My meditation practice has varied over the years.
I started with just a simple chime meditation timer app on my phone that I learned about from a woman I worked with from India. She was also the one who introduced me to using coconut and sweet almond oil as a moisturizer.
I have transitioned over time to Headspace, which I have liked to use on long car rides (as the passenger), airplane trips, or just spare moments of angst, but I didn’t really make a practice of it for a long duration. I’ve also used Insight Timer and Calm at home or when sitting in the sauna at the gym.
I have enjoyed the duality and functionality of these apps, but as of late, have just used more of a prayer/journaling time and reading a daily devotional as my meditation time.
When I take a walk, more often than not, I decide not to bring a device along, and just work to be present with my body and my thoughts. (There are some weird ones! Does anyone else see a couple walking by and have to visualize them having sex? Me neither.)
I truly see the benefit of getting quiet and being mindful. I realize that many people numb their thoughts and self-ideas with alcohol, food, work, sex, men/women, social media, drugs, shopping, television—you name it.
I am striving to not be that person. I have been abstinent from drugs and alcohol for 22 years and work daily to minimize things in my life that take precedence over my values and spirituality.
Many years ago, I worked in a Unity Church. This is a self-proclaimed Church for people who are spiritual, but not religious, and I definitely fit that bill.
I loved that church and the joy I felt there. I had walked in afraid, and “anti-religion,” and warmed up to them pretty quickly. I had a young son and began volunteering in the Sunday school and eventually got hired on as the Youth Director.
It was so cool to be able to light a candle to symbolize to children that there is a Christ light inside of them, and share that we all have this light inside. We would go around the circle and take turns praying for our friends and family, sharing gratitude, and singing songs.
We had a yoga teacher come, and we walked a labyrinth instilling values and meditative principles and the joy found in getting quiet and contemplative. I went on retreats, and one time, even met Gary Zukav of the Seat of the Soul, who had been a guest on Oprah many times.
Today, I learned of a newer app called “Simple Habit” that someone was raving about. I haven’t recently been using any of my meditation apps, so I downloaded it.
I did a five-minute starter breathing exercise and then there was a little quiz to find out my “wellness score.” I scored the lowest in my mind (out of mind. body, spirit) and it gave me a 15-day wellness plan to help.
There are a variety of different categories and topics to meditate on, and the meditation instructor actually introduced himself at the beginning as if I was on Peloton, so it felt less formal—more friendly—and you can choose specific people to guide you in your practice. I am actually pretty excited and looking forward to trying it out. I needed a change.
Whatever you choose to do to become more in alignment, I think it is the intention that counts.
Taking the time to check in and become in tune with myself and our creator really fills that void for me that I looked outward to fill for too long. I always thought a new outfit would do the trick, or a good meal, but I would still feel empty after the excitement of the purchase wore off. I even went to Debtors Anonymous to learn how to stop racking up credit and to stop spending impulsively. This has been a real struggle for me.
I recently took a class about mindful eating (Mindfully Nourished 2.0 from Eat to live daily), and she discusses the teaching of Debbie Ford, while recommending her book, The Dark Side of the Light Chasers. I am halfway through the book and the premise is about owning all of the qualities in ourselves. She states that most of us have qualities that we have hidden and shoved down so that no one else can see them.
I am learning that these are the qualities that we most likely hate or despise in others. The things that annoy and perturb us in others are the very qualities that we own in ourselves—the ones we don’t want to allow to see any light.
She advises to think of a quality that would make you angry if someone posted it about you in the newspaper. For example: “Melissa is dumb,” “Melissa is Fat,” “Melissa is Lazy,” “Melissa is stupid,” “Melissa is self-righteous.” Which one would get a rise out of me? That’s the one I need to get to know in myself. If it doesn’t trigger a reaction, it probably isn’t an issue.
The book is interesting, and I am glad to have been introduced to it. It falls in line with the inner child work I do in Adult Children of Alcoholics, and the mindfulness practices that I work to develop and create in my day-to-day.
I am definitely a work in progress and love to learn more.
Feel free to let me know what practices have worked for you and how you incorporate a daily meditation or mindfulness practice. I would love to cultivate a discussion on ways to get quiet and introspective in this wild and crazy world we live in.