Monday, October 6, 2014

{Monday Inspiration} And Breathe...

Fall has already been with us for about two weeks now and I. Am. In. Love. Autumn has been my favorite season ever since spring started attacking my senses long ago. There's just something wonderful about the chilly air that makes you want to cozy up under a blanket, jacket weather, boots, and all that gorgeous foliage.

For me, the new season also signals a chance to start anew. I don't know if I'm still in sync with the school season where September would bring in new supplies, new friends, and the feeling of starting fresh, but it's always been an interesting time to check in, be introspective, and see what improvements can be made. This season I've taken on regular meditation and signed up for a local yoga studio. In order for things to stick, I have to make them as easily accessible as possible. I'm a lazy bum and as soon as I can make an excuse to quit a new habit, trust that I will. (Why is it so hard?!) Heights Meditation is a small donation-based group that meets every morning just a block and a half away from my house. I'll roll out of bed at 6:45am and walk over for a half hour session of beating thoughts off with a stick (without judgement, of course). Some mornings are calmer than others (and I admit to having skipped out two times when I was just too afraid to sit quietly with my monkey mind), but I think the effort really counts. I know it will take a long time for me to be fully present the entire session, but I do get snippets of quietude every morning.

When that little Tibetan singing bowl signals it's time to ease back into the day, I have a smile on my face because that ringing sends heavenly sparks shooting through my temples and I have created a little more distance between me and whatever might try to overwhelm me in the coming hours. This is going to sound cliché, but it feels so good and peaceful knowing that I have more space between me and my hectic surroundings. It gives me time to think before reacting because I don't feel like I'm constantly sinking under. It allows me the space and permission for foresight and presence of mind.

Meditation and yoga go hand-in-hand and if I was going to begin this journey into mindfulness  one I'd been really curious about since reading Dan Harris' book 10% Happier  I wanted to go all in. Mind Body Soul Yoga is a few blocks away and now serves as my noontime break. I'll finish my morning shift and walk over to the boutique studio to stretch away any stress that might have built up since meditation that morning. It's almost like a rest stop in my daily mental health journey and one that's resulted in more even-keel-feeling days. I'm no longer racing through 12 hours fighting off anxieties and daunting thoughts, feeling absolutely exhausted by the time the evening comes around. I'll get my mind right first thing in the morning and then reset it again before beginning my afternoon work.

Granted, my body is still getting used to the early wake up calls and I'll easily pass out at 10pm, but I feel better. Not only am I not incessantly nagging or frustrated by every little thing A. might have neglected around the house (which is working wonders on our relationship) or want to hide under the table when works gets annoying, but I love that I'm doing this for me. I told myself that if I didn't want to go to therapy to control my anxieties and panics, then I needed to invest in my mental health some other way. That first day in class, while lying on my mat with my eyes closed, I thought, "Wow! I can't believe I'm carving out an hour and a half out of my day just for me." And that was quickly followed up by, "Are you kidding me? That's nothing compared to all the time you spend for everyone else!"

I don't know why it took so long to accept that I deserve this nook of time. I'll be sure to let you know how my journey into mindfulness unfolds.


  1. You deserve some "your time" - and Yoga seems like a good way to mellow the jangling -- I've been trying Tai Chi - I used to do Yoga - just fell out of the habit!

  2. Yay for you for prioritizing your mental health by making meditation and yoga a part of your day. I've been interested in meditation for years, but it wasn't until this year that I made sitting daily a habit (I hear ya on the lazy bum business!). Mostly it was because I wanted to share what little I know about meditation and mindfulness with my students, and I realized that I had to have my own daily practice before I could share it with others. Meditation is still a frequently frustrating experience - sometimes my thoughts don't slow down at all - but I've experienced moments of clarity, which is encouraging.
    It makes sense that this time of year encourages introspection and reflection - the harvest is done, the fruits have been enjoyed, and it's time to take stock and think about what might make next year's crop more bountiful.

  3. I do Pilates which helps to put me in a calm state. I normally start my day off w / positive affirmations and or scripture & quickly journal my actions for the day, such as" I will not overeat at the office part" :) This technique really helps me to stay calm & focused. I unwind at night by doing a few more Pilates or Yoga stretches b4 bed & use my essential oils to rub on any pressure points. So far, everything is working.


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