Meditation. The #1 tool in my natural alignment toolbox. My go-to, my sanity, the doorway to my highest self, the most beloved prescription in my medicine cabinet. For me, meditation is a non-negotiable… but, don’t let me fool you - it wasn’t always that way…
Resistance to silence
Isn’t it wild to think that we are so accustomed to constant stimulation that even the idea of sitting quietly with nothing to think about, look at, or talk to, makes us anxious? The thought alone will onset fear and resistance.
This was me. Meditation? No freaking way. That sounded like my worst nightmare.
Coming from a background of anxiety and an obnoxiously judgmental voice inside of my head, meditation always sounded like my own personal hell. As an extrovert blessed with an active, constantly-over-analyzing mind – the last thing I wanted to do was sit down all alone to invite my mind to run crazy. The worst thing I could do would be to let my negative thinking have free reign to consume me and create a panic attack.
When you ave no other choice
However, as most of us on a soul-searching journey can relate - I hit my breaking point. I had fallen into a life that wasn’t happy or healthy and I felt defeated every day. I had gotten to the point where I despised everything, my internal dialog was incredibly toxic and I gave the middle to finger to pretty much each one of my relationships (of course behind the closed-doors of my house because as a natural people-pleaser, I couldn’t dare show anyone what I really felt). It was miserable, it was messy and my dear husband was there for me through it all – he is truly my hero. He saw my downward spiral and I am sure felt overwhelmed and frustrated among many other things. Needless to say, this downward spiral came to a point where I broke down. Quite literally begging to “God/Universe/Anyone” to help (mind you, this is coming from a gal who at this time was not religious or spiritual and pretty skeptical of all that jazz). I was waving my white flag - yes, I muttered that exact phrase between the sobs of one of the most intense moments of my life. After a few hours of mental and physical break down I sat in silence and encountered my moment of change, my epiphany.
Barely scratching the surface of my 30’s, I realized that low and behold…
I was actually in charge of my own thoughts.
My thoughts were not in charge of me.
It was the simplest realization, but one of the most empowering moments I have had.
Give it a whirl
And from that moment, I promised myself that I would do whatever it takes to change my life on my own, naturally, without medication. Please know, even before this, I was also a huge believer of natural medicine and believer that our bodies are amazingly powerful if we nourish them in healthy ways, we can overcome almost anything on our own (and sometimes with a little help from our beloved Mother Earth’s plants). So, the last thing I wanted was to be medicated for something I believed deep in my being that I could overcome (or at least wanted to give it my all).
**Disclaimer: Let me be the first to say, I am a HUGE mental health advocate and by no means am knocking the use of drugs when needed, I am simply sharing my personal story and background and beliefs in how/why I found meditation.
So, long story short – I slowly began my journey. I first found yoga, which I quickly fell in love with. For those of you who are yogis, you know that yoga is a form of meditation, so my traditional meditation practice followed shortly thereafter. I am not sure that I can recall my very first meditation, but I started doing research on the huge proven benefits of regular meditation practices. Now, as you can remember from the beginning, the last thing I wanted to do was sit with my thoughts. However, I had declared that my thoughts would no longer control me, so I dove in head first (pun)…. scared shitless.
How the heck do you even meditate?
First and foremost, I was nervous I wouldn’t do it right. The “new” me, or should I say the authentic me, would laugh at this old thought, but it was a legit fear of mine (fitting in had always been so important to me). Soooo, let me soap box it a bit more for you on this thought of the “right” way to meditate:
Everywhere we look there are rules, do’s and don’ts and ‘should’s screaming in our face all day every day. No wonder people have anxiety and depression because there is a “right” and a “wrong” way to do absolutely everything! There is a right way to use social media, there’s a wrong way to dress at a wedding, there’s a right way to raise your child, there’s this there’s that, SO. MANY. RULES. and judgement of us – constantly. For those of us who are empaths and have the urge to please, we are always making sure we are doing everything just “right”. Truly, it is exhausting and not to mention impossible.
Stop. Seriously stop the madness! The key to meditation is there is no RIGHT way. There is not a single being on this planet who has your human body, mind nor spirit so nothing will resonate the exact same for someone else. If there is one thing that I can emphasize is - stop worrying about doing it “right” and do what works for you, what feels good for you – ESPECIALLY in meditation. <Steps down from soap box>.
Okay, that’s all great I get it, but HOW?
I started with five minute guided meditations. Good ol’ Google. Five minute meditation for stress relief. Five minute meditation for anxiety. Five minute sleep meditation. Google it – it’s out there – someone has done it. I found guided meditations easier to follow to give me something to focus on. Even though I was listening to someone tell me what to focus on, my mind still rushed in the second I closed my eyes, “muahahaha now I’ve got ya”. “NOPE! Remember friend of mind (see what I did there?), we are friends now. We are actually the best of friends now and we are going to work together towards a peaceful life.” Through meditation, one of the biggest lessons I have learned is grace and ease of my thoughts. You will never stop your thoughts. Ever. But what you can do in meditation is learn and practice how to detach from them. This thought also scared the crap out of me because who wants to be thoughtless? That’s not what it means. What it means is that you start to realize exactly what I sought to conquer – your thoughts do not run you. You can learn to pass on thoughts that no longer serve you.
Make it your own
My approach to exploring my journey is to try it all and see what resonates with me. And I continue to mix it up daily because I am a creature that hates monotony (blame it on my Sagittarian self). I do guided meditations, I do chakra meditations, I do sound healing, I do timed meditations, I incorporate crystals, I channel my spirit guides, I burn palo santo, I go to group meditations, I have tried walking meditations, I incorporate hand mudras, I practice with my mala necklace, and yes, I do meditations silently as well.
Needless to say, meditation is the one tool that I emphasize above all others. On my self-discovery journey it has helped me find my true authentic self and brought me so much more inner peace, acceptance and love. I could talk about all the great things it has brought me, but perhaps my truest testimonial is when I told my husband about a year into my journey, “man, I am happier in our marriage and in my life than I have ever been. Thank you for being so awesome and helping me.” His response was eye-opening to me. He said, “I know, but I do have to tell you that I have done nothing. You are the one that has changed and it is great to see you so happy”. My heart is fuller and more content than I have ever been in my entire life and I attribute so much of that to meditation. The absolute best part of it all? The only thing you need to do this is your beautiful self. That’s it. So will you join in with me to witness the amazing benefits our meditation practice allows to our body, mind and soul?
Please know, you are so incredibly capable of living a life you truly love and meditation is one tool that can help you get there. I will close with my absolute favorite quote on the subject of meditation:
Buddha was asked, “What have you gained from meditation?” He replied, “Nothing! However, let me tell you what I lost: Anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity and the fear of old age and death.”
Until next time! Sending love and well wishes!
My podcast on meditation.
Insight Timer - Free meditation app. Super intuitive to use. Find me on there and we can connect! Taylor Short
Calm - another meditation app.