26 November 2013

10 Ways Meditation Is Changing Everything For Me

I have talked a lot about meditation here and I think I mentioned that I started the Oprah/Deepak Chopra 21-day meditation series a couple of weeks ago. I have to tell you it's been life changing. I share this because I know there are lots of other people out there who are worn down by life, tired, and trying to find a way to put the sunshine back in their cheeks and the spring back in their steps.

When you are in that place it's hard to find your way out, even when people present simple steps you can take to get there. Some times, simple still isn't simple enough. But let me encourage you about meditation. All it requires is that you sit still and listen for a few minutes. It's extremely restful and comforting. I recommend it with all my heart. Here's what it's changing for me.

1) Experiencing moments of deep peacefulness. Sometimes when things are challenging it feels impossible to shut down all the thoughts spinning in the mind, to relax the tight shoulders and make the stomach stop twisting in knots. Through guided meditation I have found deep peace and the more I practice, the faster and easier this happens for me every day. It was amazing to see how quickly I could slip into that place after just a few days of dedicated practice. You deserve this, your body deserves this, your soul deserves this.

2) Waking up in the morning looking forward to the day. I have definitely notice that I wake up with more energy and I have something that I am doing for myself that I really look forward to. I know I'm going that have that fantastic meditation time and how good that is going to feel.

3) Knowing I am taking care of myself. I caught myself a few weeks ago repeatedly saying that if I took better care of myself it would allow me to do more for others. I already do a lot for others and I really need to be better about taking care of myself. That realization stopped me in my tracks and really has had me thinking since then. I need to focus on being my best, healthiest self. That's my #1 job.

4) Having time to focus on my thoughts, feelings and goals. It is so easy to jump up and rush, rush, rush through the day never giving a thought to things more important than going to work, or cleaning the kitchen and driving to errands and to take kids to sports. Instilling that time into my day that allows me to focus on my path and where I am going brings a lot of peace and comfort and direction to my life. I feel WAY more in control of my life and how I'm living it. I like knowing I am being about bigger things than rushing around in menial tasks. This is good!

5) Creating a more calm, pleasant demeanor. I strongly dislike it when I know I am telegraphing frenzy. I absolutely dislike that. I am much happier when I can relate to my world in a thoughtful, articulate, centered manner. I take responsibility for the energy I bring to the world and I want that to be a positive, sunshine filled energy. I like having better control of that!

6) Developing greater discipline. I am recognizing that as I discipline myself in my meditation practice is it helping me to create more desire and discipline in other areas of my life. I feel more able to tackle challenges and they don't feel quite so big. A stronger soul gives me the desire to be a stronger body, a stronger mind...stronger in everything I do.

7) Inspiring me to beautify my life. Having beautiful thoughts translates to wanting more beautiful surroundings. My more beautiful thoughts are definitely translating into more thoughts about how we can improve our home and how we live in it. This of course for me always goes back to simplify, simplify, simplify. It's even inspiring me to change and simplify my wardrobe. Surrounding myself with a small number of really beautiful, lovely things sounds very good to me and inspires me to beautify my world.

8) Guiding me to create more intention and ritual tradition in my life. As I head into the holiday season with this greater sense of thoughtfulness it's guiding me to develop rituals for our family that we can depend on and that inspire us. Thinking more about why and how we do things has me wanting to do things more deliberately and spend our time in activities that are filled with "vital nutrients" for life. Even watching a movie as a family can have deep purpose and meaning. I am thinking more about movies and lessons we can learn this holiday season and making sure we talk together as a family about the characters, their life lessons and how we can apply them to who we chose to be and how we choose to live our lives.

9) Increasing happiness in my life. Seeing all these beautiful things coming alive in my life has increased my happiness immensely in such a short period of time. It has given me back a brighter attitude about life and a sense of more being grounded in life. As I look at things with a more hopeful attitude, I see and appreciate blessings that I have been missing when I have had my head down a bit. Looking up, being hopeful changes everything.

10) Expanding my gratitude and appreciation for life. When things are hard, it is easy to miss out on all the great things around us. I am so enjoying living more simply and appreciating all the little things about life around me. From sweet little moments with The Bug, to a kiss on the forehead from The Man in the morning, to a nice song on the radio or a beautiful rose clipped and brought into the house there is beauty to appreciate and drink in found in every single day. Not to be missed because it won't be coming back ever again in exactly the same way.

To illustrate my new open eyes, all the photos above were taken on the front sidewalk of our apartment building. Guess how often I notice all those beautiful flowers as I whip in and out of the apartment building garage below. Practically never would be a good guess. A few  nights ago as we returned from a long wander around our neighborhood, even though it was very dark, I noticed a couple of flowers and when I went back out the next morning I realized there were dozens more.

I took my camera out and just snapped photos for five minutes. Pretty great views I've been missing. This is what I'm talking about when I say that meditation is enlivening all my senses and the way I live my life. There's beauty all around us if we will just slow down and drink it in. Life is joy but only if we stop to notice it.

all images by kalanicut

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