In the past I would have rolled my eyes when anyone suggested meditating.
Picture me, trying to sit still, but on the inside I would be on fast-forward. In my head I’d be simultaneously making grocery lists, composing e-mail and remembering random details about last night’s dinner or lyrics to the song I’d heard on the radio the day before.
Then when I was going through training to be a coach I learned more about the importance of Paying Attention. It's much easier to make changes in your life if you are truly noticing what you are doing in the first place. When I started paying attention, the idea of meditation kept coming up. You know how sometimes it seems like a theme might keep popping up in synchronicity all over the place? Well, for me, that was meditation. Finally I was like "OK! Enough! I'll try it".
So last October I signed up for the Deepak Chopra 21-Day Meditation Challenge. I liked the notion that if I simply sat still and focused on my breathing 15 minutes a day for 21 days that I would start making new pathways in my brain. Our brains are filled with pathways and wires that contain all our memories and habits. It's like when you start to wear down a path by walking through the grass in the same spot day after day. I learned that those new pathways could be the beginning of habits that could last a lifetime.
I figured that I could do anything for 3 weeks - especially if it was only 15 minutes a day. So I signed up. And surprise! I liked it! A lot. Every morning I would sneak down the stairs before the rest of my family woke up. I would download the morning’s meditation onto my phone. Deepak would tell me the centering thought for the day and he would chat about it for a few minutes. It doesn’t hurt that he has an incredibly calming voice and is so confident and direct in his messaging that it’s almost sexy. I could listen endlessly to him talk about “the infinite field of pure potentiality."
Before I knew it I had finished the 3 weeks of daily mediation. I didn’t have any out of body experiences. But I really grew to like the ritual of being alone and quiet for 15 minutes. So I repeated the 21-days. And I am still doing it one year later. Sometimes I forget a day (or three). And that's OK. And sometimes I have a harder time feeling the stillness. Also OK. It is comforting to know that it is all there for me or anyone to tap into any time.
One more surprise bonus: one afternoon, after a couple months of daily meditating, my kid said to me, “Hey mom, you have been in a great mood lately!" And his sister chimed in, “ Yeah Mommy – you’re more fun!" Apparently meditation can also make you fun. Who knew?