By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
Recently, I joined a group on Facebook dedicated to improving an individual's health. It’s ironic, really; quarantining in the interest of health has somehow brought out the worst habits in me. I binge-watch TV. I snack on candy. I barely get 5,000 steps in each day, and I quit my gym. “We encourage each other to do better,” my friend reminded me about the group as I clicked the join button. It was filled with people advocating for meditation. Yet another friend of mine often reminds me of the benefits of meditating; she does it every day.
So when my editor assigned me to try out the Meditation and Mindfulness, hosted by the Dover Town Library, I was ecstatic; it felt like checking off another box off my list of ways to do better. On Thursday, December 10, I logged on to Zoom to try out meditation for the first time.
Certified Meditation Instructor Amy Rutledge started out the week’s session by telling all attendees that they may want a journal on-hand during the half hour. “You don’t have to, but it’s something I like to do because you might be surprised with what comes up. You might want to make note of things so that you can move forward and have that to look back on,” Rutledge explained.
After everyone was settled, Rutledge began the meditation. “Just take a moment to release any thoughts or plans,” she started. As she spoke, I could feel myself begin to calm down. After coming off of a high-stress day, I could feel some of my worries slip away immediately. Slowly, Rutledge guided participants through relaxing, step by step.
In the middle of the session, Rutledge asked a range of questions to help attendees think. “What do you want to leave behind in this new year? What would you like to let go of? What is no longer serving you? Maybe it's limiting beliefs, or habits, or addictions. Things that are no longer serving you on your path of life,” said Rutledge. At this time, all I could think about was something my mentor said to me along the same lines. I keep limiting myself for no reason, and I need to get past it.
These questions were followed with an equally important one. “What would you like to keep in the new year?” I scribbled down my thoughts, filling the page with hopes for 2021. “I make peace with where I am today, and know that I am on my way to even better places,” Rutledge said.
By the end of the session, I felt lighter and my mood was completely flipped. For the first time in weeks, I went right to sleep without a problem. I went into Meditation and Mindfulness harboring the belief that meditation wasn’t something that worked for me. But 2020 is the year of new things, and perhaps that is the biggest lesson I took away from my meditation session: to trust myself and try new things.