An impatient girl's take on meditation
As a person who has a lightning bolt for a heart and a honeybee hive for a brain, I find tranquility and calmness to be about as rare as going to bed before 1AM on any given night. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy peace, or even solitude, but rather that I am always feeling, thinking, moving and doing.
So when a friend suggested I try meditation to combat anxiety I was immediately off put. I imagined myself sitting on a pillow, wearing bamboo linens and listening to Enya. It wasn’t that I thought mediation was pointless, just that I couldn’t really imagine how I would fare in a meditation class. But it didn’t take long for me to realize that not only was meditation not that bad, it also became something I started looking forward to.
The first few times were awkward for me. I wanted to get to know everyone and I found it next to impossible to not let my mind drift into thinking about buying my own ice cream maker and if I had forgotten any work deadlines. It felt impossible to sit still that long. I was surprisingly impatient, and squirmy. Still I kept my eyes shut and steered my brain back into line each time it wandered off someplace random. The classroom wasn’t as granola and stiff as I would have imagined, contrarily, it was vibrant and sweet. I attended a few more classes and eventually decided to take what I had learned back home with me and try to meditate a few times a week.
There’s a lot going on all the time around us. Facebook, Instagram, busses, alarms, sidewalks, school and work. It’s hard to take a minute for yourself, and that really is what meditating offered me: a moment to myself. A moment free of judgment, free of expectation and a sweet spot in my day to just kinda take a second to do what I need to do to feel, well, balanced.
I am not a spiritual guru, nor am I a meditation expert. Quite the opposite, but I can tell you that as a girl who not twenty minutes ago sang “Blank Space” in it’s entirety to my dogs, meditation really can be for anyone. And if you’re worried it’s too ___________ for you to enjoy, I promise it’s at least worth going to one class. Maybe you’ll fall in love and become a regular, or maybe you’ll learn a few things and apply it at home, but the experience of clearing your mind and giving yourself space has little to do with stereotypical scenes of tranquility and everything to do with advocating for your heart and mind to stretch out a little.
One thing a friend I met at the meditation class told me to do is to take a moment when I first wake up to think of everything that makes me happy. I asked her if “smushing marshmallows in my hands” counted, and she said yes. Sit someplace quiet for a few minutes and just think of all the things that make life sweeter and kinder. Think of what I want for myself and what I need. And get up and start my day. That advice changed my mornings, and over time, changed my pace. Slowing down, even the tiniest bit, actually helped me work and feel better. Now each morning I sit in my backyard with a cup of coffee and daydream about things that make my heart feel like a balloon. It’s not the meditation I had once anticipated, but it’s made all the difference in my day.
So even if “real” meditation isn’t your thing, try to take a few minutes each day to take care of your mind and heart and think about the things that make life magical.