Around and around and no sign of an available parking spot within ten blocks of my house. Normally, I avoid putting myself in this situation, but tonight it had to happen – we needed toilet paper and other supplies for around the house. My immediate reaction was to tense up and wonder how long I would be driving around. Then it hit me. It was quiet and peaceful in my car – no baby, no dog, no email, and no husband. This is a rarity in my life these days. So, I decided to meditate. I like to call it driving meditation. While I drove around my neighborhood trying to manifest a parking spot, I began to quiet my mind and follow my breath. It was pure bliss. The result – a peaceful finish to my busy day, creative ideas for work and a calm, clear mind ready for bed.
Five years ago, this evening would have ended with me in a stress ball unable to fall asleep.
I was first introduced to meditation during a yoga class in 2004. At the time, I was an over-thinking, controlling, type-A kind of girl. Sitting still and quieting my mind seemed impossible. I became very curious and wanted to figure out if meditation could work for me. It was 2008 when I attended my first meditation class. I hated it! My head was spinning, I felt dizzy and I knew I was doing it all wrong. I asked the teacher when it would become easier and when the dizziness would go away, but she simply replied, “It may never be easy for you and the dizziness will likely always be there.”
I wanted my money back. Why was I here if I wasn’t going to get better? However, I couldn’t give up. I knew I needed to learn to manage my stress and my overactive mind. So, I searched for another teacher. Thankfully, I found one who was willing to hold my hand, guide me to embrace my overactive thoughts and taught me to observe with curiosity rather than judge my thoughts. And with time, I was able to establish a mediation practice that works for me.
Fast forward to the birth of my son in 2011. I now officially have no time to meditate, considering I have barely any time to shower. I did what every mom does; I got creative and started to meditate in untraditional ways that fit into my schedule. Gone were the days of sitting quietly, uninterrupted in a peaceful space. I chose to nurse my son, which meant hours of quiet time and in most cases just the two of us. I began to meditate every time I nursed him. And it worked. With each evolution of my son’s development, I have to find a new way to fit meditation into my life.
Thankfully, toward the end of my pregnancy I was introduced to Jon Kabet-Zinn’s book, Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. What I love about this book is that the chapters are short and one can be read each day. More importantly, he pointed out in Part Three’s section, titled Parenting as Practice, Parenting Two, and Some Pitfalls Along the Path, that meditation must grow with us and in certain phase of our lives it needs to look different. He shares the example of raising children and encourages showing compassion toward your practice as it evolves during all phases of your life.
Have you been interested in meditation but not sure if it’s right for you? Well, I highly recommend it and invite you to try this simple practice to start.
Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor.
Close your eyes if that feels comfortable.
Begin to notice your breath as you inhale and exhale.
There is no need to change the pace of the breath, just notice the flow.
Your mind may begin to wander. Rather than fight it or have judgment, be curious and then return to your breath.
Inhale and exhale focusing solely on your breath.
Sit for one minute.
Each day add a little more time, working slowly up to five, then ten and longer if you wish.
Now, of course, as always, I want to hear from you. Go ahead and give meditation a try and let me know how it goes for you. Post a comment below to share your first experience with meditation.
Your contribution could be the very story that inspires another reader to take action.
If you found this helpful, share it with your friends.
P.S. For all the busy parents, this practice can be done in the bathroom if needed. ; )