Checking in

I am truly grateful that I have so many places where I can check in – with friends and family and colleagues who I love and respect and who love and respect me, and who care about what is going on with me. Not just the stories of what’s happening, but the thoughts and feelings and struggles and joys that I experience as I go through days and phases of my life. When I am with a group, all of us checking in, one by one, going around the circle to each speak what is true for us in that moment, in our lives right now, and being witnessed and held by that circle, I am grateful. And even more so when I hear from some in the circle, as is often the case, that this may be the only place this person has to speak and be heard in this way.

I am reminded of how much I value checking in even beyond my usual home groups that I rely on for this, having just returned from 2 days with the Saybrook College of Mind-Body Medicine residential conference. At this conference where we hold our new student orientation, and coursework for many of the MS and PhD students in the program, there is still room for check-ins. I am so grateful that check-ins are an important part of our work, along with the serious academic rigor of the research work. The best of both worlds!

I rely on the people in my life, the people in my communities, to hold a space for me that I feel even when I am not with them. Knowing I am held in this way, I can go forth and take action in the world, and I can come into my own center when meditating and/or moving alone, and know that I am not truly alone. This means a lot to me, and I thank all of you who are part of the larger community that I belong to. Just by reading this, just by being someone I have contact with in whatever small way, you are part of the community I belong to. In my meditations, I reach out my sense of community even beyond that, to those I don’t know, those I don’t understand, those I struggle with because of actions that they take that seem to me to be harmful to the earth and to other beings who live here. But what helps me to do that reaching beyond is knowing that I have a closer community to come back to, people to check in with on the simplest levels of what it is to live. Even as simple as sharing the food that I eat every day.