By Steve Garbarino
“Don’t Just Sit There!” implores the title of healer, meditation leader, musician, and best-selling author Biet Simkin’s 2019 book. In the midst of the coronavirus surge, it’s a shout-out that seems more relevant than ever. “Don’t mope—cope, and carry on,” are her words of advice.
From her California outpost, sequestered with her newborn child and husband, Simkin, 40, an anarchist in the calm storm of her occupation, is candid as only she can be. After all, her path to rock ’n’ roll meditation guru involved overcoming heroin addiction and one catastrophe after the next, from houses burning down around her to the tragic loss of a child soon after birth.
As the coronavirus spreads throughout the world at an alarming rate, people are realizing that “we all could die at any moment,” says Simkin. “I was already very present with this idea.”
In her guided meditations, she offers specific breathing exercises to help people access and work through their emotions. One technique, out of the Kundalini yoga playbook, involves lifted arms and a pumping of the diaphragm, called Kapalbahti. “If your arms are hurting, keep going!” she urged a group of Purist staff and readers over a recent at-home Zoom conference. “Meditation isn’t some soft, cozy bullshit. It’s hard work to get to a sweet end.”
Below are some of her top tips on getting through this challenging time:
- Write gratitude lists. At least 25 things a day. It’s a small writing meditation, but it’s important at a time like this to shift our focus to all the things we love and are grateful for. It’s crazy how much there is, like even if we can’t go workout outside, we can breathe, we can see, we can smile.
- On that note, breathing. Just take moments through the day to stop all you’re doing and take three yummy breaths.
- Divide your attention. This is a tool from my book that offers easy meditation while you do anything whatsoever else. Here is how it works. With one attention, do something. With another attention, focus on yourself, like a filmmaker, and see yourself (with your imagination) doing that thing. So regardless of whether you are making eggs, taking care of your kid, or eating popcorn, you can do this meditation. It’s from this place that we can begin to question who we are and start turning into our highest version of ourselves. In my own life, I transformed almost all my bad habits by simply using this tool.
- Ask in your daily ‘asking’—a non-religious form of prayer—‘What is the gift inside this shutdown for me?’ Keep asking, and see what answers come. bietsimkin.com