Meditation: A Simple Way I've Learned to Be More Present

Although it's been around for thousands of years, meditation is definitely more embraced and understood now than ever. Which is pretty exciting.

I was first introduced to meditation back when I was studying at IIN. I remember learning about it and thinking what a great addition it would be into my daily routine. For me however, it was just an appreciation, never something I actually found time to practice. Then, it was last year that I was watching a television program where Dan Harris from ABC news was talking about his new book, "10% Happier" which was inspired by his journey into meditating. You can learn more about his story here.

After listening to his experience I was quickly motivated to read Eckhart Tolle's, "Power of Now," which I had surprisingly never read. As I began the book, I started to pay attention to two things: living in the moment (in the now) and understanding that little voice in my head. And this is where my exploration really started.
As a mother, a wife and a business woman, my life is a bit hectic. I barely remember what I did two hours ago, I juggle way too many things at once and I pride myself on being a remarkable multi-tasker. I'd come home from work, cook dinner, and respond to work emails all while I have a face mask on, the laundry going and my son on my hip. ("I kick serious A%$" -says the voice in my head).

What didn't occur to me at that time was that I really didn't have all that going on. Instead, I was stretched so thin that anything pertaining to "living in the now" was actually non-existent. Even when I'd be giving my son a bath I'd still be planning the next day in my head or thinking about how badly I need to clean the bath tub. Bringing myself back to the present felt weird (and still does), but the stranger it felt, the more determinded I was to help myself learn how to get there.

Welcome, meditation. 

Meditation is obviously a bit different for each person. To me, meditation is being mindful. It is being aware of how I'm doing, the thoughts in my head and learning how to just be. I personally needed someone to hold my hand when I first started, so I liked listening to podcasts or using apps on my phone. However, even a 5 minute break each day works wonders. 

Here is the simplest way I've enjoyed meditating:

Set your timer for 5 minutes.

Sit down in a quiet area.

I like having water sounds or something simple in the background.

Close your eyes.

Start breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth slowly and evenly.

Let your mind wader for just a second, and bring your thought to either not thinking about anything except your breath, repeating your own mantra, or a happy picture in your head.

If you start thinking about groceries, what that tingle in your foot is, or where to eat dinner later, don't worry - this is totally normally. The trick is to notice those thoughts, but come back to your meditation. 

Voila! Simple and effective.

Another suggestion is a 21-Day Meditation Guide by Deepak Chopra and Oprah OR a meditation app; whatever you decide works best for you!

I'm still not great at this. I've gotten better, but I am still terrible at 1) sitting still and 2) getting OUT of my head. One thing I will say though is that I'm much better at being present. I'm constantly having to "turn my brain off" and allow myself to just be. 

We live in a society today that requires us to be "on" 24/7. We are overstimulated on a daily basis by work, emails, the news, social media and the terrible idea that we have to "do it all." Not all of us are taking care of our minds and bodies like we should. But... there is good news. It all comes down to a choice. We can decide to stay off of our phones while we are eating dinner. We can decide that we are going to be completely present with our family and friends. We can decide to take 5 minutes out of the day to meditate. It is the practice of even trying that our mind and body loves us for.

So here's to at least doing our best!

Until next time,
Linds xx

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