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“I Don’t Do Meditation.”
I’ve said that over and over again. I’ve said it to clients, I’ve said it at speaking events, and I’ve said it to people who regularly meditate. Inevitably, people nod and smile and agree that Meditation is hard.
Then, a few months ago, I thought: what if the reason I don’t do meditation is because I keep telling myself I don’t do meditation? What if I tried changing that mantra? I should do meditation on my terms. So I started reading and researching about meditation and mindfulness. I started being more aware of my own breathing, and creating rituals and pauses through out the day. It has radically shifted my life… not just because of the act of Meditation, but because of the reminder that our thoughts do control our actions, and when we actively work with our thoughts, we can make real change.
So I wanted to share for all of you who Don’t Do Meditation: How I Started Implementing Meditation into my Life.
Stop telling yourself you don’t. This step sounds so simple, but has been a life changing realization. I own many books and CDs on meditation. I have TRIED meditation in the past – but always with the caveat that I don’t do meditation, and, of course, I wasn’t successful. The power of changing my thoughts was incredible. Now I say that I am ‘experimenting with meditation,’ which is totally accurate.
Changing the Rules. I redefined what meditation meant to me. Meditation didn’t have to mean breathing for 5-10 minutes in silence. Meditation could mean being fully present in the moment, Meditation could mean a walking meditation, doing yoga in the morning, or walking the dog and just being aware of my 5 senses. By taking the PRESSURE off of what meditation needed to look like, I relaxed into it and gave myself more wiggle room for change.
Implemented Small Rituals: When I woke up in the morning, I started the day by breathing and stretching. I paid attention to my posture as I sat at my desk. I noticed when I was anxiety ridden, and actively brought myself back to breathe. For some more ritual ideas click here.
Stretched Myself. I am open to new ideas and doing it wrong. The first time I walked the dog and practiced the 5 senses meditation, I struggled A LOT. I am use to multi-tasking when I walk the dog – talking on the phone, listening to an audio book, being productive… so being fully present to my 5 senses was a real challenge. More so, allowing myself the room to struggle was a challenge.
When I opened the Live Happier Loft, I decided I wanted to not only stretch the people that were coming through the door, I wanted to stretch myself, too. So, one of the first programs I created was the Hour of Happy Minds. It is an hour designed around Mindfulness. There is time for discussion and processing but at the heart of the program is 30 minutes of silence while we engage in an activity: Zen Gardening, coloring, tracing labyrinths, or using glitter jars. It is a perfect blend of engaging in an activity just enough to reduce the anxiety and engaging in silence so your mind can quiet down and you can return to center and ground in your body.
The first time that Hour of Happy Minds occurred, I was scared out of my mind! Nervous for how it would go over – could I do 30 minutes of silence, would people like it etc. But, hands down, it is one of my favorite events at the Loft. The collective energy of silence is an incredible feeling. To be fully present with a group of people is remarkable the sense of being collected and alone all at the same time. The Hour of Happy Minds happens twice a month, and I hope you will be able to join us. To register click here.
I would love to hear from you in the comments: How have your thoughts prevented you from moving forward? What are your thoughts/feelings about meditation? Do you have an active mindfulness/meditation practice?