One of my goals this year is to meditate more often. I’d begun to get into the habit back in the fall of 2017, but fell away from it before I’d gotten far enough in for it to be a real habit. I’ve followed through a number of times this January, each for a ten-minute stretch. I use Insight Timer, an app recommended to me by my friend Becca (Lost in Books), set to an ambient “Raindrops” sound. The app is free without ads and there is no talking throughout the meditation unless you ask for it, and you can set it to complete silence as well. I like the Raindrops setting because it sounds more like a river running over rocks with wind blowing through trees. It reminds me of the summers I spent out at the Frio River growing up. There’s a little series of musical notes that plays periodically which doesn’t sound like wind chimes, but reminds me of them as well.
In the past when I’ve meditated, I’ve tried to empty my mind and focus on my breath. However, last week I asked myself something that I haven’t asked in awhile: Where is my “happy place?” Where would be my ideal setting, the place where I would feel most serene. I haven’t asked myself this for a long time, because the answer has been rooted in the past. As I said back in December, though, I’ve begun to let that past go. It seemed an appropriate time to revisit the question.
To my surprise, a place immediately blossomed in my mind when I began my meditation session. I was in a screened-in porch surrounded by trees – live oaks and mesquite trees and bald cypresses, many hung with ball moss and Spanish moss. The wind was blowing. In the distance, I could hear a river running over rocks, though I couldn’t see it. The porch had wood floors covered by a large homemade oval braided rug. I sat on a comfy armchair, legs curled underneath me, a round table to one side with a book, a journal, a notebook, and a pen on it. I was in my pajamas, held a cup of coffee, and had a cat purring on the chair beside me. The temperature was warm without being hot, and there was a breeze tinkling through wind chimes. It was either sunrise or sunset – didn’t matter which – and I watched the sky transition while I drank my coffee.
The image was so startlingly clear that I could sketch it if I had any measure of artistic talent, and it was a whole sensory experience. I could feel the breeze and the steam off my coffee and the cat’s purring. I could smell the river and trees and the dewy ground outside. I could taste the coffee. I could hear water and rustling leaves and wind chimes. Even my pajamas were specific – a ribbed tank top with loose soft shorts that I could feel as if I were currently wearing them. And while it’s true that I’ve always wanted a screened-in porch like my grandmother’s (complete with oval braided rug), this particular porch was nothing like my grandmother’s. It was wholly my own. It felt right.
Back in 2015 when I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and began the KonMari process, I skipped the “before you begin” section of visualizing what you want your life to be. Situationally and mentally, I was not in a place where I could answer that question. Now, thanks to letting go, I’m starting to get into a good place to ask. Of course, I live with other people, and my idea of an ideal life will not be the same as the four others here, who will all have different ideas. But I have my own spaces in this house, and one day hope to have a place that is purely “a room of my own,” as Ms Woolf says. Now that I’ve begun to create that happy place in my mind, I have a lot more direction in reality. I’ve started on that path that I’ve found so elusive for much of the last five years.