The busy American woman
You have been so busy in your life. You juggled work and home, partner and kids, parents and co-workers. You had places to go and things to do. Meals to cook, laundry to fold, carpools to arrange. You multi-tasked and did the best you could, but it was always stressful. Now you have to stop and gather in all the strands of your scattered attention. Bring it all back in to you—to your care, to your health, to your life.
Who knows what you’ll be able to see about yourself and your life when you take a step back from your business and your busy-ness?
Think of the fact that as of September 2017, the average American spends 721 minutes per day (that’s 12 hours!) with media—the top 4 being: TV, mobile devices, online laptops and desktops, and radio. Are you always in front of a screen, or listening to the radio? (The number of hours was calculated with multitasking in mind; if you spend an hour watching TV while surfing the web on your smart phone, that counts as 2 hours of media time.)
Dan Goleman, who wrote the book Emotional Intelligence, said: “It used to be you left work and went home. Now you’ve got your devices that follow you everywhere. The body is designed to be energetic and active and then recover. People don’t have any recovery time—there’s been this silent, invisible ratcheting up of invasion of our space.”
Well, now you have to make time to recover. And you can emerge stronger, more focused, and with new perspective on the future. The boys in the cave
One of the best ways to get through a stressful time in your life is by learning the spiritual practice of meditation. We recently witnessed an extraordinary example of this. In June/July of 2018, the world was fixated on the plight of a dozen young boys in Thailand who were trapped by flood waters in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave network with their 25-year-old assistant soccer coach. It was always dark. They had no food. They had to lick dripping stalactites for water. The youngest was only 11 years old; the oldest was 16. Needless to say, they were scared.
As we all learned after their miraculous rescue, “Ake,” the coach, had spent time in a Buddhist monastery as a novice monk after his parents and brother died. He taught the boys meditation techniques that helped them to stay calm and conserve energy so they’d use as little air as possible during the two weeks they were trapped in the cave.
Some weeks later, all but one of the boys (who is a Christian) had their heads shaved in a ceremony to ordain them as novices (Ake was ordained a monk), and they were to spend nine days living in a monastery—a tradition for males in Thailand who experience adversity. It’s considered a “spiritual cleansing” for the group, and a way to fulfill a promise to remember the ex-Thai navy seal diver that died during the rescue operation.
As one of the boys’ grandfathers said: “It’s like they died but now have been reborn.”