10 minutes a day to untangle.
I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. Honestly I found them slightly annoying while I aimlessly searched for an open treadmill across the sea of the brand new avid gym-goers.
Here it is August and I am forever grateful that I sweetened that sour taste for new beginnings that happen to have a January 1 start date. I made a New Year’s resolution for 2016 to start a meditation practice, and as cliche as it may be, it has changed every day since.
I made a simple commitment to find 10 minutes each day to quietly reflect and explore what the word meditate could mean for me.
What’s one more mile?
Surely I could find 10 minutes a day. I made time for my 6 mile runs most days, so I thought of this time as just one extra mile but one where I would be sitting still.
And what a change of pace it has been.
You hear the topic of meditation more often as the science behind the tremendous benefits surfaces along with various tools to help people start and further their personal exploration.
Untangle the tension
Meditation can mean, and in essence is, different things depending on who you ask. And I’ve personally found that to be what’s so fascinating about the entire thing. It can be finding a still mind or focusing on your breath or scanning for sensations.
I think of meditation as defragmenting your hard drive. As a tool to untangle the tension that builds up over the hours, days, years.
What did I have to lose?
It turns out a lot. I’m as they might call “wound tight.” Type-A, perfectionist, Virgo to my anxious, always on time, core.
At the end of 2015 I was in the midst of palpable change. I had shifted my career to spend more time with my small children and those precious, fleeting moments that I craved.
I knew if I could find ways to be more present then I could live those moments with more kindness and patience, which sometimes went missing being at home with young kids. And I’d probably remember those moments I wanted to savor with more clarity, too.
Over the last eight months I have come to look forward to my time that I set aside to be still and meditate. I’ve even added another 5 minutes of meditation time most days. The qualities of mindfulness quietly sweep into my day, and I notice things that I know I would have glossed over or unintentionally ignored.
- I spotted a new freckle on my daughter’s sun-kissed face while tucking her in one night. And then noticed one in the same spot on mine the next time I glanced in the mirror.
- She dots her i’s with the same exaggerated loop that distinctly matches Disney’s idealistic font.
- I felt my toddler son’s confidence as he clutched his sister’s prized baby doll keeping her safe in his arms while she prepared their tea party.
- My runs have a new depth as I notice the way the light casts shadows on the trees or how my feet feel against an uneven surface.
The present moments are the best ones. They warm my heart with a newly discovered glow. And it’s insanely refreshing.
May I softly nudge you to try mediation, too? See what changes.
You may be surprised at the thoughts and emotions that bubble to the surface if you take time to be still.
Ways to start
Know that there’s no wrong way.
Guided meditation resources are friendly places to get your toes wet. Experiment and see what sticks.
I began by downloading the wildly popular app Headspace to my phone and trying their Take 10, which is guided 10 minute meditation sessions for 10 days. The change was real. I felt more peaceful, less anxious, and a greater sense of appreciation.
Calm was another meditation app I tried and liked but opted to subscribe to Headspace in part because I found the explainer videos amusing and partly because the narrater and founder Andy Puddicombe has a British accent. I find accents endearing, and I can’t think of anything more calming than a British monk.
Another place for a slew of free guided mediation recordings that I dabble in from time to time is Tara Brach’s website.
And there are countless other resources to help get you started on your mediation journey. If you’ve found a great one, please leave it in the comments.
Life is a continuous update
Meditation has allowed me to explore growing as a person, a mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend. It has provided a pathway to a happier version of myself.
Now there are still moments that I’m not proud of and I’d prefer to dim the lights on versus highlight. How I reflect on them and what I take away has changed though and ultimately shaped how I experience this life that I am given. The one I have right now.
And 10 minutes a day does a remarkable job.
How do you untangle?
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