Let's Just Pause
In the midst of a pandemic, one of the best things we can do right now is just be still.
What a weird time this is. The other day, my kids were asking if there's ever been an event like this in my lifetime. I thought back to the whole Y2K freakout, and I don't remember it being this intense. Maybe I was out of it because I had two kids under three years old at that point. Maybe I just wasn't as aware as I am now. Maybe a combo of both.
But, ya'll, this is weird. Like some serious straight-out-of-the-movies-zombie-apocalypse shit.
I've noticed that some anxiety will creep into my body when I'm not paying attention. Because right now, I have to really hold myself present and work at not getting caught up in the hysteria. With so many moving parts in my life (three kids, a granddaughter, a boyfriend, a business, my family...), I find myself playing a virtual chess game with COVID-19. And my first move to keep my sanity and my immune system ramped up?
You've heard me talk about it before, and you'll hear me mention it again for sure. Because it's that valuable.
You might be thinking that you've tried meditating before and it was just too difficult. Or too boring. Or who actually has the time for that, anyways? Now that we all have a little extra time on our hands, this is the perfect opportunity to give it a go.
With so many different ways to meditate, there's really no reason you can't just sit and chill for even 10 minutes each day. Here are some meditation techniques to try while you're spending more time away from the world.
How often are you actually present in an activity?
We multi-task, half listen, and lose focus easily. Doing something mindfully is easy but challenging.
You don't need anything fancy, no special equipment or props. Just be in the present moment. Washing the dishes, petting your cat, gardening, and showering. These are just a few examples of daily activities that can turn into your meditation practice.
Keep your attention on what you're doing. And when your mind drifts somewhere else, bring it right back to the action.
A type of mindfulness, moving meditations generally happen, well, when you're moving. Whether you're walking on the beach or through a labyrinth, strolling through your neighborhood or dancing in your bedroom, focus on the way the earth feels beneath your feet, the way your arms sway, the sensation of your clothes against your skin. Again, when your thoughts go somewhere else -- and they will! -- bring it right back to the present moment.
Here the internet and electronics can be helpful tools for your meditation practice.
Search up "guided meditation" and you'll find a plethora of options. When I searched those key words in Spotify, the first playlist that came up had 32 different guided meditations on that one playlist alone. You have a bazillion choices on all of the different platforms. Find a comfy spot to sit down, grab your headphones, and keep your focus on the words being spoken.
I like using a mantra in my meditation practice because it gives my mind something to latch onto.
Not to say that I can't internally chant a mantra and continue to think of something else. I used to think that kind of mental multi-tasking was a good thing. Not so much anymore.
If you're interested in chanting a mantra in Sanskrit, be sure to find the meaning before you jump in. Just because it's in a different language doesn't mean you should just grab one that sounds good and go for it. The energetic benefits of the Sanskrit language are more than I'm going to go into right now, but there is a definite link between the translation of the words and the pronunciation of the mantra itself. Not feeling the Sanskrit part? No problem. Find a word that brings about goodness and repeat that over and over. Words like "love," "peace," and "contentment" are often used in a mantra practice.
Writing things down in a journal, especially with a free-form type of writing, is a great way to help your snow globe settle.
Find a quiet spot, grab some paper and a pen, and just write. About nothing or everything. No one ever needs to see it, so let the contents of your mind spill onto the pages. Again, when your thoughts wander, bring it back to the moment.
How often do you catch yourself breathing shallowly or holding your breath altogether? I'll bet it's often.
One of my favorite things to incorporate into my meditation practice is just breathing slowly. Sometimes I'll do the pranayama technique called nadi shodhana, or alternate nostril breathing. But sometimes I'll just sit, slow my breathing down, and do my best to stay in the moment. It's a very effective way to chill the hell out.
As you can see, there are so many different ways to meditate -- and so many other ways that I didn't even mention. But don't get overwhelmed with the options. Pick one that resonates with you and give it a try for a few days. If it doesn't seem like a good fit, try something else.
With so many options, you're sure to find the one that helps you relax, even just for a little while. Because hitting the pause button of life is good, especially right now.