Ali Segel
May 21, 2014 10:17 am

I’ve always been more bitchy than blessed, more frozen yogurt than yoga.  I’ve scoffed at the people who are able to navigate the Namasté lifestyle. I couldn’t buy into it. It just wasn’t me.

Were these people genuinely happy? Unless kale was laced with some sort of anti-depressant, all of these farm-to-table, juice-drinking, yogi practitioners had to also be some of the best actors in the world.  They were always walking around with perma-smiles, gently exhaling instead of breathing, radiating a sort of light and kindness from their pores that I just didn’t see when I looked at myself in the mirror.

Then, there was me, cranky and rage-full since birth. No wonder I hated (was jealous) of these people. At age 6, I took a vow of silence and communicated with my family exclusively via Post-it, leaving notes around the house that said things like, “Be quiet, Dad, you don’t know how to sing.” I’ve always been hyper-sensitive, and hidden it behind a wall of apathy and anger. I was an emotional kid, constantly vibrating in my own skin and feeling everything way too intensely. Early on, I learned how to put on my best face and either act like I wasn’t feeling anything, or generally act out.

But deep down, as an adult, I wanted what these kale people had. So, when one day it was suggested to me that meditation could change my life, and quite possibly end or at least cut down my rage and anxiety, I was both willing and interested. Now, I meditate every single day, and it’s beginning to really make a difference.

How do I meditate?

I meditate in a few different forms, depending on how much time I have, and the level of stress I am feeling that day. Below is how I do my regular, everyday meditation when I need to alleviate stress, realign and relax.

  • First, I sit comfortably in a chair or on my couch.  I don’t sit cross-legged, I sit in a way that feels natural to me.
  • I begin to breathe deeply and slowly for 1-2 minutes to relax my body.
  • I shut my eyes, and continue to breathe deeply and slowly.
  • I then recede into myself for 10-20 minutes. Sometimes I have thoughts while meditating, sometimes my mind is silent.  I do not force anything, I just continue to breathe and allow ideas to come in and out like a leaf blowing in the wind.
  • After 10-20 minutes, I come out of my meditation slowly feeling refreshed.

Sometimes I will do this meditation in silence, and other times I will listen to one of those relaxing CDs that they play when you are getting a massage. Initially I was listening to “Sounds of the Rainforest” but the parrot chirping needed to CALM DOWN PLZ and the rain sounds made me have to pee. Regardless, don’t put any pressure on your meditation: it’s for you. If you can only do 5 minutes, that’s fine. If you only do it once a week, that’s great too.  The point is to give your body and mind a break and release some of your stress. You deserve it.

What am I like now?

Listen, I won’t ever be one of the kale people. I like the occasional hamburger, and I’ll never glow like some of the girls I see walking down the street. I can’t do yoga because I have a fear of group classes and sweating in public. But I have found something I can do privately that gets me in touch with my mind and my body. I’ve allowed myself to sit in my feelings instead of avoiding them. I’m aware of my thoughts, and I pause with them before I allow them to become actions.

Meditation gives me structure and routine and a place for my mind and body to be still. It’s a chance to reboot and recharge. Anyone can do it, and you can meditate anytime, anywhere. I’ve meditated when I feel frustrated as a passenger on long family car rides, I’ve meditated upon waking up in the morning to ensure a peaceful day and I’ve meditated when I feel stressed before a date. It’s just a tool I have to help deal with life and my emotions now. And I’m grateful for it. My energy is a little lighter now, and life doesn’t feel so heavy.

Maybe I do sound like one of the Kale people…

(Images via Shutterstock and author’s personal account)

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