In 2001, Lance and I spontaneously did a silent mediation retreat in Bodhgaya, India for 9 days. I had never even meditated for 5 minutes before. We would wake up at 5AM and go to sleep at 9PM and sit ALL DAY LONG. It was hard(!) but the euphoria I felt afterwards was beyond words. For years following that retreat, a consistent meditation practice was very difficult for me, but now, believe or not, I look forward to it. Due to our past year’s events, I was compelled and motivated to calm my mind. Now, meditating actually gets me out of bed in the morning. I wish I could will everyone to meditate daily because I guarantee it will have some significant changes in your life if you keep it up.
The difference when I get up and sit on my cushion vs getting up and checking my phone is HUGE!! I can literally feel the difference in my nervous system and how I react to situations throughout the day. I feel an overall sense of calm when I have a meditation practice and feel like I can face anything that comes my way.
This is what a typical morning looks like for me: I roll out of bed around 6:30AM and sit my hiney right on my meditation cushion. I used to lay in bed for awhile but this is THE thing that gets me out of bed now. I sit for 30 minutes, sometimes longer. I cannot tell you what a difference it makes in my day and if I could encourage you to do one thing (besides juice, eat more veggies, and laugh more!) than I would say try to create a practice of meditating and just start off sitting for 5 minutes! Work up to 10, than 15. All you need to do is breathe!! When your mind starts wandering, you acknowledge it and go back to focusing on your breath. It’s so simple! Well, kind of, I do sometimes start thinking about all sorts of random sh*t. However when it works, it really works. The way I look at it is, it’s kind of nice not to think about all the things I need to do or all the thoughts that come floating in my head on a daily basis for 30 full minutes! If you could do that one thing for yourself, over time, I guarantee, the things that you react to rather than respond, or those times you feel short with your kids or partner over something benign, or anxious over something small, will melt away. It helps with the big stuff too.
What really motivated me to start meditating was my beautiful altar which consists of gifts from my family and friends: The wood altar was made out of Russian olive by my friend Mikki, the Ganesh was a gift from our friends Jerry and Louis, the cross is a borrowed family heirloom from my friend Deli, Lance brought me the big clear crystal back from Brazil, the candles and chakra card were made by my friend Roxanna, the heart rock was found on the ground by Amélie, the purple crystal rock was a gift from my sister Lynn, the white crystal rock-a gift from both Zach and Amélie and the healing rocks were gifts from our friend Andrew. The photos behind are part of a six foot collage that Lance made for me as a gift for my birthday years ago. The whole thing is full of LOVE and literally grounds me as I sit in front of all these cherished gifts.
5-10 minutes is not that much of a commitment! Give it 2 weeks..every single day. I used to just sit on a cushion in front of our windows as the sun was rising. That was actually pretty motivating as well. Sit in front of the daylight or an altar that you make yourself, something that will create a space that will help you quiet your mind. It is PROVEN that meditation decreases stress which is one of the leading causing of disease. I promise you will reap nothing but good benefits if you give it a chance. OM.
Peace and mediation,
PS: Post to come: teach your kids to meditate too!