Happy Canada Day lovers! As we celebrate our love for this here fine and fine as can be country, I am taking on a 31 day commitment to meditation. Care to join me?
With my move to a new home, this luxury of leaving work at the end of the day and all the goodness that comes with it, I have been working on getting some healthy habits back into my life, that seem to have slipped away over the last year.
One of those, sadly and unfortunately, is my meditation practice. I used to practice meditation twice a day for twenty minutes as a non-negotiable.
I found myself more conscious through the day, casting less judgement, less interested in gossip or what others were busying themselves with. I had more space, felt more creative and lighter. In short- taking forty minutes out of my day, everyday, to be present made the rest of that day far more productive, creative, calm and enjoyable. But with nightly classes, a less than ideal sleeping schedule which saw me going to bed later and waking up later, my evening meditation practice just before dinner was cast aside and my morning meditation only happened three or four times a week- despite my best intentions.
With my heart set on putting great practices back into practice, the other day I decided to drop in to a yoga class that I hadn't attended in years. I felt charmed to attend as I remember it being this amazing flow- minimal instruction, a room full of people moving to the beat of a live drum. That's what I was looking for- a place to unwind, get lost in my own breath and find some stillness as an entry to my summer holidays.
I have walked out of four yoga classes in my life- and remember each and every-time for every-time I did, I felt weak and defeated for leaving. This week I almost walked out of my fifth.
I went to class with an expectation of a certain type of class, a certain flow and I wanted to feel a certain way. That was my expectation.
The first thing we were told was roll up our mats and put them to the side. In this packed room, the instructor asked the drummer to stop for a time and put on music as we were instructed to spin in circles, crawl across the floor, walk backwards on our hands and feet and then proceed to move through a standing series on the plain wood floor. I was frustrated and contemplated leaving, asking for a refund- explaining that this was not what I had expected.
But something stopped me. I felt that this was the practice. This was what I needed to be practicing- acceptance for what is, releasing expectation and finding a place where I could simply accept and appreciate what was. I remembered a lesson I got from Dr. Ha when I lived in LA that Love is Appreciation without Expectation. I remembered something my yoga teacher in LA, Bryan Kest, always says- "That we don't come to yoga to strengthen our frustratedness". And I remembered something my very first meditation teacher told me- "That if we make no 'appointments' we shall suffer no 'disappointments'".
The message was clear to me. The practice of finding peace and love in challenging situations is what meditation and yoga teach me every time. These two things, beyond diet and other forms of exercise, I truly believe are what keep my own disease out of my life.
And so I let go and after about an hour of the two hour practice,we fell back into the routine I had expected- we rolled our mats back out and continued to flow through the yoga practice. And at the end of the class I did feel amazing. Our teacher took a moment at the end of class to explain what the class was about- that yoga was not about postures and sequences but about a state of mind. Joining the mind and body and joining together in the space. That any practice can be 'yoga', as long as we practice with breath and with presence- whether it is the standard hatha or vinyasa yoga, riding a bike or doing the dishes.
I have come to realize that my morning and evening meditation practice offer me more than sending those 'important' emails or getting that 'thing' done. I am hereby comitting, over the next month to put my meditation practice back in to regular practice and I hope you will join me in any way, shape or form that you can.
The Month Of Meditation Challenge
Committing to each other, we will bring a minimum of 20 minutes of stillness into every single day. I encourage you to journal your experience and share it with me in any way you should choose- by posting below or sending us feedback.
In order to heal, to calm down and create the space inside for the magic to happen, we need to learn how to reprocess some stuff. And this is HUGE! Even harder than changing our eating habits is changing our thought habits.
You can tell me that you have had a rough day. You can tell me your woes. You can do so in a state of anxiety or dis-ease and I can tell you “Chill out, relax, it will all be a-okay in the end”. That really isn’t going to help you out in the end unless you really truly know this and believe it.
That my Zen Master Nutrition Lovers is where meditation comes in.
Speaking from my own personal experience, more so than any changes in diet, I do believe that my regular meditation practice has made all the difference in my life- from the way I am able to process stress, communicate in my relationships choose the foods that I eat and most importantly for me- maintain perfect health!