Inspired by tabloid magazines (you know the ones- "Celebrities, just like us!"), we are featuring a series of local Vancouverites who incorporate meditation into their everyday. They aren't on the quest for enlightenment and they aren't lazing around- these are busy bodies who understand the importance of pressing pause every once in a while. The idea is- Heck, if they can do it, you can too.
Today, we feature Alexandra- a full time student at UBC who works part time, volunteers, and does all the things.
What got you into meditation?
I grew up going to youth group at the North Shore Unitarian Church and we always had ‘worship’ time. My favourite part was always at the end when we left the space that we used as a sacred space for people so reflect or leave in their own time. It was so helpful as a teenager for someone to lead me through an exercise of self-reflection and then to provide a space for me to sit and think or write about it in silence. At the time I didn’t think of it as meditation but now I realize that that’s exactly what I used it as!
Years later I finally made it to Moment after having a really terrible semester at school. There were so many transitions going on in my life and I was super overwhelmed. Determined to handle it better I signed up for the 3 week intro and loved it!
How do you feel meditation affects your day to day experience?
When I make time to meditate I’m a more efficient person. I thrive on being busy, but sometimes it doesn’t serve me well. My biggest fear in life is being lazy (because I know that I’m capable of it.) Anyone who knows me can tell you that I constantly keep multiple jobs and an agenda (or bullet journal) overflowing with commitment. I fill my time because that’s how I feel the most accomplished. But sometimes things slip through the cracks, and I find when I’m meditating, fewer things slip.
Your favourite time/way to meditate?
I hate/love meditation when I’m at my busiest. I know it will help but I really struggle to fully commit to making time for it. Vancouver doesn’t get a ton of sun but when we do it pours into my living room and envelops my favourite spot on our big comfy couch. I love putting on big headphones and settling in to the corner for 10 minutes to myself. I also find that doing a brain dump (usually of all the things I’m worried about) in my bullet journal helps. Writing them down on paper makes me feel like they’re taken care of for the time being so they can stop taking up space in my brain.
Tell us about a day in the life:
For as long as I can remember, Tuesday’s have been my busiest day of the week. These days Tuesdays look like a rotating combination of school, work, and shelter.
I wish I could tell you that I wake up at 6 am and start getting things done but that’s not me at ALL. I usually go to bed between midnight and 2 am so I wake up around 8, grab my smoothie from the fridge and run out the door to grab the bus. Tuesday morning I have class 9:30-11 and then I stay at school in the library for as long as I can stand to study.
My roommates and I spend a lot of time together so we often make dinner together and I eat that before hopping in a car2go to get to Shelter.
I used to really hesitate to talk about my work volunteering because I felt like it would make other people feel bad. Mainly because that’s the feedback I always got, the typical, “you’re a way better person than me!” I hated that. But I value the time I spend at shelter too much not to talk about it. I haven’t missed a Tuesday for over a year and it’s for selfish reasons: I love spending my Tuesday nights with these people. I so value that I get to switch my school and work brain off and get totally immersed in their stories. I hear about their weeks, their lives, and the conversation they had over dinner that night. I think I have a responsibility to give back to the city that I live in, and this is how I do it.