Meditation Is For You, Too
"It's the most simple thing but so hard"
I’ve been meditating every day since last summer and it has been a remarkable addition to my life. Both in terms of the actual shifts such work inspires, internally — making one less reactive and at the mercy of emotions, particularly fear. But also in terms of how meditation has given me cause to show up every day for myself, even though I don’t want to; most every day I do not want to meditate, not at all. Even though this has been the hardest 10 months of my life, personally. Not to mention the state of everything else.
I have been continuing on with the same 30 minute practice every morning: 20 minutes of JournalSpeak and 10+ minutes of (self-compassion) meditation, as prescribed by Nicole Sachs. (I wrote about all this in a previous installment of this newsletter.) I meditate in a wooden chair, facing the eastern skyline. Sometimes after I finish, first light has appeared through the spruce and aspens.
I wanted to share this podcast episode from Nicole Sachs about her own meditation journey, which in many ways mirrors my own. I encourage you to listen to this if you’re somebody who’s like: ‘yup I hear you that meditation would be good for me’ and ‘nope I could never meditate, never ever.’ That was definitely me, for twenty-ish years.
She does reiterate a bit of advice that also worked for me, which came from a friend a few years back. I’d been complaining to him about how hard it is to meditate. Maybe especially if like me you’ve got a really loud head — and mean. My friend encouraged me to do it every day, just try. Just five minutes, he said.
I do think that daily bit is key. Whatever mindfulness-type-shit you do, do it daily. Whether it’s a short yoga class or just five minutes of sitting in the dark with your breath. I use the app Insight Timer and recommend it. Whatever you do, do five minutes today, and tomorrow, and so on.
It’s been awhile since I wrote one of these newsletters. I’ve been avoiding doing so, both because I’m very occupied with writing this book, but also I’ve been considering what to do given what’s happened related to Substack itself (aptly summarized here by Grace Lavery, whose book just arrived in the mail. I’m excited to begin it, someday when I again read books that aren’t the research-for-the-book-I’m-writing books).
In general it’s frustrating being a trans person in this world and on this internet. Hatred of trans people is popular. It’s monetized. It’s legislated. It’s fucking bad. So, yes, I’ll maybe move this (small, free) newsletter but right now I don’t have the energy to figure it out or deal with it. It’s annoying when yet another tech company doesn’t care about trans people and then trans people have crap added to our to-do lists as a result.
I did quit Twitter a month or so ago, meaning I am at last not on social media. As I’ve probably said at some point, I had taken a four-year break from personally looking at Twitter because of not wanting to deal with transphobic trolls (which, predictably, did surface after I published a book and came out). Then last summer, for reasons, I re-engaged with Twitter. Logged on. Let it flow through my brain. I tried to enjoy it again. I could nonetheless feel how the platform only added stress to my body and soul. Every day another trans woman was being piled on. Every day Chappelle or Rowling or some other proudly transphobic celebrity was yet again trending. I find it so dispiriting, as a trans person and a journalist, to have had to make this sort of choice. But I don’t want to have to bathe in transphobia in order to do my job, to fulfill the vague social pressure (as a sometime member of the media) to be on Twitter. So! I’ve decided to not hang out at that particular party anymore.
I’m exhausted. I’m busy. Writing a book. Continuing to deal with a whole gigantic life-altering situation I haven’t described to you yet (but I will, eventually). And planning a garden. Maybe starting first seeds under lights this weekend.
That’s my What’s Helping Today: Preparing to plant first seeds.
And meditating of course. Today and tomorrow and on and on.
I am sending you my very best, especially if you are endeavoring to do tough stuff like practice meditating every day even when you don’t wanna, even when the internal weather is very bad, and the world, too.
p.s. Speaking of people on Twitter being jerks, I loved this episode of Cancel Me, Daddy with a researcher who’s studied why people on Twitter are jerks.
p.p.s. My recent podcast obsession is Maintenance Phase, which debunks health and wellness bullshit. Super fun.
p.p.p.s. What’s helping you today? I do love hearing from you all about what’s helping today or about whatever else you want to share. Feel free to write me. I can’t reply to all email I get but I do read everything, and will try to respond when I can.