light candle and letting go of them while inviting in confidence, peace, learning, stability, and peace with the same ritual, was unseemingly powerful.
I asked to let go of a part of me that was no longer serving me and my path. She is brash, and loud at times, a bit obnoxious, and lead with an ego that really just drains me. She was rife in my 20’s and it is now time for me to let go of her, or at least temper her with a bit of subtly and awareness. She has the power to replace my deep thinking with surface-level issues or complaints. I let go of her in that group.
I asked to invite in a deeper articulation of my craft, nuanced expression, a succinct method to share this human experience. I invited in continued learning and a depth of creative expression. I burnt that too and it went up a lot faster than the ego square. I guess some things are just a slower burn.
There was a subtle hum of lyrics and melody throughout the evening but there were also frogs, lots of them. I could go into themes of spirit animals but I didn’t even know that a full moon was masculine energy so the meaning of frog company was not something I could contribute. Google, on the other hand, seemed to offer a wealth of knowledge on the subject. Elena Harris, on her site spiritanimal.info, describes frogs as a reminder of the transient nature of our lives. “As a symbol of transition and transformation, this spirit animal supports us in times of change,” she continues. “Strongly associated with the water element, it connects us with the world of emotions and feminine energies, as well as the process of cleansing, whether it’s physical, emotional, or more spiritual or energetic.” The relativeness of that could not have been more obvious to everyone in our circle.
What it was for me was also an awareness of surroundings and a tuning-in to a life beyond my own rush and impatience. To sit and be with whatever is offered in that moment; cousins giggling in the sand, hot nights spent eating outside, a cuddle, a drawing, the smell of onion and garlic cooking, or… a melodic frog symphony.
Five out of six of us women in the group were mothers to children of varying ages. What I found quite lovely and refreshing was that we didn’t need that attachment to form relationships or find commonality or even define our own identity. We are all women, we are all carrying things that fracture our happiness and we are all ready to let go of them and fill the space with light and love. As far as first group meditations go, I am inviting it all in. I am ready to learn and evolve.
To quickly finish off, I found a word that quite eloquently summed up this experience for me. Edification: noun // the moral / intellectual improvement of someone without agenda. To build-up, to teach. “I’ll have my edification with a side of frog music and a masculine moon please.”