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Finding Your Way Out of the Cave

This past weekend I had a conversation with a friend about how hard it is when we lose a beloved animal. Then I realized that because I started studying Reiki five years ago while grieving for my cat Willow, in a way I saved myself. My studies required meditating and giving myself Reiki for twenty-one days straight. Over this time, I noticed a difference in myself—I gained a sense of calm and safety, and a lot more patience for life.

Last month when the Thai boys’ soccer team was trapped by flood waters in a cave, I could barely watch the news reports because it was just too heart-wrenching and scary. I had a really strong feeling, though, that their coach must have been doing something very special to take care of the boys in that dark cave.

I recently found out that when a British dive team first found the soccer players, the boys and their coach were in the midst of meditating. I was fascinated by this and did some digging. Turns out Ekapol Chanthawong, the twenty-five-year-old coach, is an expert in meditation, having studied for twelve years to be a monk. (He stopped his studies to take care of his ailing grandmother.)

The coach led the boys (ages eleven to sixteen) in meditation regularly throughout the two weeks in the cave, which kept them calm…and majorly contributed to saving their lives. By meditating, the boys’ breathing slowed down which reduced their oxygen intake—this was crucial because the oxygen level in the cave was at the minimum for sustaining life. Had the boys been freaking out and agitated—like you’d expect kids to be in extreme situations—they’d have used more oxygen, and there would have been a whole different ending to this story.

This all blows my mind—especially when I read that at the time of their rescue, all the boys were in good spirits, pretty calm, and relatively healthy.

To me it’s just one more example of the magic of this human life—we have amazing tools within us to heal ourselves and get us through the scariest situations. Meditation and Reiki helped show me the way out of my own personal dark cave of grief. In a way, the soccer team found their own way out—and saved their lives as much as the rescue divers did.

The awesome thing about this is that it doesn’t apply only to life-or-death situations. I recently learned one of my favorite actors, Bill Hader, used transcendental meditation to combat anxiety before performing skits on Saturday Night Live, helping him be hilariously funny every weekend. So when I think of all the things I'm grateful for this week, I'm adding meditation, soccer-coach monks, and Stefan.

It’s all about the magic. 🙌

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