Meditation “Practice”

For years I have been attempting to perfect my meditation practice. I have tried several different types of mediation: Buddhist, Kundalini, walking, guided, yoga Nidra, etc. After all of these I have still felt like an amateur when I sit on my cushion. This morning I realized, it is “practice”. I don’t have to be perfect at it. There are days when I sit on my cushion and the 20 minutes passes easily with myself in the zone. There are other days when I check my timer, twice, sure I must have forgotten to start it. Some days I sit and spend the whole 20 minute thinking. Other days I am listening to the sounds in the house. It does not have to be perfect to be beneficial. I just have to keep practicing.

Some of the helpful things I have learned about mediation are:

  • We only get upset at noises we think we should be able to control. We don’t get upset at birds or wind, but family members or our pets, we think should stay quiet for us. Meditation is about being able to still quiet our mind despite someone doing the dishes, watching TV, or barking at the delivery driver.
  • The mind will think, that is what it does. It is not my job to stop it from thinking but rather to notice that it is thinking. Meditation helps us be aware of how our mind works and to notice what it is doing. By practicing with it, in a calm environment, we better understand it and can notice what it is doing in stressful situations.
  • Giving the mind something to do can help you meditate. Kundalini meditations, involve chanting mantras and sometimes performing certain movements. This can be very helpful because the mind is busy focusing on the mantra and/or the movement. It allows you to get to the mediative space.
  • No one is good at mediation when they first start doing it. It takes practice and commitment. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
  • For all the imperfect meditations I have, the ones that work are worth all the ones that don’t.
  • You have to find the mediation that is right for you. I have had amazing experiences with many different types of mediation but my favorite is sitting silent mediation. It is not necessarily the easiest but it is the one that I have the riches experiences with.
  • There are many layers to your mind. I have identified a thinker, a narrater (who thinks they have to tell me what I am doing and what I am thinking like I am not there experiencing it), there is a watcher, a judge (who scold when it thinks I am not doing it right), and back behind all these other layers, somewhere deep within, is me.
  • Making a nonnegotiable habit makes it much easier. I get up in the morning and I mediate for 20 minutes every day. There is no option to do it later. When I get up, it is time. I go and sit.
  • I feel more ground, connected, and at peace now that I have established a meditative practice.
  • Meditating daily helps with other commitments. I know that a temptation will pass and am better able to stick to my other self-care initiatives.

If you have ever considered doing mediation, do it! It is worth it. Be gentle with yourself. Practice is practice. Anything else you were practicing you would not expect yourself to be perfect. Let meditation have the same grace. Notice that the mind is thinking and come back to your breath, your mantra, or focusing on the flicker of a candle flame. Be willing to experiment with different types of mediation till you find the one that works for you. Wether you have a deep experience during mediation, you find it easier to pass on the candy bowl, or you notice how you are reacting in a stressful situation, you will know that the effort of your practice has been worth it.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find the perfect way to make meditation a beautiful part of your self-care practices. You are worth it.

Other blogs on Meditation:

9 Ways to Improve Mediation

Mediations: A Beautiful Experience

7 Mediation Myths

11 Types of Meditation

There is an App for That: A review of Mediation Apps

Are You Following Your Dreams? 7 Steps to Make Them a Reality.

I recently finished reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. This is a book about a boy who has a reoccurring dream, so he sets off to follow his dream to his destiny. The book tells us that the Universe conspires to give use what we are wanting and striving for.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
~Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

So what are your dreams? Do you know what you want? What are you doing to move in that direction? Do you notice signs, see synchronicities, or feel a ‘knowing’ that you are meant to achieve this objective? I dream to be a published author. I am already a writer and I write all the time. Emy and I have 3 books under our belts and hundreds of blogs. We have not received our publishing deal yet, but it is coming. It is our destiny. Right now we continue to move in the direction of our dreams.

Deepak Chopra says that our lives move forward through our desires. Desires are good things. They give us a goal. Sometimes desires are distractions. Shiny bobbles that look nice and cause us to believe that they will make us happy. Even when our desires may not be a part of our destiny, they are still a goal that keeps us reaching for something. Reaching for things is like exercising, the more we do it, the better we get at achieving those goals. It gives us practice at setting goals and the confidence that we can achieve them.

Here are some steps you can take to help make your dreams a reality.

  1. Know what you want – So many of us do not even have a firm sense of what we want. You cannot run a race if you do not know where the finish line is. Spend some time meditating on what it is that you ‘really really’ want.
  2. Set your goal – Often, even when we know what we want, we do not set a firm goal. Write it down or place it firmly in your mind. “My goal is to achieve this”.
  3. Do some research – Next we need to know what we need to do in order to achieve that goal. So spend some time learning how others have achieved it or a similar goal. Find out what it takes and the steps that can help you reach this goal.
  4. Put action steps in place – Make a list of the things you will do (objectives) to achieve your goal. You may even want to put dates on when you will do these various steps. This keeps you from getting distracted and suddenly it has been years since you moved towards the desired outcome.
  5. Do it – Take action and keep moving forward. The Universe loves action. Whether it is taking a class, attending a seminar, doing the research, talking to people who have done it before, or some other action step that gets you a little closer to your goal. Work your plan!
  6. Never stop believing – Our thoughts become our reality. Believe that this is your destiny and you will achieve, what it is, that you are after. Make a vision board or album. See it as if you have already achieved what you want. You want it for a reason. Feel the feeling of success, as if it was already yours. If you need help with manifesting, here is a series of blogs I wrote on the subject.
  7. Achieve – You will get there. The Universe will help you. Follow your steps and believe that it is your destiny to achieve this goal. You can and will do this. I believe in you!

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your dreams come true, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken in on Clearwater Beach, FL.

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Taking Care of Me; Step By Step

I keep plodding along trying to get to a better version of me. What can I do to improve myself a little more each day? I recently wrote a blog inspired by a friend called; How Do You Eat an Elephant or (in this case) a Dinosaur? It was all about doing things step by step to improve yourself.

Well, I put that into practice and started working towards the best me I can be, step by step.

  • I have been a Pescatarian since April 2012 – This was the first major health improvement I made. (What is healthy for me may not be healthy for you.)
  • 5 plus years of avoiding processed sugar – It does not make me feel good when I eat processed sugar because of my gastric bypass. Even more than that though, I have realized it causes me joint pain as well.
  • 4 months of intermittent fasting – I have been doing intermittent fasting since the beginning of July. There have been some weeks when I have not been focused on this or even stayed the course, but I am back solidly in the seat of intermittent fasting now and learning so much more about my eating and emotions and how they are connected. I have lost 14 pounds in that time.
  • 2.5 months of decreasing complaining Wellness is about mind, body, and soul improvements. Working towards 21 days complaint free is a way to improve my mind and soul. I did make it to day #2 once and I believe that if today keeps going well, I will make day #2 for a second time.
  • 27 days without Alcohol – Originally I only wanted to go 28 days without alcohol. I can almost taste the success of accomplishing that. Do you know what it has taught me? I do not need it and look at all the money I am saving by not having my nightly glass or two of wine.
  • 2 weeks of increased activity – 10,000 steps a day is my goal. I have made it 8 of the last 14 days. My September step average was about 5,500 steps but the last 2 weeks the average has been over 9,000.
  • 11 days without diet soda – Oddly, this has been much harder for me to give up than wine. I am making it though. Sparkling water gives me the same bubbly sensation and tea helps make up for the caffeine.
  • 7 days since refocusing on awareness of finances – Financial health is also an important part of wellness. How can we have peace of mind if our finances are giving us stress. I read Dave Ramseys book, The Total Money Makeover. I found myself inspired to refocus on getting to a place of financial freedom. I do not want money worries to rule my life.
  • 4 days of daily meditation – I was making great headway on resuming a daily meditation practice. I did four consecutive days and then a missed the next 3 days. Today I started again!

These are 9 great initiatives I took towards being the best me, I can be. If I had added them all to my routine at one time it would have been to overwhelming. Step by step additions of each of the various initiatives seems reasonable and it gives me time to get one under control before the next one is added.

What are you doing to take care of you? How are you improving your wellness? What would you like to do to be the best version of you?

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May your wellness initiative(s) be successful, as if by magic.

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