Recently I went on a 6 day online meditation retreat. Some joked that I was doing a self-quarantine, others thought I was going to be on a beach somewhere enjoying myself, and I personally was clueless about what to expect. It was over Christmas, I was away from family, friends, and all alone in my home, in Singapore. I turned off my phone, turned off the computer, and just tried to be.
Here’s my reflections and learnings that I wrote on each day of the retreat.
I will write each day in a new post. You can follow the posts on FB to read more!
Day 1, 24 Dec 2021 (AM):
The pandemic took over the world about 2 years ago. These 2 years appeared to pass in a blink of an eye for many. With working from home, many are stuck in their houses with their families, roommates, spouses, friends, or maybe alone. Each of which pose a different set of challenges.
Mental health problems for couples
You might start seeing quirks that you have not seen before and you might not like them. You might start nit-picking at your spouse, or them at you. You might have to face each other and talk about difficult topics that you didn’t want to address, or you might even realise that you have nothing to say to each other anymore.
Mental health problems for families
There might be more arguments happening, more stress, more demands. There is less space, and everyone is fighting over the TV or some space in the house. It might feel like there is no peace and everyone is trying to get into everyone else’s business.
Mental health problems of being alone
Loneliness might feel more real than ever. You might have a strong desire to connect with others but you’re afraid of going out. You might try looking for a partner or adopting a pet, just to work on that loneliness.
There are many more examples that I could give, my main point here is that everyone has their own set of struggles. However, everyone has their own set of opportunities and positives too.
For couples living together – This might be the opportunity to get to know each other better, spend time with each other, learn about the needs and wants of each party, learn how much space each other needs. It can also be an opportunity to pick up new hobbies together, to learn to communicate better, to learn each other’s love language. Many chose to start a new family together.
For families living together – For the adult child, it’s your chance to take care of your parents, to spend time with them, give them the attention they might crave for. For the parents, it’s your chance to learn more about your child, your child is ever growing and changing, how much do you really know them? You can bond better through more family activities and learn how to create space for one another
For someone living alone – This is your chance to have some quiet in your life, a chance to meditate, find peace, to be able to find out more about yourself. How much time do you spend listening to yourself and actually asking yourself, what do you want? What do you need? How can I be here for you? Pick up some solo hobbies, improve your cooking skills, exercise more, get healthy. It’s the best time for peace and just being.
This morning’s teachings made me reflect on how we choose to look at things in life. We can choose to see all the negative sides of it, complain about it, whine about it, and of course, no one will want to be around us. This then leads to a vicious cycle of feeling more alone, complaining more, and it goes on. However, what we can choose to do instead is embrace difficulty, embrace challenging situations. When we avoid something, complain about it, try to fight it, we’ll always be stuck in it. We’ll never learn how to deal with it. Yes, life will go on, but life will stay stagnant. On the other hand, if we learn to understand it better, learn the skills that are needed to get through the difficulty, create space for it, we’ll be able to move on, let go, go to the next stage.
Just like in school, if we avoid a difficult subject, just ignore it, fight it, we will fail and be stuck in the same grade. However, if we actually understand the subject, learn more about it, try some problems within it, we eventually become knowledgeable about it, tackle it, pass our exams, graduate and move on to the next challenge.
There are a lot of uncertainties happening in this world all the time. We are all in difficult situations sometimes. There’s 2 different ways of seeing things, we can either see the negatives and be upset, complain, suffer in our situation, or we can see the positives and embrace our situations, learn from it, try to understand our pain, and grow.
Life will always keep moving, we can choose to live in the moment and move forward with it, or get stuck, living in the past or worrying about the future.
That sums up day 1’s morning reflections and wisdoms that I have to share! Day 1 PM reflections will come next!