How Do I Meditate?

Meditation has become such a buzz word lately. So many people are talking about it and thankfully they are because that’s how I came to know meditation. I was listening to podcast after podcast that would talk about the value of meditation. Eventually I decided to give it a try.

I reached out to my friend who I know meditates and asked her where to start. She suggested an app called Calm so I tried it. It was good, but I had trouble staying consistent. There’s a calendar on the app and it keeps track of when you meditate and I could not get 3 days in a row. It just didn’t seem to be working for me.

I decided to forgo the app and try just googling meditations, unfortunately that didn’t work either. Eventually I just gave up and thought this isn’t something for me right now and I’ll try again another time.

That’s what I did. I went months without meditating, but I certainly thought about it a lot.

Then in the fall of 2017 my mind set started shifting and I started searching for more in life. I began a self-development journey that probably started a few years ago, but it seemed to go into overdrive suddenly. By January 2018 I was ready for a change in my life. I set a few goals, and one of those was to give meditation a try again.

This time it clicked! I don’t know where I found breathing meditation (but I sure wish I did so I could share it), but this quiet meditation focusing simply my breathing feels great.

Meditation quickly became a habit for me, and if I didn’t spend even a few minutes in quiet meditation my day felt off.

After a few months of meditation most mornings (mostly weekdays, I like to sleep in on the weekends) I started to see slow trickly affects in my life. Not only was I starting my day in this calm state of mind, but I was seeing more patience in myself. Patience especially with my kids.

Before meditation I couldn’t control my anger and I would fly off the handle at the smallest things. It would take me days to sometimes I realize what went wrong and apologize. I didn’t even realize how bad it was until I started meditation.

Here are the 3 things Meditation has given to me:

  1. To recognize my feelings and emotions, how they make me feel inside my body. For me I very much feel emotion in my gut. I get a tightness in my stomach (um…hello constipation due to stress) and I get butterflies when I’m nervous.
  2. Now once I feel my feelings, I can redirect them. I have to recognize them, figure out why I feel this way and then change directions. This isn’t me ignoring my feelings, it’s realizing they are there, saying a quick hello and then moving on. I use to just push my feelings away, but now I sit with them and I feel them. Meditation has taught me that this is ok and actually good for me.
  3. To have more patience and more calm in my life. This is especially apparent with my husband and my kids. They can push my buttons like no one else, but thanks to meditation and recognizing my feelings I know pretty much right away when I’ve gotten angry for no reason or yelled at them because I was stressed out. Meditation has helped me to look inward to see a reflection of myself. When I get angry it’s not about the kids, it’s about something I’m dealing with at the moment. I know one day I’ll get to the point where I can redirect my anger before it happens, but the fact that I can recognize it and apologize pretty much right away is a huge step for me.

Have you thought about meditation?

Have you tried meditation before?

If you never have or you have and like me didn’t really see much benefit, I highly recommend trying again. Maybe a different way to meditate would be helpful. There is no right or wrong way, it’s just the way that works for you. I imagine my meditation practice will change and evolve as I continue to grow and evolve.

These are some of my favorite breathing meditation:

5 Minute Breathing Meditation

Sympathetic Breathing Meditation

Counting Breaths Meditation

Energy Time Management

A friend and mentor/life coach was talking to her Facebook group about energy time management which is much different than just time management. While I can’t fully explain it, I am going to tell you about one small thing she suggested we do before completing a task (you know one of the 1 million floating in your head or the 20 you have written down in various note pads somewhere), because I put it into practice this morning for the first time and it was incredible.

Before you do anything ask yourself one question – Is this serving you right now?

When I heard her say it I was very intrigued, and just sort of kept it in the back of my mind. Finally today I actually put it into practice and within seconds I felt so confident in my decision, something that rarely happens.

My Story

It all happened very early in the morning. I woke up at my typical 5am time with a sink full of dishes, no lunches made for the kids or myself, a stuffy nose (thanks allergies) and to top it off I was bloated. This was also after a night where I was up at 2am with one kid and 3am with the dog. Not to mention that the dog has been having issues with needing to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I hope she’s ok, and I think she is, but man is it annoying!

After the alarm went off I begrudgingly shuffled my way into the bathroom, looked up at the mirror and just smiled at myself (most mornings I try to say out loud some positive affirmation, but I didn’t have it in me today). Then I proceeded with the rest of my morning routine (weekday morning anyway). I heated up my morning drink, and went to do a breathing meditation (where I almost fell asleep sitting up!).

Over the last 5 months meditation has become a habit for me and I know if I don’t do it immediately after waking up it doesn’t get done. I also don’t look at my phone in the morning anymore because I want to control the start of my day, not be controlled by my email or social media. While these are things I’ve worked to really hard to incorporate in my routine, it’s the time after I meditate that I’m struggling with now. I haven’t found something to really settle on, so I just wonder about and do those things that need to be done around the house.

What ends up happening is that I meditate than I panic and just try to do as much as I can before the kids are up. I choose the dishes, making lunches and doing paperwork over working out or doing other things that I want to do, or will serve me. Then by the time that other stuff is done everyone is up and our day is moving forward in lightning speed. I yet again have not done anything to serve me!

Today was no different and as I type this all those nagging tasks are literally piled around me. I’m sitting at the kitchen table with a stack of paperwork that needs to be taken care of, and lunches that need to be made, and dishes that need to be cleaned.

Yet, here I am writing this blog instead. Why is that?

Because after I meditated today I took my friend’s advice. As I was venturing into the kitchen to make lunches I thought “Is this going to serve me?”. Immediately the answer was no.

So I thought, “what is going to serve me?”. That answer was writing a blog.

I had no topic and no plan in place, but I set a goal to write one blog a week and it’s Friday and I still haven’t written one. This was one of the lingering tasks that I kept putting off because I thought “I’ll do it after the dishes, or after the paperwork”. But guess what, that after never comes and then my blog doesn’t happen and then in the back of my mind I’m disappointed in myself because I couldn’t do it all.

It felt so good to ask myself “Is this serving you?” and even better to answer “Yes”. Not only that, but it made me confident in my decision so I’m not second guessing myself by asking “should I have done something else instead?” or thinking “was that the best use of my time”.

My energy is much calmer, and yes that other stuff is still all around me and I’ll eventually get to it, but I took that one piece of advice and asked myself one simple question: “Is this serving me?”

You bet I’m going to continue to ask this question before I do my tasks now.

What You Can Do

Before begin your tasks today, before you tackle your to-do list, I’m going to suggest two things:

  1. Take a few minutes to meditate and just breathe, and
  2. ask yourself “Is this serving me?”

Thank you Erin Joyce for the inspiration and I look forward to learning more about energy time management!

Also, if you’d like to join Erin’s Facebook group where women come together to support and lift up each other, then click here. Erin posts daily with amazing videos and life lessons about her struggles with anxiety, self doubt and fear. As her tagline says “Surviving in a world full of comparison, fake eyelashes and Pinterest.”

Mother’s Day isn’t always a day to celebrate.

For so many Mother’s Day is a joyful celebration. For me it’s a time to celebrate being so blessed to be a mom myself, to be grateful for the two little boys (and the fur baby of course) that are in my life. A reminder to be grateful that I’m so lucky to have my own mother and my mother-in-law in my life. In my short time as a mom I’ve really looked forward to Mother’s Day, but a few years ago that was not the case at all.

I was actually pregnant on my first Mother’s Day, but I refused to celebrate. I told my husband that I didn’t want any gifts, cards or even to say the words Happy Mother’s Day to me. Sounds ironic and slightly selfish considering many other people’s circumstances, but this is my story so I’m going to be real and tell you how I felt at the time.

Earlier that year I had a miscarriage and it was devastating to say the least. Luckily after the miscarriage we got pregnant fairly quickly and on that day in May we were still too early to tell people and being pregnant after a miscarriage is scary. It’s filled with worry and doubt that it will happen again so it’s hard to celebrate.

I watched on social media as my friends and family shouted out to their mom’s and showed pictures of their babies, while I sat with my own inner turmoil that I still might not be able to celebrate Mother’s Day the following year, and slightly angry that I couldn’t even celebrate the baby I had growing inside me because of my own fear.

So for others though, this day is a sad one. A one filled with only memories of their mom that has passed away, or of children that they have lost. For some it’s the yearning for the child they want so badly. While we celebrate and rejoice, they retreat and hide away.

For those not celebrating Mother’s Day for whatever reason please know you are in my prayers today and always! For those celebrating please take a moment to think of those who wished they were celebrating, or wished their own mom was there to celebrate with, or like me, they are too scared to celebrate.

I love you and I thank you for taking the time to read my story.