I meditate. At least three or four days a week. My goal is daily.
Meditation is part of my work on relationships, with anxieties. With shame. With the habit I’m intent on wiring permanently. “respond, don’t react,” i.e., “mindfulness” into my head.
Respond, don’t react was “given” to me, a gift, from Frannie, of Marty and Frannie, my friends who took me in when I left home. Frannie teaches Yoga and rescues incredibly cute dogs. Marty, a practicing attorney, counts the days until they can start their next chapter, together.
While staying with them, anxious over a lunch planned with my youngest daughter, Lexi, Frannie told me to try to respond, don’t react. I repeated the phrase, over and over. Lunch could have gone better, it wasn’t a crash and burn.
I meditate using the app, “Headspace,” brainchild of a Brit named “Andy Puddicombe”.
First the app introduces you to the basics of meditation. Then you choose the part of your journey on which you want to work. There are tons of threads from which to choose.
For those who’ve never meditated, the goal is not to sit for twenty minutes without thinking.
On Headspace, you’re guided to focus on your breathing. Then physical sensations around you. In the process, thoughts are going to interrupt you. You acknowledge them and then you return your focus.
In the anxiety thread I’m working on (surprise) Andy discusses being so caught up in anxiety and worry or recognizing anxiety as a feeling, a thought.
He likens the difference to standing in the middle of a rain storm, versus watching said rainstorm through a window.
Boy, that resonates with me.
Scientific studies prove that through meditation, you can change your neural pathways, the very way you perceive the world, through meditation. The change occurs slowly, over a long time.
I figure twenty-minutes a day is a small investment in me.
The first time I dipped a toe into the swimming pool of meditation, I was seventeen, and in boarding school. A hippy boarding school.
A few of us went into town, to the Transcendental Meditation “Temple,” which I think it was in back of a bead store.
I still remember how I felt after that first experience. I walked out into the sunshine and for a fleeting moment, looked at the world differently.
I didn’t keep up with meditation. I didn’t prioritize it. Now I do.
I realize there is not one single agent of change in my life. I recognize it will take a spectrum of strategies to reach nirvana, which in my case, is “mindfulness”.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll meditate and wait for what storms may come my way, through the window.