We’re talking meditation, baby.
This ancient practice, found across an endless number of religions and cultures, has gathered some buzz lately, as study after study reveals the benefits of simply being.
Until recently, whenever I heard the word ‘meditation,’ pictures of buddhist monks in foldy, pretzel positions, up in the mountains, silent for hours are what flashed through my mind. Hard pass. Not for me.
Meditation is a broad practice, however, and there are so many ways that we can meditate that don’t require going off into the wilderness on a 3-day silent retreat. We don’t have to be experienced yogis. We don’t have to be religious. We don’t have to be some kind of ultra-zen-super-human. We don’t have to be perfect at it. What we do have to be, though, is graceful. Yes, that’s right. We’re going to cover ourselves with grace and acceptance of where we’re at today, and make room for ourselves to practice being mindful. It’s not easy. We live in a fast-paced world, and although it seems like it’s hard to keep up with everything whirling around us, not just in our material lives, but also in virtual worlds (social media), it’s even harder to force ourselves to slow down and stop doing.
That’s exactly what meditation is.
Less doing, more being.
How beautiful is that? That’s the purest form of self-love there is. Creating space to just be with yourself, with your soul and your heart…without having to earn it by doing anything or proving anything. You are worth hanging out with simply because you are.
So, we don’t all have a free hour or even thirty minutes a day to practice meditation, and if I’m being honest, I’m not even sure I’d last that long if I had the time.
The good news is that meditation isn’t all or nothing.
You don’t have to be an expert. You can use what you have, do what you can, and try something new. If you aren’t ready to commit to being completely still and completely silent, you can start out by just practicing mindfulness in three tasks that you likely already do every single day!
What do you have to work with?
1. A morning and evening commute
If you travel any distance to or from work, you’ve got time to practice mindfulness. Instead of spending your entire commute running through your to-do list for the day or worrying about what you didn’t accomplish the previous day or week, take this period of time that is already built into your schedule and use it for some soul care. It’s not like you can actual start to cross items off your to-do list on your way to work, anyway.
Make a playlist with songs that inspire you, and spend your commute jamming to your favorites.
There are a number of recorded meditations on Spotify that you can plug into while traveling (if you’re driving, closing your eyes is not recommended…).
Choose instrumental music and bring your awareness to the little things you’re grateful for, like the scenery on your walk or drive, or the sounds of beautiful music.
2. A bladder
Nope, this isn’t a joke.
Let’s get real – I take my phone into the restroom with me. If I added up all of the minutes I’ve spent scrolling through social media while in the restroom, I’m confident that I’d be ashamed of myself. About a year ago, I went on a “social media fast,” and when I went to the restroom, I spent those moments in silence, hangin’ with me, myself, and I, instead of rushing through what I’ve missed while working (news flash: nothing).
When you go to the restroom, leave your phone behind, and take a few deep breaths in and out. Silly? Maybe. Effective? Definitely.
3. An appetite
Cooking is so therapeutic. Preparing meals at home is great for your bank account and for your health (generally), but it’s also good for your soul. Turn on some jazzy dinner music and get to cooking! The simple act of taking something that comes naturally from the earth and turning it into something yummy and nourishing is so good. Too often, when we eat meals that come already prepared for us, we lose the magic of connecting to nature and to the processes of creating.
Spending time cooking your own food gets your mind out of what’s next and focused on the present…on what you’re making right now.
Go the extra mile, and see if you can eat the entire meal without checking your phone!
There you have it, folks.
Get out there and meditate.