Life is starting to pick up too much speed. Before my breast cancer diagnosis and before everything slowed down on me, I often felt out of breath. Literally out of breath! My mantra was not at all about inner peace at the time, but “breathe”, “just breathe!” I suspect that many of you are in that spot where you are so busy it's almost like you haven't had a chance to breathe. The holidays often throw things off course. We don’t eat as healthy, maybe we stopped exercising, the kids get too much screen time etc. This is what happened to me. You may have other vices that you are trying to reel in, but you get my point. All these factors took my family off balance and my priority shifted.
I started experiencing that old familiar “busyness” the kind where you just jump from one thing to the next because it had to be done, and I couldn’t keep up. This was a major sign to me that something was wrong. I mean, I couldn’t find my inner peace and my family was no better off either.
In the past, I would ask my husband or close friends how to slow down. What could I cut out because I just couldn’t keep up. No one could ever give me suggestions. They just looked at me with sympathy and shrugged. I AM NOT GOING DOWN THAT ROAD AGAIN! I did something I had never really done before in this way. I went into work late one day so I could take a little time to do some yoga stretches and meditate on what was going on and how to turn it around. I practiced some MINDFULNESS and LISTENED to my higher self and I got some answers. WOW….what my loved ones could never give me I was able to find within. This is where I expect you, my readers, to think DUH! I tend to think I’m the last one to make these discoveries, but I’m committed to sharing them with you nonetheless.
What I realized is I switched from the "me centered" state I was in and I went into caretaker mode.
So, 20 minutes to myself to contemplate where things are at and what needs to change, I determined it's about my focus. I need to start putting my needs first again. I need to take care of my family and all that, but you know how it is when you are dealing with people. They'll take all you have to give and still want more. We're insatiable! That's why I need to put me first so I can give better. I need to do this for them.
Ok, so easy to put into words, but living it is where I keep getting tripped up. The funny thing is that making the time for reflection this morning made me realize I can do this before it becomes necessary. I can do this a few times a week and maybe, eventually, every day. I had to change my morning routine a bit, but it was do-able. I fairly painlessly found an extra 15 minutes in my morning. That's all I need in order to check in with myself, set my intention for the day and listen to any other challenges my soul is trying to tell me. AHHHH., I think this is the perfect place to start.
I have some other things to take care of too. I've known that I need some better household systems for dinner and homework and stuff, but now I have the motivation in the right place. Now I really see how it relates to my inner peace and, since I so desperately want to hold on to that and enjoy life and be in charge of the direction of my life and NOT let life just happen to me, I now have the motivation to get some of these systems in place. What I am lacking right now is ENERGY. It is really hard to reign in my ADHD brain (I joke, but I think it's partially a true diagnosis) and make things happen. I have to know my limitations and tackle one thing at a time. You know what??? I think the morning reflection time is exactly what I need to settle myself enough and tune in enough to understand what it is I can accomplish at this moment in this day. I've read and heard all the great things about meditation, but I've never had an understanding of how it can really help me in my life. It always sounded nice. I am always amazed at people that find the time to do it, but now I realize that I need to do it to find the time to LIVE.
I find that doing this sheet of yoga stretches slows me down enough and forces quiet on me for the length of time it takes to do them. I consider the Savasana (relaxation yoga pose) "meditation" time. Someday I may be able to sit in meditation longer without the aid of movement, but things don't have to be perfect for us to get something out of it. I wanted to attach the stretches I do but for I haven't figured out all the copyright issues yet. I did PIN some to my Pinterest page (click Pinterest link at bottom of page) so you can look there. I suggest starting with a sun salutation. It's a series of poses that you will have memorized in no time! As my Tai Chi teacher mentioned last night, it's good to have these practices in place when things are calm so the next time you are in turmoil it's easy to get into your routine.
HeadSpace is also a super popular meditation app. You can download it right to your phone and do a short meditation anytime during the day where you can sneak off for 5-10 minutes.
Even if it isn't a daily practice at first, but you start to recognize when you need to check in and actually check in, I think it's a huge step in the right direction! I hope you find these things helpful.
I'd love to hear from you. Do you already have a practice? Do you think you'll try one? Do you think about meditation differently after reading about it from a non-yogi, beginner perspective?