Meditation—Just Do It

Do you know what I believe to be the best meditation practice? The one that works for you.

That’s it.

As I go deeper into my personal meditation practices I have been reflecting on my own meditation journey. I know with certainty that I had to start small and start easy. That’s what worked for me.

Perhaps, another method will work for you. That’s awesome. Embrace whatever works.

If however, you are like me and think small and easy is the answer I invite you to try meditating for just one minute a day. Give this a try for a day, or a week, or a month. Then reassess and see. Are you content staying at one minute? Or would you like to try a little longer?

I started my meditation journey with just one minute a day. It wasn’t long before I tried 2 minutes, then 5….

Over the years I have experimented with various types of meditation from guided to breath work, body scans, mantras, and recently have even been exploring death meditations.

In the beginning guided meditation is what worked for me.

I am a huge fan of the free app Insight Timer. You can easily use filters to find meditations based on length of time. You can also narrow searches to specific themes.

One of my favourite teachers is Robin Rice. She currently has 14 one-minute meditations to get you started.

https://insighttimer.com/robinrice/guided-meditations/1-minute-meditation-indulge-in-self-care

Another early option I tried was short mantra meditations. It can be a challenge for me to get out of my head. Focusing on the words of a mantra has been a great tool for me.

This is one of my favourites and just six minutes long

https://insighttimer.com/gordonburnham/guided-meditations/om-mani-padme-hum-buddhist-mantra-slash-kirtan

If you prefer silence, simply setting a timer and focusing on your inhales and exhales is a fabulous option.

Next week I will share some of the benefits of meditation, but this week if you are willing, I invite you to just be curious and explore some meditation. Embark on a little experiment and see what feels right for you.

Namaste

How Well-Resourced Are You?(and how we can work on that this weekend)

How well-resourced are you? I love this question. This is a question I first heard while working through a course led by Mark Walsh.

Often our society celebrates the ‘work hard, play hard’, ‘go big or go home’, ‘all or nothing’ type attitude. But does that ethos help or hurt?

By Mark asking participants in his courses how well-resourced they are, it allows people to really stop and think. Some days on a scale of 1-10 you might be an 8, while other days you might be a 3.

Neither answer is right or wrong. It just is what it is. Any place you fall on the scale is part of our human experience.

Things that might contribute to us not feeling well-resourced could be—not getting enough sleep, working overtime, feeling ill, relationship stress, or financial worries.

Sometimes the things that keep us from feeling well-resourced can be big, such as trauma. Some of the things can be out of our control, such as a loved one facing a serious health issue.

When we look at how well-resourced we are and apply it to fitness expectations (or even life expectations), is it reasonable to always expect 100%?

If you are feeling a 2 on the well-resourced scale, is a power yoga class really the answer? Maybe for you yes it is, but maybe not. Maybe a gentle practice will actually be of more benefit. Maybe skipping a class and getting some sleep would be even better.

The good news is that by starting to think in terms of how well-resourced we are we bring self-awareness to our ever-changing situation. We can also start to collect information on the things that help us feel more well-resourced and try to incorporate them into our days.

For me, it is the simple things that help me feel well-resourced including

-getting outside in nature

-tuning off the TV earlier and getting more sleep

-eating more fruit

-staying hydrated

-putting on some music and dancing

-making time for meditation

When I take the time to make these things part of my day I feel better, no matter what else might be going on in my life.

I have found that thinking about how well-resourced I am also helps to foster self-compassion. If I am a 3, I can lower the expectations I have for myself, be kinder and gentler with myself, and spend some time on activities that nurture and nourish me.

This weekend I encourage you to think about how well-resourced you are. Then, make a list of the things that contribute to you feeling well-resourced. Finally, see if you can add one or two of these soul nurturing things into your days.

Make a great weekend

Namaste

Letting Go of Regrets (and starting to trust the timing of your life)

A week ago I saw tweet from a woman in her 30s who despite having a good education had found herself back in her hometown living with her parents and working a job that barely paid for life’s necessities. She expressed concern that she was not meeting the milestones in life like she had thought she would. She said she felt like a failure as an adult.

Like many others who saw her tweet I assured that she was not a failure and that there are no ‘right’ timeline for people. We all have our own journey and that may not look like the journey of our friends, family members and neighbours.

I shared with her how when I was in my 30s I was insecure about my lack of education and that I was fortunate to be able to finally pursue one. I shared how it wasn’t until my 40s that I started my own small business.

It could be so easy to get locked into inner dialogues about the what-ifs of doing things differently. However, that would serve no purpose.

Last weekend a memory came up on my Instagram (photo above). It was when I graduated from my yoga teacher training three years ago. I have been practicing yoga for decades and had often thought about, and even looked into becoming a yoga teacher. Yet, I didn’t.

This is another thing where I could chastise myself about for not doing it sooner. However, when I look at the photo I am reminded of the wonderful, kind instructors I had, the other inspiring students I met, and my frame of mind at the time of that training.

If I had done it years ago I wouldn’t have had the experience I did. Connections I made in that training have led me to other things that I may never have heard. I was meant to connect with the people I did. It was the right time for me.

If you have come across this and have sometimes felt like the woman who wrote the tweet, may I also assure you. There is no perfect timeline for a life. You are not a failure. You are good enough – just the way you are.

Eating My Frogs (no actual frogs were harmed)

I first heard of the concept of ‘eating your frogs’ through the Brian Tracy book, Eat That Frog.

The idea comes from a Mark Twain quote “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

With this idea Brian Tracy encourages the reader that a key to being more productive is to tackle those frogs first thing in your day. He claims that by ‘eating those frogs’ early you gain a positive momentum to your day. Likewise, once your most difficult task is done everything else is relatively easy.

Another idea Tracy shares is how often, by putting off ‘eating our frogs’ it means that we end up spending so much time thinking about it, dwelling on it, and fearing it.

I have found this in my own life. We all have frogs that we try to put off- whether it is a phone call we have to make, a workout we keep putting off, or a chore that needs to be done.

Often we find those ‘frogs’ become so much bigger in our head. When we actually deal with them they are so much easier than we have imagined. Dealing with them also gives us a confidence boost.

This week my frogs were tech challenges that needed to be done to launch my very first online course https://livingskyyogafitness.ca/online-courses/

Learning new technology is definitely a challenge for me. Yet, with each ‘frog I eat’ I find I am learning, and gaining confidence in my new skills.

This weekend give a little though to what your frogs might be. Then see if you can commit to eating just one of those frogs this week.

The more I ‘eat my frogs’ the more I find I am learning to love my frogs. Maybe I will start ‘kissing my frogs”.

Some Days Are Just Bad Days (and that’s okay)

Yesterday, I started writing a post entitled, New Year, New Possibilities. It was positive and upbeat. However, partway through my writing there were a few interruptions and things that needed my attention.

At some point I began to feel drained. Then something a little more happened. My heart began to flutter, my chest felt tight, I felt sick to my stomach. These are not feelings I usually have.

I tried to walk it out. I stepped outside for fresh air. I sat with my plants and meditated. After a bit of meditation I did indeed feel better. Yet, throughout the day feelings of unease and anxiousness returned.

Eventually, I surrendered. I knew I was not going to be productive and gave up any expectations to be. Instead I baked cookies. I put on music. I had a bath. When dinner time came I decided I didn’t want to cook dinner, so I didn’t. Instead I made a sandwich and popped frozen French fries in the oven. I spent the even listening to an audiobook, then finished my day with a guided meditation.

Today I woke up feeling refreshed and inspired. Today any frustrations or anxiety I had are gone. I feel myself again.

Bad days happen. That’s okay, especially right now as we deal with the second wave of the pandemic.

Bad days happen, even though it is a new year and all around us we see the promotion of new goals, new opportunities, new possibilities.

I promote all those ideas. Yet, life is more than optimism and positive thinking and some days we will have bad days.

So be kind with yourself. Nurture yourself. Nourish yourself with activities that you enjoy.

Sure there’s lots of things we want to do in 2021, but we can do them tomorrow when we’re feeling a little better.