In my meditation yesterday on energy, I discovered how out of balance I’ve been since the coronavirus crisis began. I thought I was doing the right things— I’ve been meditating daily, going for walks with my husband, and cooking with my son (who’s with us till he begins school in fall, we hope). I’m so grateful for all my blessings. So how did I get out of balance, with what seems like a fairly mindful life?

I realized I was out of balance when I did this meditation on Energy in Four Domains. Let me back up to explain what this meditation is, before I share my insight.

The Mindfulness 2.0 program based on my upcoming book, Reset Your Mind, focuses on eight mindfulness skills to know and disrupt our defaults so we can choose actions that are fulfilling. One of the mindfulness skills is energy, defined as the ability to get things done. When we engage in nurturing activities in the four domains—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual—we feel energized and alive. But most of us tend to spend more time in one or two domains more than in others. Especially in stressful times, we revert to our default ways of acting and reacting.

When I paid attention to my energy in the four domains, I realized I was expending most of my energy in my mental room. Since the coronavirus happened, I had to pivot very quickly to move my classes online.  This means learning new skills and setting up classes in a new format. But more solemnly, as a town councilor, I am very aware of what such a crisis means to the vulnerable populations like our seniors, the homeless, and people who lost their jobs that they relied on to pay their monthly rents. All these concerns had pushed my mind into high gear.

I also make time for my spiritual domain through mindfulness. Just to clarify, by spiritual I mean anything that allows us to connect with what’s meaningful and inspiring to us. When I am feeling stuck, one of my defaults is to meditate, which is good. It helps me destress and find clarity. What I was doing was moving back and forth between these two domains—spiritual and mental. From a place of connection and clarity that I found after meditation, I was jumping off to create new classes. (Check out the free Friday sessions that I am offering in partnership with the Amherst Business Improvement District and Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce).

In the energy meditation I could clearly see how imbalanced I was. When I am stressed I get into problem solving mode and can inhabit my mind without taking a break. This default to problem-solve in my mind, along with social distancing, left my emotional domain depleted. Even though I was spending some time with my husband and son, I realized that I was still in my head, even when I am with them. Because the new classes and new technology were taking up more of my time, I was not calling my parents as much. I am not much of a phone or texting person, so I wasn’t reaching out to my friends either :(.

Seeing these imbalances, especially in my emotional domain, I’ve had a chance to reflect on ways to stay connected with people who matter to me. I am going to make an effort to reach out to people I care about. Today I did an online meditation with one of my favorite teachers, Mirabai Bush. It felt so nurturing to hear her voice and meditate with her. I am also committing to being more present when I’m with my family.

Your turn. What are your defaults under stress?

Resources to Know and Disrupt Your Defaults

Here are a few resources to help you see and disrupt your defaults that are getting in the way of living a balanced and fulfilling life:

Take this mindfulness quiz to know your mind under stressful conditions. Even if you’ve taken the quiz earlier, you could take it now to answer from the perspective of your responses to stressful conditions.

Here’s a link to the energy meditation from my online program—Reset Your Mind. If you have time, try the 30-minute meditation. I just did the 10-minute one yesterday and discovered my defaults. There’s also an energy matrix you can fill out to discover activities that nourish you and deplete you.

Join me in the full 8-week class to develop the eight mindfulness skills to reset your mind for a fulfilling life. This includes a life-time access to the online program and app.

Join me in the Free Friday Mindfulness sessions at noon.

And, please stay in touch. Let me know how you’re tapping into your resourcefulness and staying balanced in these interesting times…