Mastering the Art of Meditating

I was so excited when I got the email from Oprah and Deepak inviting me to another Free 21 Day Meditation Experience. I promised myself this was going to be the time I meditated all 21 days in a row.

I got off to a good start. Day 1, 2, and 3 went really well. I could feel myself finding the lightness in my life and I was beginning to become emotionally balanced, I’m sure of it. But then I began to taper off and Days 10, 11, and 12 were all completed back to back on the same day. And then…well.

It’s just that meditating isn’t exactly my forte. I want it to be but I don’t really get it. My mind wanders all over the place and it kind of stresses me out just sitting there trying to focus on my breathing.

My typical meditating process goes something like this:

While Oprah gets me motivated with her words of wisdom, I organize myself in a very meditative position complete with thumbs and middle fingers pressed lightly together, face up on my knees (Deepak says I just need to make myself comfortable but sitting like this makes me feel like I know what I’m doing). I close my eyes and take a deep breath. All is well as I follow along with Deepak, repeating what he says out loud to be sure I have it before silently doing it in my head.

Then it’s time to meditate on my own. Deepak assures me he’ll mind the time. I’m good to go at first but it isn’t long before thoughts of all the shit I need to get done begin to fill my head and my heart starts racing. I try to bring myself back with my centering thought but I can’t remember my centering thought even though Deepak just said it. I try to recreate how it sounded when it rolled off his tongue but it vanished. (Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?)

Relax, I tell myself. Stop freaking out. My centering thought will come to me…wait, maybe it’s the mantra I’m supposed to be repeating. Crap! Frustration begins to set in and all the shit I have to do comes flooding back into my mind. Centering thought, centering thought–wait! It IS the mantra I’m supposed to be repeating but the hell was the mantra? I think it was Om something. Deep breath. I got this. How essential is the mantra, I wonder? I think it’s the breathing part that really matters but concentrating on trying to remember my centering thought/mantra surely must count for something. Right?

Namaste? Is that it? No, that’s the end part. I could probably use Namaste, though. At least I’d have something to focus on other than all the shit I have to do and trying to remember my whatever the hell it is. Wait, what if Deepak isn’t minding the time? Inhale panic, exhale panic. Repeat. Maybe I should start over so I’ll know what the mantra is–maybe even write it down– but I can’t start over because there isn’t time. Deep breath. Deep breath. Do people really fall asleep while meditating? Is that even possible?

And then Deepak rings the bell and tells me to open my eyes when I’m ready, (which is immediately, obviously) and I’m not sure if I’ve meditated or had a panic attack but I know I don’t feel very relaxed and I still have a lot of shit to do.

I think that’s probably the reason I’m not very consistent with meditating.

Two seconds after I’m finished “meditating”, my mantra comes to me.

Om Supra Niti Swana

And my centering thought isn’t far behind.

I am guided by my self awareness.

I’m very aware that I haven’t mastered the art of meditating but that’s ok. I’m going to keep at it so that next time the Oprah and Deepak Free Meditation Experience comes along I’ll be ready to give it another go and maybe, just maybe, I’ll complete all 21 days in a row.

And you know what? That counts for something.

Namaste.

A Word to Guide You

“What’s your word for 2016?” the text message reads.

“Still deciding.” I reply.

“Procrastination?”

I text back an emoji sticking its tongue out. I chuckle as my eyes wander to the fridge where CHOOSE A WORD FOR 2016 has been residing on my To Do list for quite some time. I glance at the calendar. Over a week into 2016. Time to get serious.

What better place to find inspiration than the Internet? Sprinkled all over Facebook are images of words people have chosen to guide them through 2016. Some of my friends have drawn beautiful pictures of their word and pasted them on their Timeline. One of my favorite bloggers, Laura McKowen, even posted a video about her word for 2016.

And here I sit wordless.

The truth is I’ve never really had a word for the year, or at least one that I have consciously chosen. Take last year for example. Selecting a word for the year was the last thing on my mind. My two youngest children had gone to live with their father and I was heartbroken. I was just trying to get by until time healed my wounds or until I was able to accept that life had become what it had become despite my best efforts to make it the life I thought it should be.

Ultimately the Universe chose my word for 2015. It ended up being Survive.

2016 is going to be different. This year I want to chose a word that will point me in the direction toward the life I want to lead, the life I choose to lead. I want my word to inspire me and catapult me to new and awesome places.

Okay, maybe not catapult me but at least shift my focus.

So much of 2015 was spent focusing on what I didn’t have instead of what I do have.

Focus

Maybe I should choose that for my word.

Focus is a good word but since it’s something I struggle with in general, I probably shouldn’t set out to spend 365 (well, 356 now) days attempting to incorporate it into my daily life.

I continue to scroll through Facebook searching for inspiration.

Inspiration is a good one but a little open ended.

Abundance, Grace, Forgiveness, Truth 

These are also good words but none of them resonate with me enough to commit to putting them into practice for an entire year.

I come across Laura McKowen and Build again.

Build is a good one but I just got out of survival mode so I’m probably not ready to build anything just yet.

Love, Happiness, Faith , Purpose 

With so many possibilities to choose from, I instantly become overwhelmed and it’s clear to me why this task remains on my To Do List.

I take a deep breath. I assure myself it’s all good. I close my eyes. A word pops in my mind and I realize it has been the word I have been telling myself over and over again lately.

GRATEFUL.

That’s it!

Grateful

That’s my Guiding Word for 2016.

I want to feel grateful this year. I want to be grateful.

Grateful for Every.Single.Thing.

I want to be grateful for all the blessings in my life, both past and present, and show thanks for both.

I want to be grateful for all that I have instead of wishing I had something different.

I want to be grateful for whatever comes my way and instead of second guessing it, embrace it.

I want being grateful to be where I begin.

I want to be grateful right here and now.

So I am consciously choosing to be grateful throughout 2016.

Because Grateful is where I need to be.

 

What’s your Guiding Word for 2016?