One, seven, thirty. 180. 365. Days. 365 days; one year.
I did it. I knew I was capable of reaching my goal, but had imagined it being more trying. Yes, some days I did not want to make the time for it, but I did. Other days I did it for longer, sometimes even twice. What began as an experiment became a lifestyle.
M E D I T A T I O N.
On January 30, 2016, I began my first of three hundred and sixty five days of mediating. To say that this initial trial has changed my life is an understatement. I now look forward to meditating. It emboldens me to begin my day in a positive light. If I am in a funky mood, I remove myself from what I am doing and find a quiet place to breathe. I have done this on trains, on airplanes, while waiting in line, and while walking in Kensington, London and in Manhattan.
As I have mentioned before, meditation equips me to stride through anxiety and daily stress. Meditating is not sitting chanting to a gong surrounded by Buddhist monks, although it can be if that is your style. Meditation is what you make it. The bottom line is that you “stop for a moment to be fully present to your inhalation and exhalation, […] recalibrating your nervous system.” Meditating “sends your body the message that it is not being attacked, it is not in danger, and is well nourished, well supported, and calm,” says Kelly Brogan in her avant-guard book, A Mind of Your Own.
There are various styles, strategies, and practices easily accessible to everyone. I use the Headspace app, and am also an avid attendee of Manhattan’s MNDFL Studio (which has a new Upper East Side location!). MNDFL also recently launched an online service through which you can access a legion of techniques. As more light is shed on the discipline, more resources will become available.
Regardless of what your 2017 resolutions may be, and where you now find yourself in life, I encourage you to experiment with mediation and see what works for you which may not be the same as your BFF or sister. You may be more interested in sound baths and breath work, or may just like to follow a guided meditation (I mentioned some great guided apps in my last article). Being open to this venture allows you to find your way — possibly through mediation, or astray toward which meditation leads you. Each passion in which we become engrossed opens a door to discovering; we learn from everything — nowhere is truly astray. My journey toward meditation began with my interest in a healthy lifestyle, which led me to yoga, literature, and subsequently working on my mind.
We are all on our own journey and strive to live feeling our best. Sometimes this trajectory is straight, while at others it is jagged. As Andy Puddicombe wisely affirms in Headspace, “let’s say that I could show you how to never experience sadness again, would you like that? […] The only condition is that you would lose the ability to laugh as well. […] They are a package, you can’t have one without the other.” You are not an outcast because you engage in bettering yourself. Go for it. Dare yourself to love the life you live — you may find that you are capable of doing so so much more.