So, this is something I would have never in a million years dreamed I would be saying, but I have gotten really into meditation, and it really, truly has changed my life. Before you hit the gas and hot tail it out of here, hear me out. My therapist mentioned meditation to me this past summer. I see a Christian therapist, and was raised in a very conservative Christian home. This shows you how little I knew about what meditation was before this, but when she first mentioned it to me my thoughts were “blasphemy!” (Not really, but sort of, kind of that’s what I thought). Before this, if you had asked me what I thought meditation was, I would have told you “uummmmmm it is… sitting in a Buddha pose, and clearing your head of all thoughts…. ummm I dunno?” So very wrong, little Julie. What I’ve learned is that meditation is learning about being present. About recognizing if you are having a really anxious day and your thoughts are all over the place. Or maybe you are having an ok day and it is easy for you to just sit, be present and focus on your breath.
So what do you do during meditation? I am not the kind of person who can sit perfectly still for any length of time without anything to focus on. I have been doing guided meditation, where you listen to a person talking to you. (I am very new to this, so if you are an experienced meditatererer, let me know if I am saying something stupid). The two types of guided meditation I have been doing are body scans and guided imagery. Body scans: you focus on your breath and the person talks you through all the parts of your body, from your head down to your feet so you can focus on any pain or whatever sensation you might be having in that part of your body. When I started doing this, I realized I carry a lot of tension in my neck and jaw (hence the migraines I often get). The whole goal is to again, be present, when your mind starts to wander, which it will, to gently bring it back. It is all about being able to be present in real life when anxious thoughts start to make your mind race. Does this make any sense? I feel like I am talking in a different language. So that’s body scans, next up is guided imagery: the person talking guides you through a scene. For example, I’m sure this is where the term “go to your safe place” or your happy place comes from. You really are creating in your mind a calm, tranquil place where you can go to to put away worries and anxieties.
I’ve mentioned “being present” several times. Meditation has really helped me to achieve being present. Tt’s not having to check my iPhone when I get to a red light, and instead just being able to sit and be still and focus on how am I doing, and how am I feeling today. It is about 100% being where you are. If you are with your friends, be with them, not on your phone, not worrying about this or that.
So if this post has made any sort of sense, which hopefully it has, and you are interested in meditation, here are some resources to help you get started.
Goodbye Worries CD on Amazon (Big, big fan of this)
FragrantHeart.com free online guided meditations <—- I would start here with some of the 1 minute stress relief meditations
Meditation 101 (Disclaimer, some of the tracks on this CD are weird, and not the type of meditation I am in to)