Do You Meditate? / Question of the Week #28

photonow When a new friend asked me, "Do you meditate?" my first instinct was to fudge a little (like I do with the dentist --- um yes I floss almost every day, I mean week, I mean every day a week before I come for my check-up).  I'm a yoga instructor, it's practically expected we be good meditators. But at that time I did not meditate.

I'm a terrible liar, so I was honest.

"Not really, should I be?" (What I really meant was I am getting desperate--do you think it would help me?).

Early attempts to slow my life down had resulted in what I would call a firestorm of ideas. As I physically slowed down, my mind and creativity speeded up. The possibilities of what I could do, should do, felt compelled to do with my life suddenly seemed never-ending. Yet fleeting. Oh, they'd be burning passions for a week or two, and then I became distracted/fascinated with something else and those ideas would not seem doable anymore.  As my enthusiasm would wane, I'd move on to the next thing. Even I grew weary of the constantly changing directions.

The thought of Mindfulness & Meditation scared the bejeezus out of me.

In truth I had begun to feel overwhelmed by my own mind. And the thought of meditation scared me. What if I couldn't do it right? Be still, clear my mind---are you kidding me? At that point quieting my mind seemed pretty much an impossible task.

Looking back I can see that I was so stuck in a rut of worry not knowing my next step and not having a job, that I could no longer hear my own inner voice. It might have had some smart things to say to me about letting go of the control I was grabbing tighter onto. Of letting life happen instead of trying to make it happen. (Opposite advice from what I once remember giving Sadie.) Weird.

All that stress, worry, "noise", expectations for myself, and guilt that I wasn't bringing in any income began to fuel my huge need to figure it out, FAST ---so all that ruminating only added to my racing mind. I needed time to think.

I needed to meditate. But meditation in the way I thought it had to be done, quietly and in stillness, would not have worked for me. So I resisted meditation.

And then it found me, in a GROOVE dance class.

Group dance has never been my thing, I have two left feet when I step on the dance floor ---IF I am trying to follow someone else's steps that is. GROOVE is all about adding your unique movement to music. A common simple step here or there is shared by the dancers, and the creative expression is ours to add. There is no right or wrong way to do it. Perfect for a person like me who is zumba challenged.

Talk about mindfulness. I found my personal ticket to a calm mind is moving my body to music. It is my form of meditation.

My joy of dancing somehow got tucked away with my rollerblades and softball cleats. GROOVE brought it back to me. And it has had the added bonus of calming my mind, clearing out the clutter and giving me back my voice. I'm so happy to be listening to me again.

What do you do to meditate and cultivate mindfulness in your life? /Question of the Week #28

Everyone can have their own version of a mindfulness practice that works for them. So what works for me may not work for you. If you aren't sure how to calm your mind, do some experimentation. Try a GROOVE or yoga class, try doing it the traditional way and sit still, or listen to a guided meditation, pray, take a walk, sing, gaze at the stars, find something that works for you. Just find it fast.

Clarity is a necessity.