November 4, 2012

<A decade ago>

Meditation always seemed like such a good idea.  I always had the best intention to start my practice.  I just never really had enough time.  You know, I needed a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning.  I had to check my email first.  I needed see what was going on in the world, so I turned on the news.  The dishes really had to get done before they piled up.  Etc., etc., etc.!  All of a sudden, it was time to go to work, so I’d run down the stairs to start my day from this hurried pace, promising myself that I’d try it again ‘tomorrow.’  Sound familiar?

I had read about meditation & it seemed like something I should do.  I felt a draw from deep inside to experience the release in my mind & body, which were very active.  I mean, really, who wouldn’t benefit from calming one’s thoughts & focusing on breathing, that has so many benefits for the body?  So, I had a light sprinkling of disjointed meditations.  The truth of it was, I found that when I tried to practice meditating, my mind was so busy that I usually spend the entire time thinking about how I was thinking.  This did not feel ‘right.’  In fact, it felt like the antithesis of I was trying to achieve, which was some kind of ambiguous, “higher,” blissful, peaceful state.  While I wasn’t necessarily expecting to levitate, I did expect something magical to happen.  I didn’t feel at all successful & as y’all know with most things in life…when you don’t feel successful, you don’t usually want do them.

So, meditation ended up on the ‘I-should-do-that’ mental Roladex.

<Years pass.>

I started teaching dance & my life started to change.  When I reflected on why this experience was so powerful for me, I realized that when I danced, I was completely lost in the moment.  For an hour, moment upon moment, that was all that existed.  Thoughts about the day disintegrated, stress melted away & I found myself 100% present.  An amazingly exhilarating feeling.

<Then, everyday life would continue on.  Thoughts of past & future would often times drowned out what was happening in the present.>

The longer I danced, the more I realized that there was a disconnect between the way I moved & the way I was living.  This is the realization that lured me back to the idea & practice of meditating. It has taken time to make it habit & I am proud to say that I now practice meditation most mornings as I ease from my transition between blissful sleep & the waking world.  (By the way, I really like to use my Meditator phone app; the Tibetan bowl is my fav way to start & end my practice!)  There are periods where I fall out of the habit (kinda like flossing, right?) & have to remind myself to start again, as I have experienced the positives that come out of doing it regularly.

Here’s what I have found: First off, you get to let go of notions of  ‘right’ & ‘wrong.’  Really.  All meditating consists of is being still, breathing consciously & accepting yourself where you are at in that moment.  You get to let go of the ‘shoulds’ & expectations & just notice where & how the heck you are.

Some days I still have monkey mind, where my thoughts are going a mile a minute; although they usually do slow down if I can just sit & breathe.  Most of the time, I connect more with myself & notice where I am holding tension in my body-liscious.  Usually, I check-in with how my heart is feeling, whether it is full or contains pieces of emptiness that I need to attend to.  I also do have times when I actually achieve a blissful state of harmony within my heart, warm & radiating.  What I have learned, though, is that I cannot expect this.  All I need to do is just show up, be still & breathe. And, whatever happens in the meditation, I always feel better when & after I meditate.

Meditating, like dance, has changed my life.

As we all know, life has it’s craziness.  As Talib Kweli so beautifully expresses, it is truly a “Beautiful Struggle”.  There are experiences & people that will throw us off in addition to the amazing, wonderful, gorgeous things that come our way. When we know how to breathe, clear our minds & come back to our center, we can deal with life in a way that feels true & grounded.  We can call on our heart of gold even more fully, when we need it, if we have cultivated it in moments of peace.

Wishing you a beautiful moment from this to the next…

In peace & love,

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