Meditating Part 1
So What’s with This Meditating Bullshit?
I get it. The word alone makes you think of a bunch of hippy dippy yogi’s chanting OM, or monks sitting atop a mountain in silence for days, or maybe you just think of an image of Deepak Chopra in his diamond studded glasses and red Nikes.
After I mentioned meditating in my posts Run Like Phoebe and Am I a Sideline Mom, it was cool to hear that some of you already have a meditation routine. Others of you emailed that you were interested in learning how, but the idea of it sounds complex and time consuming, and keeps you from dipping your toes in the enlightened waters. I get it, but I can’t let you give up on something that will absolutely improve your life. So let’s talk meditation… Oooommmm…and all that New Age shit.
Let’s think of a few things that may be coming to mind and detouring you from meditating…
I don’t have enough time.
I don’t want to chant with a bunch of hippies who smell like patchouli.
It’s too hard to clear my mind…I think too much. I’m not “good” at it.
I’m doing it wrong.
I feel weird.
Let me stop you right there! You know what should feel weird? Taking a naked yoga class. People that pay to do yoga… behind a guy who’s sweaty balls are dangling in their line of vision during down dog. That’s weird. So, really, sitting quietly for 5 or 10 minutes doesn’t seem so strange compared to that kind of experience does it?
No, I’ve never actually done naked yoga, simply because the aforementioned scenario would be my worst nightmare. But I do meditate, as often as possible. And when I feel the most weird, is when I haven’t meditated for a few days. I’m all disheveled and out of place. It’s the meditation that connects me…to myself and to life.
You know those times where you’ve been driving, reach your destination, and have no recollection of how you got there? You know those times when you feel like it’s groundhog day? You know when you feel a little lost but you don’t think you know why? I could go on and on about those feelings we all have that make us question ourselves and the lives we live. Can I give you some advice? I mean you’re here reading this already, so here goes… DON’T IGNORE THOSE MOMENTS! Don’t ignore the questions. Don’t ignore the groundhog feeling. Don’t ignore the moment you totally lost your shit on your kids. Don’t ignore the awesome feeling you got when you did that one thing you haven’t done in a while. Don’t ignore your hesitation to exercise, get a massage, or have sex. Instead of ignoring…meditate.
Yes, you have time. We’re all busy. Even Oprah has time to meditate. Do you have any idea how busy Oprah is? I’m just saying, if you’re making time to scroll through Instagram and Facebook and Pinterest, you can make time to meditate. I don’t always have 30 minute increments for it; I have kids, and a home, and quite frankly a personality that doesn’t allow me to sit still for that long sometimes. I am my mothers daughter. But I have five minutes, ten minutes, even twenty at a good stretch… and it’s not all sitting in silence with my eyes closed and chanting with candles and crystals. Ok, I do have a gong, but it’s pretty much for aesthetic decor purposes than it is for actual use, it looks zen. Just start with making the time. Start with five minutes. I promise, you will begin to crave more time, and then you’ll make more time.
Skip the patchouli hippies and the “empty your mind” BS and just sit the fuck down. Be with you and your thoughts and your feelings and stop trying to do it the right way. Personally I like to start with closing my eyes and taking some deep breaths. Sometimes my eyes stay closed the whole time, unless I’m in nature, and then I open my eyes to focus on the beauty around me. In the summer I meditate every morning on my back porch, with the grass and the trees and the birds and the sun, and my journal and my coffee, and even a book like The Untethered Soul or You are A Badass to help pull up some insights and feelings and questions, and I can really get the meditative juices flowing (I’ll go into detail about this more in Part 2).
I sit and think and feel. I think about what I’m feeling and I feel what I’m thinking. There is no right and wrong. It’s you giving yourself time to tap into you. The clearing your mind part is more about letting the incessant chatter of to-do lists and appointments and bullshit distractions go, to make room for the good stuff…the real stuff…the connection. It’s not about making your mind totally empty, it’s about clearing the clutter.
Cameron: “I’m dying.”
Farris Bueller: “You’re not dying, you just can’t think of anything better to do.”
You (while trying to meditate): “I’m bored.”
Me: “You’re not bored, you just can’t think of anything but attention hoarding nonsense.”
Try this, put a little Zen radio on Pandora on your phone, then set the phone down out of arms reach. And for once, sit down with just yourself and your thoughts and feelings, and stop relying on something or someone via some electronic device to stimulate and distract your thoughts from your own damn life. Oh, please, don’t try and tell me you haven’t been caught in a thirty minute rabbit hole of YouTube…stupid cats videos, stupid people videos, friggin adorable kid videos (Listen Linda Listen…) Or like you haven’t found yourself scrolling through 100 family photos on Facebook of someone you went to high school with a fucking century ago.
So let’s just start here shall we. You make five minutes, ten if you’ve got it, sit down, and listen to yourself. Close your eyes, or stare out at nature. Listen to soft music or listen to the sound of your breathing. Whatever floats your boat and allows you to tap in. When the distracting bull shit arises, take a deep breath, listen to your breath, and say “not now”. No, seriously. Literally say it out loud, “not now.” And just move on. Move on to what moves you in the moment. Maybe it’s just the quieting of the chatter that feels good because your brain is like a sandbox full of little kids all hopped up on ice cream and crack. Maybe a difficult situation keeps popping up and it’s time to ask some questions. Maybe a smile shows up and tears stream down your face.
Just be with it. All of it. Just start here.