Meditation for Real People

I recently wrote about getting a good, quality, night’s sleep, and in that article, I mentioned meditation (something that helped me-the chronic, lifelong, insomniac) get some rest. I realized, shortly after posting the article, that the word “meditation” often gets a weird response. Some people envision dancing hippies, or cultist beings, while others just laugh in confusion and discomfort. So, today, in deep respect to the idea and concept of meditation, I’d like provide a little education and info!

Meditation has been a part of my life for a very long time. It took me a very long time to realize that, when it is a regular part of my routine, my life seems calmer and easier to navigate. When I get away from it for long periods of time, I inevitably come back to it after finding myself stressed, exhausted, and very ungrounded. Life gets chaotic, and for me, having 4 teenagers in the house, homeschooling them through graduation, and being very active in their activities and sports should have been a perfect time to practice lots of meditation-but I abandoned it in the crazy schedules! After the last child graduated, and I ventured to the beach for early pandemic, I found my routine again, and it was life changing. It is now a daily routine for me, if only for 10 or 15 minutes.

My youngest, now 20, called me inquiring about meditation a few months back, something I found to be quite fascinating because it’s so not “him”. He was having trouble turning his mind off and getting a decent amount of sleep, and had tried many of my suggestions with little relief. I had suggested meditation several times, but it was his number 1 quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, who put it into his head. Rodgers spoke about discovering yoga and meditation during an interview, explaining why meditation has become an important part of his daily routine: “Finding time, without the TV on or the phone, to sit in silence is healing”, he said. “To be able to quiet your mind and have intentions and focus on the things that are important to you and kind of drown everything away. We live in a world where we’re just constantly being distracted and we need stimulation.” This spoke to my son, and he began a journey of meditation to quiet his mind, and ultimately, better sleep and a clearer head. (Thank you, Aaron!)

Basic meditation is simply about finding stillness, quieting the mind, and calming the body-and who doesn’t need a little of that in our lives?

There are so many science-based benefits of meditation! Literally, many of the daily anxieties, mood swings, stressors, and aches and pains most people experience can be lessened or removed by a short daily practice of meditation.

Benefits include:

*Focus and redirection of thoughts

*Generates a positive mood

*Helps with habit building

*Develops discipline

*Helps with pain tolerance

*Promotes stress relief

*Controls anxiety and feelings of anger or fear

*Promotes emotional health

*Enhances self awareness

*Lengthens attention span

*May reduce age related memory loss

*Generates feelings of kindness

*Improves the quality of sleep

*Decreases blood pressure

As you can see, the benefits of meditation are varied and amazing! I have experienced just about every benefit on this list, and more. It is a practice that is easy to learn, requires very little to get started, and has immediate impact on your wellbeing.

So-if you’re ready to get started on a simple habit that will change your life quickly, I’m ready to teach you how-all you need to do is find at least 10 minutes in your daily life to follow through. Perhaps it will be when you wake, or during a work break, or even right before bedtime-but PLANNING to do it and following through is the only small obstacle keeping you from reaping ALL the benefits that await you! You can do this just about anywhere-sitting on your porch, visiting your favorite place in nature, while bathing, or simply just by putting down your phone, turning off the noise, and enjoying some peace in your day.

How to Meditate

~Setup your space and check your surroundings. Your meditation space should be quiet and peaceful, and remain that way for at least 10 minutes. Close doors, turn off your phone, and plan to be in a quiet space for the time allotted.

~Wear comfortable clothes, or loosen any clothing that may be restrictive or tight. You may want to remove your shoes, belts, hats, etc. Be as comfortable as possible.

~Relax, sit comfortably with your feet on the floor, or find a comfortable position where your legs are relaxed and at ease, or even lie down if you like.

~Breathe deeply to relax, focus on your each individual breath, breathing in through the nose, deep into your lungs, then slowly release through the mouth. Find a rhythm in your breathing, and place your focus on the sound.

~Allow eyes to close, gently. This will help you focus on the breathing, and remove distractions from the mind.

~Check in with yourself. Are you comfortable? Do you need to adjust your position? Remove your socks? Is the tag in your shirt itchy? Notice your senses, bring awareness to your body, and adjust as needed.

~Scan your body, make sure each body part is relaxed. Wiggle your toes, circle your neck if it feels tight, etc. RELAX and BREATHE.

~Simply breathe and BE. Be still, be quiet, be calm.

Upon Finishing

~Let it go, release yourself slowly, and allow yourself to sit with our thoughts for a moment.

~After completing your time, avoid sudden movements-bring your body out of this calm state slowly, be kind to your body, and gentle in your movements.

~Hold yourself with loving kindness for the positive being that you are, let go, walk forward, live with a true heart, and go on with your day.

I hope that this article has inspired you to take a few moments to meditate each day, and perhaps even start a journey into deeper, more intentional meditations to change your existence in your life. Meditation as a regular practice can have a huge impact on everything that you do, and as you learn more, and practice more, you will see amazing things happen in every aspect of your life-mentally, physically, and spiritually. If you would like to explore meditation more in depth, or are interested in finding a personal wellness plan to works for your life and goals, please feel free to reach out to me. I’d love to talk about your health and wellness journey!

That Simple Word for 2020

2020 has brought us a new year, a new decade, and an entirely new slate to write our lives upon! In embracing this wealth of new beginnings, there comes the typical conversation about resolutions: the new diet, the new exercise program, the kicking of a bad habit…But, often these resolutions fall quickly by the wayside, as our mouths fill with treats, our treadmill becomes a storage shelf, and those old habits continue to mindlessly find their way into our busy lives.

Instead of resolutions, I’ve taken to having a word for the year. After carefully examining all the “resolutions” I want to set, I look for the deeper picture. Last year, as 2019 came into view, I knew I needed to remove toxic people from my life, as well as find more “me” time to focus on the things that made me healthy and happy. Putting these thoughts into actual resolutions was difficult, because it was simply too vast to break down. I decided to pick an encompassing word: BOUNDARIES.

Boundaries became my mantra. Whenever I was put into a situation that felt toxic, or felt like it was against my need for “me”, I looked for the boundary that was not clear, quickly locked it into place without emotion, and found myself moving directly past the guilt or exhaustion that often came with those situations. This worked with my adult children, my employees, and with “friends” that were probably not truly friends. It also put the final nail in some past relationships that I had been desperately trying to remove myself from for years.

As I walked toward 2020, I pondered many words to express my new beginning and the days to come. My newly found “me” time had led me to a new part time home at the beach, a renewed love for painting, writing, inspiring, and a chance to once again find the person that had gotten silenced during 22 years of raising and home educating children. I was yearning to delve deeper into my journey, into my passions, and I wanted a word to reflect that. I considered several: creativity, passion, art, vision…But, being the always complex, multi-tasking type of person I am, I realized those words, right now, would only lead me to brain fog and exhaustion as they were simply, for now, too focused.

I realized that my new lifestyle-traveling from one home to another-had me living as an “on vacation, me time, undistracted” person for a period of time, only to quickly return to being a caregiver, homemaker, business person who had little time or energy for the things I loved. Week to week, month to month, my life was a little scattered and exhausting. Projects lost their vision, passion quickly got forgotten, and it was tiring.

So, I needed a word, a mantra, to grasp ALL of these feelings, to pull them together, and to make sense of all those thoughts and ideas bouncing in my mind…And I found it. BALANCE!

BALANCE will be the word that I repeat in my head when I’m making my schedules, when I’m journaling my goals, when my heart is pulling me to a new creative project, a new travel adventure, a new marketing idea for my business. BALANCE encompasses ALL I hope to accomplish-the writing, the beach walks, the exercise programs, the mentoring and inspiring of followers….BALANCE makes it all seem possible.

As you, the reader, enters this new awakening of a year, a decade, beginning, search your heart and mind for all the things you want to see in your life, and find that encompassing word that holds them together…Then repeat it. Every day, every time you have a choice to make-for life is so many choices-repeat that word, use it to lead you, to teach you, to hold you to your goals.

Blessed New Year. Make this the year of YOU!