Dear Shannon: A Lonely Newcomer and a Mother Monk

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Dear Shannon,

I’ve just moved to a new state, and I’m feeling lonely. Should I join groups and start attending meetings? Meetups don’t appeal to me at all!

Sadly,
New In Town

Dear New In Town,

I drew a card for you and got a 9 of Diamonds. The 9 is a high card (6 is the middle), and Diamonds means money.

Tuning in, I hear that you should “focus on your financial freedom.” Dedicate these next few months to increasing your income. Save up for travel (including a flight home).

Try Reddit forums to ask specific questions about your 401k and stock portfolio. Financial planning activities feel empowering, especially to an introvert like yourself.

Always remember #YouAreGuided,
Shannon


Dear Shannon,

My spiritual practice isn’t going so well. I’m a mom raising small children and a daughter helping my elderly parents. It’s just too much.

I get really distracted when I’m meditating, and I hardly ever get time for it. My children interrupt me every time I sit down on my cushion, it’s like they know I’m going there.

Do you have some suggestions for me?

Wishing I could run away to the monastery,
Sandwich Generation

Dear Sandwich Generation,

It’s tough! Acknowledge yourself for all you’re doing as a caretaker!

There are two categories of meditators: monks and householders (laypeople). You are a householder with many obligations and commitments.

Both Eastern and Western meditation practices developed in monasteries. With some exceptions, men taught meditation to men. While teaching and practicing, monks didn’t directly care for children or parents. Some monasteries hired cooks. Or the collective of monks shared cooking duties.

When we read about meditation practices such as sitting for an hour in the morning and another hour in the evening, we can feel discouraged. We need to scale them down to “what’s possible now.”

For today, don’t even plan to sit on your meditation cushion.

Instead, stand at the sink, the gas station, or in the school parking lot. Take one full breath. Feel that breath all the way through you, from head to toe. One fully-felt breath is more effective than attempting to get to the meditation cushion, not making it, and then feeling frustrated and resentful.

This is a season in your life. An important season. Please don’t judge your householder’s practice by a monk’s standards. Monks were living in circumstances very different from yours. Give yourself a big hug and lots of credit. Please be proud of the path you’ve chosen to enlightenment.

Always remember #YouAreGuided,
Shannon


 

Shannon Walbran is an advice columnist for The Edge. A certified intuitive life coach, Shannon is based in both St. Paul, Minnesota, and Johannesburg, South Africa. Her website is ShannonWalbran.com

Send your “Dear Shannon” questions to [email protected]. All letters will be read with care, and those chosen for publication will be answered.

 

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