About 6 years ago, after many failed attempts, I decided I was finally going to learn to meditate. I had tried so many times before, with no success (or so I thought). I was convinced that I just wasn’t the type of person that could meditate. But being a generally anxious person, prone to a heightened stress response, I knew I had to give it another go. So I signed up for a free online 28 day meditation series led by two people I loved (from a distance, at least): Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey. Not too shabby a combo, right?
After much a frustrating first two weeks, which felt like me “meditating” meant sitting there trying not to think about all the shit on my mind, but then thinking about it anyway, and realizing that I just spent 10 minutes thinking about my to-do list…. le sigh. But suddenly, a little over two weeks in, I realized that I had turned a corner. I was able focus on my breath and the mantra for longer, bring myself back from distractions faster, and finally reap the benefits of meditation.
Though I’ve done several Meditation Challenges since then, and meditated on my own sporadically, I have not had a solid one month streak in many years, certainly not since becoming a mama. So with the mounting stressors over the last few months of being a work-from-home mom with a strong-willed, precocious toddler, starting an intensive year-long Ayurvedic practitioner program, and starting a new business with my husband (more on that later), I was starting to feel my meditation practice calling to me again.
My neck and shoulders were perpetually tight, I was feeling bouts of anxiety, my patience with my kid and husband was dwindling, and I felt like I was developing much more of a temper than I would like. Something had to change.
Coming back to a daily meditation practice felt like being reunited with an old friend, one who is always there to love and support you, no matter what. After just two days of meditating for only 5 minutes a day, I was starting to soften, my nerves were calmer, my mind clearer, and my outlook more positive. Gradually, I found myself sitting for longer. First 10 minutes, then 15. It felt effortless, like satisfying a deep craving for something supremely comforting. After a week or so, I started waking up before my alarm feeling more refreshed. Instead of reading the news on my phone or lazing about it bed, I am now getting up and doing 15 sun salutations followed by a seated meditation every morning. A few weeks went by and I noticed that I was feeling no anxiety throughout my day. On the off chance that some anxiety did crop up, I was able to breathe my way through it (and out of it) with ease.
After a month of daily meditations, mostly just sitting cross-legged on my patio with the Breathe App on my Apple Watch during my kiddo’s nap time, I feel a softening, clarity of purpose, and calm that radiates throughout my whole life and being. Far from losing my edge, I feel more profoundly MYSELF, with greater compassion, love, and understanding of my being and what I need to thrive. I experience less cravings, I am substantially less hungry throughout the day, I don’t own a scale, but I swear I think I’ve lost a few pounds.
But the most powerful changes are in my relationships. Out of a place of calm and clarity, I am able to see my child and partner for who they are. I am so much more patient and loving in the face of my kid’s outbursts and big feelings. I am more open to seeing things from my husband’s perspective. I have a love for strangers and humanity that I have seldom felt before. I can only imagine how much deeper this connective practice will get with more time.
Needless to say, I am convinced (again) without a shadow of a doubt that meditation is one of the most powerful and effective tools we have at our disposal not just to manage our minds (stress, anxiety, depression) and health (blood pressure, weight, inflammation), but to become better humans overall. And with a general time commitment of just 5-10 minutes (obviously, the longer you can go, the more benefits you’ll experience — but you can get a TON out of a short daily practice as well), developing a daily meditation practice is a total no-brainer. It may even be humanity’s salvation!!!
If you’re like me, and are convinced that you just can’t meditate, I encourage you to sign up for Deepak & Oprah’s new free 28 Day Meditation Series that starts on Monday. The theme, “Shedding the Weight: Mind, Body, & Spirit” is a powerful one for reclaiming your balance, your body, and your self, and getting rid of all that isn’t serving you. Click below to sign up!