I have trouble meditating.
I admit it. I understand it’s good for you. I know the benefits. I even have a colleague who pays her teenage son to meditate because it is such an enlightening and amazing practice.
But I hate sitting still. I have questions and would rather ask them over and over then wait to hear the answers. I didn’t have the space. I don’t love sitting cross legged. My spine hurts after a few minutes of sitting up straight. I can hear my own breath. My dog comes in to bother me. I don’t have enough time.
I am uncomfortable.
This is the exact reason that I should be meditating: I am uncomfortable.
I have tried many times to begin meditation but without much staying power. I tired Chopra’s 21 day meditation challenge. The first time, I lasted 5 solid days until I gave up. I would meditate in my bed, silently. I would hold my mala beads and think good thoughts. I would touch each mala bead and make a silent wish or give a heartfelt thank you while Chopra told me to quiet my mind.
Then on day 6 I had the chance to sleep in. I was cuddling with hubby & had hit snooze a million times. I did NOT want to meditate! And I knew I couldn’t get my mind to actually be quiet because I was really thinking about laundry and bringing my thoughts back to my third eye when I remembered.
Meditating to me, is like the first few times I experienced savasana. I went scuba diving with octopi and turtles. I imagined beautiful fields of flowers. I spoke to God. I did everything BUT quiet my mind. I imagined lovely things in order to keep myself distracted from the uncomfortable silence.
The thing is, I talk… a lot. Ask anyone who knows me. Anyone who is a friend, an acquaintance, a co-worker or a peer. I can hold a conversation with myself if I have to (and sometimes I do). I picked it up from my dad, who is also a talker. Silence just isn’t our thing.
The second time I tried to meditate, I also tried the Chopra challenge. This time depending on your view, I either did 16 days or 3 days. I did 3 solid days of meditating in my bed and 13 days of listening to Chopra’s meditation in the car on the way to work. Granted, I was not closing my eyes while traveling at 70 mph, but I was listening to his wisdom and trying to keep that with me throughout the day. In this endeavor, I did not have to actually sit with my uncomfortable thoughts but rather sit with Chopra’s wisdom.
This time, however, I decided that enough is enough. I will meditate. If it takes all my strength (which it will, and it is…) and determination, than so be it. I will meditate. I am not doing a “challenge” where there is a particular end in sight.
To me, there are only two ways I could force myself to meditate:
1) Create a beautiful space. A meditation altar with some of my favorite things! Beautiful lightly scented candles, incense, Ganesha, Tara, rocks & seashells from my favorite beach, a purple blown glass octopus, a pendent of healing from my mom, Goddess cards & various other beautiful items.
2) Routine. I need to wake up every morning at the same time to meditate. No excuses.
I started with the first aspect because that was the most fun! I went to a store down the street from my parents, Circle of Wisdom. It was a tiny little “hippie store" with hindu deities, buddha’s, incense, candles and more. I bought a few trinkets and then went on the hunt for the altar itself. I wanted something that had layers and eventually found a beautiful corner shelf with three tiers. The stones are gray & blue and it blends perfectly into my new home office. I began to set it up the moment I got home. Then I added the things I love most! The purple blown glass octopus hubby gave me last summer, rocks & seashells I collected from the beach, my favorite oils, a mason jar full of pink stones to hold my incense, new mala beads by my friend Connie & so much more!
Then I moved on to the harder part: my routine. Every morning I wake up and take Apollo out, feed Digger, feed Apollo, do the “extras” (change over the laundry, wash last nights dishes, clean/tidy the house) and get ready for work. Sometimes I make homemade coffee on the stove, while others I make a green smoothie for breakfast. All of this takes just a bit over an hour! In order to meditate, I needed to get up just 15 minutes earlier than usual. So I decided to follow Gabrielle Bernstein’s May Cause Miracles advice, and I set an alarm. My alarm used to vary – I would wake up whenever I thought I needed to, varying between 5:02 am & 5:35 am. My alarm is now set from EVERY SINGLE MORNING at 4:38 am! (Clearly I am not a fan of "normal alarm times") That little extra time gives me the ability to say no to my alarm with a snooze button and still make it out of bed with enough time to meditate.
I am beginning my meditations with Gabby’s May Cause Miracles course for 40 days but plan on continuing straight through without her guidance after the 40 days are completed. This is not a challenge, but a beginning. My intention is that I will meditate every day! My intention is that I will learn to sit with my thoughts, the uncomfortable silence & the shame of being a yogi who doesn’t love meditating.
I will meditate.
It’s been 13 days so far. I have gotten up every morning. I have meditated even when I didn’t want to. Sometimes it’s for five minutes. Other days it’s been 15 minutes. I am learning. I will stumble. I may fall. But I will not stop.
I will meditate.
Sometimes our biggest fear is within us. The silence. The uncomfortable idea of being with ourselves and listening to what the universe has to say back to us. The challenge to overcome fear and accept love. To believe in miracles.
As Caroline Myss said: “Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to require the most from you.” This choice will lead us to our freedom, to love & to a much more open heart.
Challenge yourself. Whether it is meditation, yoga or even learning a new skill – find time to overcome your challenge. Time will slip past whether or not you choose to accept this challenge. Face it with love & overcome. Accept your challenge and become a better YOU.
Get out there – do yoga & make life sparkle!