Searching for Self in This Time Outside Time

  • June 10, 2020
  • Wendy Levin-Shaw, LCSW

[ Editor’s note: The WPFC blog posts every 2 weeks – “Searching for Self in This Time Outside Time” was written on May 14, 2020. Still the search for self is always important, and during this time of high emotions and concern perhaps even more so. ]

I am sitting in my bedroom, the day before my daughter’s birthday, the day before we go into Yellow in my county in PA. It is hard for me to focus. I have heard many say that over the last several weeks.

The objects in my room call to me: books on a shelf to my left, the messy surface of my old, scarred dresser, the unending headlines on my news App, my email site – are there any emails that have come in in the last 10 minutes?

I decide to meditate.  “Just don’t do something, sit there” –  to paraphrase something I once heard a meditation teacher say.

I find sounds from the ocean on a phone app and set the timer. The sounds keep me from hearing the banging of my husband as he cooks in the kitchen beneath me. He bangs his wok and his kitchen tools, thinking it makes him a better chef, or maybe it’s just fun, or his way of making music. So I mask those big sounds of his as we try to get along during this unending period of being together.

The sound takes me to the ocean, my body calms down and breathes to the rhythm of the waves. I escape from the confines of my room, my house, my county, and the corona virus.  And I recall the movement of the waves, the warmth of the sun, the birds as they walk or fly or dive, orienting around this grand body of water, their life source.

I cannot get on a plane or a train. I do not yet feel safe even traveling to visit family members, whom I have not hugged in what seems like a long time. But I can be here and allow the waves to carry me away and free my mind from the restrictions imposed to prevent contagion. I can reclaim myself by staying put.

We inevitably respond to stimuli – to the people, to the environment, and to what is going on inside of us. But as we relax, our minds open up and allow us to think more creatively. I hear the message that where I am right now is not threatening.  I can just be.  I can enjoy the meditation,  allowing my mind to focus on the breath for sustenance and grounding, in this time outside of time.

Wendy Levin-Shaw, LCSW
WPFC Faculty Member

6 Replies to “Searching for Self in This Time Outside Time”

  1. This read like a meditative prose for me. A thoughtful illustration of process – of turning down the volume on ‘content’ in order to see bigger in the smaller and just ‘be’ with/in it. And navigating to the information that one finds important, not just the other way around where content/information tells, explains, advises about what’s ‘important’. Wow. Thank you for sharing your thinking and the experience. A lot to think about here.

    1. Yes, Allison, that was the effort. Even more so now, as the volume gets louder and more compelling. I try to determine what is important to attend to – in order to listen well, understand more and seek to define myself in the midst of it all.

  2. Dear Wendy, I so appreciate your clear writing and message. It resonates in my Third Eye. Made me laugh to imagine Eddie playing his wok! Thank you for sharing. Peace-love

  3. Thank you Wendy for this beautiful reminder of a simple and profound way to calm: sit, breathe, and connect mind and body to the ground of our being…our unique self.

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