I know I should meditate. My doctor and my therapist have recommend it, as well as articles and friends. But I struggle to start the habit.

It’s hard to feel productive or like I’m improving by simply sitting there. I know it’s not about instant gratification, but it’s easy to lose hope in something so subtle.

Recently, I met with Jenny, a meditation teacher here in Killarney. She talked with me about meditation and walked me through a session. It was all helpful, but it’s difficult to meditate with sadness.

Amid instructions to focus on my breath and my crown chakra, she told me to recall happy moments in my life. My mind went blank. She told me to feel them, but not get involved in the story. I couldn’t think of any story. For some reason all of my memories are colored with sadness. If she would have asked me to recall sad moments, most likely my whole life would go before my eyes. 

This concerns me. Because I don’t understand why I don’t believe I have felt happy moments. I know I have. I just can’t recall any. 

She told me to feel the love my family and friends have for me and I have for them. I can’t. I can’t feel it. It’s as if what she is asking of me is not part of my vocabulary.

Jenny said love and peace are the most powerful energies. I have never thought of peace as an energy. She said courage is extremely important. She said it’s important to practice being present. When you aren’t present, sometimes you notice – if only for a split second – that you’re not present. Then you become present. The goal is to make those moments last longer and longer because that’s where happiness is. 

I liked learning about presentness and mindfulness in the Glendalough hermitage. I am reminded of a quote I read there that is now one of my favorites:

“You can wash the dishes in order to have clean dishes or you can wash the dishes in order to wash the dishes.”


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