My Journey of Meditation
When 2018 started, I had a decision to make. I could continue running my life on autopilot, living in a fog, and feeding the cycle of burnout. It became the norm for the past 15 years but my body, mind and soul finally had enough.
Something had to change.
While most people were out celebrating on New Year’s Eve ringing in 2018, I was laying in bed, head propped up, ice packs on my nose and feeling like my head was going to explode. I’m not one for pain but I promise I’m not exaggerating! I was recovering from a dire surgery to help me breathe again as my sinuses were slowly closing up. During recovery, I wasn’t able to work out and had to be extremely careful with how I moved my body. I was forced to rest and take things slow - something that never came easy to me. EVER.
What really hit me hard was this was the second time I was having this surgery. Why? Because I neglected to listen to my body and take care of it. I was in a constant state of being sick and tired. My body was forcing me to slow down and I had no choice but to listen to it.
I made a commitment to myself that I wouldn’t keep repeating this cycle of burnout.
During this time of recovery I really dug deep and looked inward to see how toxic burnout was for my body. I looked towards my future and realized this isn’t how I want to live my life. There had to be another way! And there was.
It all started with one small step - to meditate every. single. day.
For 2018, I told myself, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing or where you are, meditating will help you slow down. I needed something on a daily basis to remind me to press pause. Being totally honest, I was scared. I thought to myself, I barely have enough time in the day to do everything I need, how on earth will I sit still for 10 minutes and do nothing! I thought it was counterintuitive. But I had to give it a try, so I downloaded the app, Headspace, and gave it a go. At first I was hesitant to use my phone because it’s a huge culprit of getting my mind in overdrive but it’s something I have on my all the time so it’s easy to grab. I turned my phone on silent and started by meditating for 3 minutes in the morning: simply sitting up in bed, crossing my legs, and listening to Andy’s soothing voice guide me towards my breath. It felt amazing! I realized I needed more of that in my life. 3 minutes turned into 5 and then 10. I moved from sitting in my bed to sitting on the floor in my room. It became a place I looked forward to that was just for me. I started to see how beautiful that time was. It was my time. It helped me show up for the rest of the day with a clearer head than I’ve ever had before.
Immediately I noticed how just a few minutes of resting awareness helped me pay more attention to my breathe throughout the day. In fact, I realized how many times I WASN’T breathing in the day. The moment a stressful situation happened at work, I’d literally hold my breathe. How insane!? By simply noticing this, I consciously paid more attention to my breathe in those moments and it helped me stay centered.
About 3 months in, I started observing the connection between my thoughts, emotions, and body. I became aware of when my mind started to wander throughout the day, when I was getting lost in thought and how sometimes, I’d have a thought that turned into an emotion which totally took over my body and my shoulders were on fire for no reason! Literally nothing in my life had changed, but somehow my thoughts made it feel like a complete 180!
PSA: Your THOUGHTS have POWER if you give it to them.
When I realized this, I wanted to spend more time meditating so I started practicing sitting meditation for 15-20 minutes in my living room. This is where I started to really grow. Whenever I noticed a thought, emotion or physical sensation, I’d recognize it and without getting attached to it I’d put it on a cloud and watch it float away. I was practicing non-reactivity and non-judgement, which I honestly never thought I’d be able to do!
Having this time to pause and look inward helped me slow down and notice what was happening without automatically reacting. In the past, I felt like I was in a constant state of reactiveness. If someone wanted to do something, go somewhere, ask for my help, or if a thousand opportunities presented themselves at once - I’d always jump on them. I was reacting to my world and letting it run me instead of pausing and reflecting on what was the best decision to make.
This journey of meditation helped me realize the importance of slowing down and reconnecting with myself. This is where I found the greatest self-discovery: where I learned what was most important in my life and who and what I want to spend my time and energy on.
Believe me, there were times when I didn’t want to meditate one day but instead of giving up, I practiced self-compassion. I remembered the feeling it left me and how precious that time is. So instead of 10 minutes I did 2. I didn’t put a time limit on it because I wanted to keep it flexible. I wanted my new habit to be something I could manage every day.
Creating a new habit takes time and repetition.
It also brings a little level of discomfort. I was putting something new in my life that wasn’t there before so I had to make adjustments where needed. I realized that I didn’t need to spend as much time putting makeup on in the morning and if I prepped the night before for what I needed for work, I could gain an extra 3-5 minutes. And life happens, we travel, unexpected events occur, and that’s okay. It’s how we blend this new habit into our life that makes all the difference. For me, I had a bachelorette party, weddings, and work trips planned for the year which to be honest, I had no idea how I would fit meditating in with this schedule. I had to have conversations with close friends and myself saying how important this is to me and they respected that.
Flash forward to 2019, I can happily say I meditated every day in 2018. I’m not saying this to toot my own horn, but to show that whatever lifestyle change you want to make, it can be made. It’s possible. Show compassion for yourself in the process, get focused, stay committed, and most importantly get grounded in your why for doing it.
If you want to start your own meditation practice, or make a healthy change in your life, know that it’s possible. If you need a champion to guide you towards the life you want to live, let’s make that happen together! I offer 1:1 coaching programs that will get you on your way to making self-care nonnegotiable in your life. Schedule your complimentary 15-minute discovery call today!