Mercury must be in retrograde because yesterday was a mess. My coffee maker decided to go into early retirement (it’s not even a year old) so I ventured out to get a drive-thru coffee. Driving to get my early morning caffeine fix, I noticed my front passenger wheel sounded like someone was shaking a toolbox. Fine. I dropped the car off at Good News auto repair and Uber’d back home after I was told my car would be ready on Wednesday. Once back at my apartment, my landlord happened to drop by and I had dishes and boxes everywhere; great. Still trying to maintain a positive attitude and smiling through grit teeth, I jumped in an Uber to go do a story. Whilst on my way to the story, my story canceled on me. Well, they forgot to tell me that they won’t be available to talk. I had to stop myself from sticking my head out the window to scream obscenities.
In an attempt to cool down I looked up meditation and yoga classes near me. I found a class called Meditation Monday right up the street from me, and as a bonus it was free.
Traverse City’s Jovia Wellness is owned and ran by Doctor of Chiropractor Heather Rassel. Heather opened Jovia last June and wanted to offer patients a variety of health practices. The free meditation classes began earlier this year in February and are guided by Ken Scott.
Before Ken developed a meditation practice he worked a typical 9-5 job as an analyst. He didn’t believe in or understand the concept of emotional intelligence and found himself burnt out and unhappy.
“I started [meditating] out of curiosity,” Ken said. “I was an extremely stressed out individual. Working at a high profile company, 70 hours a week was not uncommon. You know, the normal grind. What we think is normal, anyway.”
Both Heather and Ken have experienced major, life-changing benefits from meditating and the two want to share the benefits with the community. Meditation is proven to have a wealth of life enhancing benefits. From lowering blood pressure to reducing anxiety, meditation is something that can benefit anyone.
“It’s like when there’s water clogging the drain,” Ken said. “You know you need to unclog it, but you don’t want to stick your hand in the water… but you’re still putting water in the sink. At some point you’re going to have to dive in there and reconcile those thoughts and let them go. If not you’re just piling stress on top of stress.”
The classes are free, but donations are accepted.
“I look at it as a way to give back to the community. It’s something that gives me joy and I want that for other people,” Heather said. “I don’t want to put a price tag on helping people experience something. Ken donates his time, so any donations go to him.”
The room used for meditation at Jovia is big and carpeted. The walls are made from heavy drapes and there are piles of blankets and pillows in the corner for people to use if they would like to meditate lying down. Ken uses low, soothing music as he vocally guides participants through a 30-minute meditation. Meditating is something that can feel tough to do at home, or alone without guidance so the class is perfect for people who regularly meditate as well as newbies.
It took me about halfway through the meditation to actually let my thoughts quiet and truly just focus on my breath and space, but once I was there it was wonderful. By nature we’re creatures that are constantly thinking, creating, worrying and wondering. To empty the mind of thought is tough and takes time.
It’s not about being perfect, it’s about taking time for yourself. After the class I worried that I probably didn’t calm myself down too much since I took so long to finally let go, but I felt surprisingly light after. I felt loose and cozy in my skin. I felt my brow crinkle unfold and my shoulders drop away from my ears. All the stress I had been physically holding from the day was gone. Mission accomplished.
Jovia Wellness hosts the half hour meditation every other Monday from 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. Feel free to bring pillows or blankets of your own, or use one from class.
The second half of my nightmare of a day actually turned out pretty great. Good News Auto finished my car early (good news, indeed) and I got to experience a great meditation with great people. Not bad for a Monday.