My meditation journey from crisis management to daily practice
Last week I introduced you to the top three tools (journaling, meditation and coaching) that have had the biggest impact in helping me to become the woman I am today. I then shared an inside view of my journey with journaling since it has been a part of my life for the longest (click here if you missed it). This week I will be sharing my journey with meditation, the second oldest in my top three list. My introduction to meditation was born out of pure desperation. At the time, I was working 80 to 100 hours a week on a consistent basis. I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted and I just kept thinking there had to be a better way. I began searching online for ways to manage stress, learn how to prioritize and become more effective with time management. All very logical solutions to what I thought was a time management problem. Somewhere along the line, the Universe introduced me to meditation. After reading through the countless articles about the benefits that people receive by having a regular meditation practice, I decided it was worth a try. I attempted to start with the highly recommended 20 minutes twice a day. I scheduled time in my calendar, signed up for Headspace and quickly realized how wrong I was. Just like in running, you can’t run a marathon on the first day without a lot of discomfort and a strong urge to quit. I fully expected to be able to completely silence my mind for each 20-minute sitting and became incredibly frustrated when that didn’t happen. I began judging each meditation as a success or failure based on how many thoughts crept into my mind during the session. As you can probably imagine, I labeled myself a meditation failure through most of my early experiences. Then I began to learn that meditation is not about having a completely quiet mind. Meditation is an on-going journey in which you become an observer of your thoughts (rather than an active participant). It took a little while to let that concept sink into my overachieving brain, but once it did, I was finally able to loosen my grip on the need to achieve pure silence on my cushion. Needing to prove myself less and less in meditation, I began to notice some relief in my regular life as well. That feel good feeling would often lead me to wander away from my practice thinking I was fixed. Then I would hit another rough patch and the Universe would kindly bring meditation back into my awareness so I could start again. I continued this on and off relationship with meditation for a number of years before I finally invited it to become a regular part of my every day life. I wish I could tell you the magical shift or series of events that shifted my relationship with meditation from crisis response to daily practice. The reality is that I had to allow meditation to break through a number of protective layers I had built around myself before I could truly experience its benefits. I had to be in relationship with my practice to build my own trust muscle and that took good old fashioned time and dedication. Meditation has now been a consistent part of my daily life for about 4 years. I often start my morning with a heart centering technology free meditation before I begin my journaling practice. Most days I also drop in for a guided 30 to 60 minutes in the afternoon. Those longer meditations are my personal favorite. My most recent addition has been closing my day with a gratitude or loving kindness practice before I drift off to sleep. I find myself practicing mindfulness throughout the day and I am a huge fan of the one breath meditation (the practice of focusing on your breath for one inhale and one exhale) during moments of acute stress or anxiety. My meditation practice has also evolved into a way for me to connect with my Higher Self, Source and Spirit Guides. It has allowed me to connect with my intuition in order to receive guidance and answers to my life’s questions. In addition to helping me feel connected and supported, my meditation has allowed me to recognize the difference between my mind’s chatter and my heart’s whispers. It has also given me the gifts of grace, perspective and divine inspiration. Meditation is such an integral part of my life that I actually find myself craving it if I unintentionally miss a day or two. Whether you have an active practice or have never tried it, the fact that you are reading this right now is a sign that meditation might be calling to you. If you are looking for guided meditations and courses from a wide variety of teachers, I recommend the Insight Timer meditation app. That is the app I personally use, so feel free to add me as a friend! I will also recommend Headspace for beginners. I used Headspace exclusively for the first few years and I love the way he teaches what meditation is and how it works. If you’d like additional resources or have questions about meditation, please send me an email.
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