I used to think that I had no idea how to meditate, that I was one of those people who could never embrace the practice. I imagined that the only way I would succeed would be to sit in the centre of a huge room, or on a cliff top or empty beach with my legs crossed in some impossible position; this was certainly a feat beyond me in those days! I would have to keep my eyes shut, not be tempted to see anything around me, join my thumb and first finger and rest my hands on my knees. I would be the picture of peace, and of course physically completely comfortable while my mind would be totally quiet.
Impossible, for me anyway…I’m always thinking of ten things at once and I seem to have been born multi-tasking. When I chat with a friend on the phone I’m usually washing the dishes or making a salad. When I walk I listen to radio programs or audios of classes that I’ve missed. When I swim, I practice my stories or think through new ones. Never a moment wasted!
And then a strange thing happened…
It was a few years ago. I had been working like crazy, spending a lot of hours in front of the computer and even more hours talking on the phone, sometimes with a headset and sometimes without. I had reduced my exercise schedule because I believed that I simply did not have the time. I had taken on full parenting responsibility as my partner was spending a lot of time overseas and of course, I really didn’t need any help!
One day, I took the kids (who were really little at the time) to the store to buy them shoes for the winter. With the baby in a carrier, one in a pram and the ‘big’ boy walking alongside, I bent down to help take off a pair of shoes and felt an unbearable ripping sensation in my lower back and excruciating pain. I couldn’t move.
It was soon after we had moved to a new town in a new country, I knew very few people and I was in a shopping mall with three tiny kids and on the floor, tears of pure agony streaming down my face. My big boy asked me ‘mommy, what’s wrong?’ and I managed to just about grimace a small smile and said, ‘Mommies just hurt her back a bit, don’t worry’ while feeling total panic, what on earth was I to do.
Of course, I managed to find help (my amazing sister, a few towns away came to the rescue) and got treatment on the spot for pain and on-going help to restore my back to working order. But more importantly, I learnt a few stunning lessons.
* It is so important to know when to ask for help. There is no shame, there is no issue, just ask and when necessary, hire help.
* Make sure to have a structure or network in place, you can’t afford to get stranded, and you don’t need to either!
* Most things that feel like they need to be done RIGHT NOW, can actually wait. Be realistic about what you can and should do – ‘Super Woman’ is a fictional character, we don’t need to emulate her, we are amazing already!
* Find moments to be quiet, physically and mentally. Find the space and place that works for you. This is really important.
So, now I meditate. It’s not always in the way I described earlier, in fact it’s rarely like that! I wish I had the chance to be on a hill top or deserted beach on a daily basis! Instead I meditate when I hang laundry out to dry. Really, it’s one regular activity during which I can escape my thoughts and multi-tasking, and become still in my mind. Strange as it sounds, things become clear for me when I hang laundry or iron clothes!
I make sure to meet with good friends or my mom or sisters by phone or face to face for coffee and a chat. I make it a part of my schedule as important as my business development meetings or coaching sessions.
And most of all, Yoga is a routine practice for me, not just classes but what I call my Yoga thoughts. Just being quiet and conscious of my breath, while I’m driving the kids to school or washing dishes, while I’m doing routine work related tasks.
Taking out moments of the day to still my mind and my breathing is what makes the difference between confusion and clarity, physical pain and well-being, procrastination and productivity.
Sounds simple? It is!
© Copyright 2010 Lisa Bloom