Or an alternate title would be: What I have learned after meditating for 10 days straight 🙂
I am not going to say I am some sort of Zen maven now, or that absolutely nothing bothers me, or that I can calm my mind down without even giving it a second thought. Those would be untrue statements and it is nonsense to think that someone can be some sort of mindfulness expert after a mere 10 days.
Meditation is not easy. In fact, there are days when your mind does not want to do what you would like it to do.
But that’s okay because that is what meditating helps you do: notice your thoughts.
I’d been thinking about meditation as a practice and I kept meaning to get around to actually planting my bottom on a pillow and just doing the darn thing already. It finally got to a point where I just needed to push myself to do it. That push for me to jump in the meditation swimming pool came in the form of Dan Harris’ book 10% Happier. While the book and subject matter are not for everyone, I enjoyed what Harris had to say. Harris is an ABC newscaster who had a panic attack on national television which as you can imagine, was quite devastating for him. He then went on a journey, often hilariously, of finding a way to help him “combat the voice in his head” and found his way to meditation which to this day, he still espouses the virtues of.
Now I am not a newscaster, nor do I have a hankering to be on television, but I do suffer from bouts of anxiety and Harris’ book was the nudge that I needed to start my meditation journey.
“We spend a lot of time judging ourselves harshly for feelings that we had no role in summoning. The only thing you can control is how you handle it” – Dan Harris
So, I downloaded the app Calm onto my phone which offers free meditations for you to utilize. They also have ones that are more in depth that you can access, but those come with a fee. I utilize the free ones. And as a side note, I have absolutely no affiliation with Calm. It just happens to be the app that I downloaded 🙂
So ten days ago, I did my first 10 minute meditation. My mind wandered as it is want to do, but the point is, I recognized it, and tried to bring it back to the present. I focused on my breathing. I listened to the lady with the soothing voice tell me to let go and notice the inhale and the exhale.
And I continued for the next several days after that, trying to do my meditation around the same time every day because I am a creature of habit. #babyiwasbornthisway
So what have I learned so far?
♦ The weekends are hard for me to do meditation. This past Saturday, my cat jumped on my lap while I was sitting meditating and completely threw me off my game. Then at another point, my daughter interrupted my session to ask me a question about Scooby-Doo. No joke 🙂 I realized it really is easier to meditate when she is at school and the cat is napping, preferably not where he can see my lap and jump on it.
♦ As I stated earlier, I am not in a zone where nothing bothers me (I wish I was though!) But I can say that when I feel a particular emotion bubble up, if I am able to, I notice the thought and ask myself “Is this helpful?” If the thought is not helpful, I try to change my thinking. I am still a novice at this whole mindfulness thing, for reals, but that one phrase “Is this helpful?” has helped me sooooo much. Try it for yourself when a thought that is trying to burrow itself into your brain that you know has no reason being there.
♦ I have realized that I look forward to my meditation sessions. If I can only do 5 minutes, that’s okay. 10 minutes a day is what I aim for and I have hit that goal consistently.
♦ I have noticed that I am much calmer after meditating. Like I said, I am no Zen maven. But I really do feel better after a 10 minute session.
So, bottom line is that I am going to keep going with this whole meditating thing. Now if I could just get my cat to understand that when mommy is sitting on her pillow, now is not the time for kitty snuggles. But when I am done? It’s totally kitty snuggle time! 🙂