Kelly Morris is a meditation iconoclast. Sure, the uber-credentialed Brooklynite’s got a prestigious yoga and Tibetan Buddhist background, plus breath-worth skills (helpful for freaking out less), and a lulling meditator’s voice.
But she also has a few things you wouldn’t expect: a keen understanding of the bullsh!t women tell themselves, a fanaticism for frankness (super fun when talking about messed up family dynamics this time of year), plus a wicked sense of humor to help deal with it all.
We tapped Morris, whose live 7:00 a.m. weekday series The Infinity Call via Periscope ($25 per month), is guided meditation heaven. Here, she shares ways to deal with the stress-y story line that often kicks into gear when you board the plane for your family’s Thanksgiving fete.
So if you find yourself in “energetic disarray” around the people you really want to be grateful for, read Morris’ two strategies below. Or pull out your headphones, close your eyes, and “prepare for a non-thinking experiential engagement” Kelly Morris-style with her (totally free, totally awesome) grounding guided meditation. —Melisse Gelula
The Thanksgiving scenario (or, where the eff are my feelings of gratitude?)
Thanksgiving with the family. Things seem to be going smoothly enough, standing as you are with a cocktail like a knot of garlic keeping the evil away. Dinner is served. Turkey looks fine. And then… you ask your little brother to pass the salt, your arm outstretched and you watch him use it, slowly, before passing it to your dangling hand. Just like that, you are ready to burn the house to the ground.
Then Mom chimes in with something helpful like “Stop being ridiculous, Kelly. Who cares?” and you’re off and running remembering all the times Mom sided with him, how much she coddles him, really, how much more she loves him than you. You’ve always known it and now its clear as day. Forget the house, you’re taking the whole village out. Thanksgiving? What’s that? Feeling experience rather than a thinking experience.
Is it stupid? Yes. Is it ridiculous? Yes. Nonetheless, there you are, livid.
Here are two practices to help you do more than just survive your family. You’ll actually enjoy them:
The first is staying in YOUR body. Rather than playing Sherlock Holmes, sussing out the environment for more evidence that your brother definitely did that ON PURPOSE, close your eyes. Feel your body. Put your mind in your feet and feel your feet on the ground. Breath deeply. Don’t ‘think’ about your body or anything else. Feel what IS in your body. Your body is the only place that is actually YOURS. The salt is up for grabs but your body is yours. Take refuge in it.
The second is gratitude. Having to give thanks can be like having to smile for the camera on command, yeah, yeah, I’m grateful, lets move on. But gratitude is a kind of protection. Gratitude asks that you drop your story and step into the present moment. The present has no past or future, absorbed as you are in the present. He’s not your salt-hogging brother, he’s a cute, obnoxious teenager who just got his braces off last week. You’re not the uptight sister, you’re a beautiful, grounded woman with excellent boundaries who is enjoying life as it is.
How to plug into that? Morris created a special guided Thanksgiving meditation to see you safely (and super empowered) through the holidays. As she says, “plug in your earbuds and enter the inner sanctuary.” (12 minutes).