A Promise To My Children

I promise I will listen. I will listen while you talk about toys, video games, ball tag, and anything that is important to you now, so that as you get older, you’ll know that I care about what you have to say, no matter what. I will cultivate strength in listening to you by listening to myself—my body, my heart and my intuition, despite any distracting dialogue that may be running through my head.

I promise to never intentionally make you feel ashamed of yourself. I will never talk down to you, embarrass you, or make you feel ashamed for anything you’ve done. In order to hold this promise, I will work on releasing shame from my own body. I will recognize shame in myself as it rises, and I will release it with tenderness and forgiveness toward myself. I will not be ashamed to share with you, my own stories and lessons learned, when the time is right.

I promise to respect you. I respect your opinions, your feelings, your desires and your needs. Even when they differ from my own, I will respect you and give you space to grow into your own understanding. I will respect you by actively learning how to respect myself—my opinions, my feelings, my desires and my needs.

I promise to be honest; not just with my words; but also with my feelings. I will honor this promise by connecting with myself—being honest with my own feelings and inner dialogue. I will recognize when I have not been present; I will be honest about my absence and honest about my return to awareness.

I promise to forgive you—for anything. I will learn to forgive you by actively forgiving myself—for each moment that I lose awareness—for each inevitable mistake that I make as I learn how to be your mother. I will forgive myself over and over again.

I promise you love. All that I have is yours—physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I will recognize and honor the reality that in order to love you, I must also love myself—wholly and unconditionally. I recognize that whatever I hold back from myself, will be held back from you. I will work to release any and all barriers that inhibit unconditional love.

I promise to let you go. I know that you don’t belong to me. I know that you have been generously placed in my care, and I accept the gift of you with more gratitude than I can hold in my heart. I promise that I will let you live your life. I will allow you to make your own mistakes and move through difficulty so that you can learn who you are in your own way. I honor this promise by learning to surrender. I’ll practice surrender in every moment, every breath, every thought and every feeling. I will accept that life is in motion, and I will not cling to it as it passes. I will let it go—again and again and again.

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Practice Peace

I’m never quite sure what to do with the emotion that rises after these violent attacks on innocent people. I don’t know how to help or how to grieve or how to return to normal life without feeling guilty for still having a normal life.

Another senseless act of violence. Another set of emotions. Another set of fear. Another set of grief for those affected.

Another reminder to love.

To love the people that are easy to love and also those who aren’t.

And most importantly, a reminder to love the person who’s the hardest to love.

You.

There is very little I can do to stop the violent attacks that are happening in the world, but what about the violent attacks that are happening close to home—the violent attacks that are happening in your own body, expressed through your own thoughts and your own behaviors? I’d like to think that I’m not violent toward myself, but when I look closely at the dialogue I choose or the way I react to behaviors that don’t suit me, sometimes it can look like a war-zone. I’m not sure that I can go around wishing for world peace, when there isn’t peace right here, within myself.

There isn’t much I can do to prevent violent attacks on innocent people, but there is a lot I can do to stop the violent attacks that are happening within myself.

To allow diversity. Different emotions. Different thoughts. Different moods. Different behaviors. And to accept each one as unique and special and exquisitely beautiful as it builds a colorful array of variation and rich culture within myself.

To accept. The light, the dark, the deep, the shallow. To accept these varying aspects of myself, and recognize that even the things that seem imperfect lend themselves to cast perfect shadows in order to allow the light parts to shine even brighter.

To release. Release anger, release fear, release hurt, release resentment. And not just to release it, but to transform it into something that will enrich my life. To learn from these things; to alchemize my emotions into something beautiful: from sorrow to compassion; anger to activism; envy to inspiration; and fear to love.

To love. Not just to love the parts that are easy, but to love the parts that aren’t easy. The parts that scare me, trouble me, annoy, or irritate me. There is something there, beneath them, and the only way to find the gift is to love through the shadow that engulfs it.

To learn. And if, despite my best efforts, an attack still occurs, I’ll learn from it. How did it happen? What led to it? Where was I not paying attention? When did I stop listening? How can I get in front of the assault; in front of the build up; in front of the mindless cruelty toward myself?

Practice peace. Peace isn’t a onetime deal. Self-love isn’t graduation. Acceptance doesn’t show up and then stay without being entertained. It’s ongoing. It’s practice. It’s patience. It’s trying again and again and again.

World peace starts with inner peace.

Will you try?

Maggie-Lochtenberg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Maggie Lochtenberg

That’s Okay, Too

I must have been a bear in a past life, because the moment the days get shorter, the nights get longer, and the cool autumn breeze drops just a tad below comfortable, hibernation sounds pretty good to me…all I want to do is retreat, go inside, and drink hot tea until the snow melts…

I write a lot about creating on this blog—putting yourself out there, overcoming obstacles, believing in yourself—you know, manifesting.

But what if you can’t bring yourself to change out of your sweatpants, let alone change the world?

Well, that’s okay, too.

Because sometimes the very best thing you can do for yourself (and for the rest of the world, for that matter) is to retreat, go inside, and maybe just stay in bed.

Stay inside, literally and figuratively, if you can.

If you’re tired, let yourself rest.
If you’re quiet, invite silence.
If you’re feeling like you’d like to dismiss yourself from life for a little while…then do that, even if all you can spare is a few minutes to yourself.

Because when you honor yourself and the way you feel, you align yourself with the big picture—the one that’s so big, you can’t see it all with one glance.

…Maybe you need this time because something big is just around the corner, and somewhere deep inside yourself, you know you need this time to rest up for what’s to come…
…Maybe you need this time because you’re still healing from something from the past, or something beneath the surface and it takes a lot of energy to heal an old wound…
…Maybe you need this time because you’re run down, worn out, or just plain exhausted…
…Maybe you need this time for some unknown reason, and you’ll never know why you feel the way you feel…

Honor it anyway.

When you learn to listen, and then follow through, you’re developing a trusting relationship with yourself. And with that, you’ll begin to feel safe within yourself; and you’ll know that you’re being cared for and nurtured by the person who knows you the best—you. And the other thing that’s great about developing a trusting relationship with yourself is that you’ll have an easier time trusting others, and trusting life in general.

So the next time you catch yourself resisting the way you feel, practice compassion. Don’t reach for reasons or excuses, or stumble over apologies…just let yourself be the way you are. Because the way you are, is better than okay. The way you are right now, is right on time, every time, no matter what.

Now, before you give yourself permission to hunker down with Netflix for the next 3-4 months, there is one caveat to spending quality time with your solitude: Don’t let it become who you are. Don’t let it last so long that it becomes your new identity. Never forget that the shadow days are fleeting; they come and they go; so don’t forget to let them go.

You’ll know it’s time to let your shadow days go when the feeling becomes too heavy or suffocating. You’ll know it’s too much when it feels like your quiet mood has a hold on you, rather than the other way around. Remember, that ultimately, you own the way you feel, and sometimes you might need to take action to usher those feeling through. So honor the way you feel, but if the feeling isn’t serving you anymore, you need to take charge of the situation—shake it off, get outside, force yourself to do something, anything...because winter isn’t supposed to last forever, and neither are those shadow days.

But if you’re listening, feeling, honoring what’s there, but also taking action when necessary, then by all means, get quiet, brew up some tea, and stay inside…and if your winter wardrobe consists of a steady rotation of sweatpants…

Well, that’s okay, too.

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You Are Everything

One of the most unexpected benefits of being a yoga teacher is that, over the past ten years of observing my students—observing their movement as they expand, contract, close, open, stretch and strengthen—I have fallen completely in love with the human body. And not just the physical form, but everything it contains—the beauty within—the emotional, mental and spiritual aspects as they are reflected in physical form.

It doesn’t matter how it moves or how it doesn’t move; it doesn’t matter if it is young or old; graceful or awkward; strong or weak; tight or open. It doesn’t matter what it can or cannot do, or how it compares to societal standards.

It is all perfection to me.

Last summer, I had the amazing opportunity to backpack into a secluded high mountain lake and have nothing else to do for an entire afternoon, except stare at that lake.

It was absolutely mesmerizing.

As I watched, the reflection danced between perfect clarity and distorted images; the water rippled and stilled; ebbed and flowed; and the colors in the sky mingled with shadows and light that displayed an exquisite array of colors—light and dark; dull and vibrant—every color you can imagine. It was like watching a light show on the water. It never stayed the same for more than a breath.

It reminded me of the human body.

Your body, and everything within it, is mesmerizing. Sometimes it reflects back perfect clarity and understanding; sometimes it distorts the reflection. It is movement and stillness, and sometimes both at the same time. Your body passes through moments of light and dark; dull or vibrant—every color you can imagine.

You are absolutely mesmerizing.

Have you ever stared in awe at a newborn baby? The delicate features; the light on their skin; the clarity in their eyes? Would you dare to look at yourself the same way, even if only for a moment?

Could you allow yourself to slip away from the barriers of your mind and the rigid ideas contained there so you can have a love affair with yourself?

To feel your skin, young or old, smooth or rough, and adore it either way?

To appreciate the features of your face—the way they’ve been passed on to you like sacred treasure, holding the history of your family and the generations before you?

To look into your own eyes and see what’s there—the love, the hurt, the pain, the strength, and the deep, deep knowing that you are so much more than what you see?

Could you slip away with yourself, if only for one solitary afternoon, or one deep breath?

Would you give yourself the gift of you?

I hope you’ll see what I see when I look at you.
I hope you’ll see that you are magic; that your body is perfect, in spite of perceived imperfections.
I hope you’ll see that your ‘flaws’ are not flaws at all; that they are what make you unique and special.
I hope you’ll see that you are always and forever changing; that this moment now is already gone.

One brief moment of love for yourself will heal you in ways you could never imagine.
One brief moment of love for yourself will show you the truth;
…that you are more than what you see.

That you are beauty.
Grace.
Light.
Courage.
Strength.
Hope.
Faith.
and
Love.
You are so. much. more. than what you see.

You are everything.

MountainLake

The Magic In You

Within the act of waking this morning, you have started something big. You have set into motion a set of beautifully arranged miracles that will spread like magic throughout the entire Universe. Everyone and everything that crosses your path will be affected.

Yes, you are THAT important.

As you grace the world with your presence, you become a force; your energy spreads, your desires search for their counterpart, and life unfolds to embrace you.

At the center of it all is you.

Every day you have a choice—a million choices—on how to move forward, how to respond, when to stay quiet, and how to act. With every choice, you can either be guided by habitual thoughts, old ideas, fear-based patterns or you can be guided by your heart, clarity and truth.

You have a choice to be guided by a force in you that is so big, so powerful, and so full of magic, yet so simple. It’s the simplicity of it that makes it easy to overlook, and sometimes difficult to recognize. It’s like the keys that go missing, and you search and search only to find that you’ve been holding them all along.

Those keys are your intuition.

And it is with you all the time.

And just like anything, your awareness, practice and dedication to it makes it stronger.

Here are a few ways to fine tune your intuitive pathways and clear out space so you can recognize its presence in your life.

• Care for yourself. Eat well. Exercise. Sleep. These basic components help keep you at an optimal level of functioning. Of course, life shakes things up and you won’t always be able to adhere to a strict and perfect balance; but always, always work toward it. If your body is tired, hungry or overworked/underworked physically, then it will overshadow the delicate and subtle energy of your intuition and make it difficult to feel and hear the truth that lives beneath your skin.

• Clear your mind. Monitor your thoughts. Be selective about what hangs out in there. Is it positive? Is it kind? Is it true? Is it the same damn thought repeating over and over again? Get it out. Bring your awareness to it, so that you can clean house. When your mind gets clear, intuition speaks the loudest, and it’s the only voice you need.

• Understand your emotions. Most of the time, intuition isn’t a thought at all, but a feeling. Get to know the way you feel. Emotions are usually attached to an outside event or physical response. Emotions don’t necessarily warrant action, they can come and go as you allow. A feeling that arises, unattached to any outside force is usually associated with your intuition. A feeling is a call to action; it needs you to listen and respond. Pay attention to the way you feel. Is it an emotional response or is it a feeling that comes from something inside; something deeper?

• Practice listening and act on it. Make a call to the friend who’s been on your mind. Take a rest day when you’re feeling run down. Try that new class that keeps popping into your head. When you practice, intuition appreciates the response and then gives you more and more to practice on. Start wherever you are—what do you feel like doing right now? How does your desire make you feel? If you feel open, spacious, or joyful, then it’s probably your intuition guiding you. Do you have the courage to act on it?

• Trust. Sometimes you may never know why you feel prompted to do what you do. We’re all connected, so sometimes your intuition is in service to someone else. Trust that the messages that come through you are a gift to you, but also a gift to the Universe, and sometimes you will see the purpose clearly, and sometimes you won’t. Trust that no matter what happens you’re right where you need to be, serving on the path you’re meant to travel.

This life that you’re creating with every breath, every thought and every action is your own beautiful creative offering. It is an offering to yourself and an offering to everyone and everything on your path.

Take care of it.
Be selective.
Listen.
Practice.
Honor it.
And be brave.

And if you’re still not exactly sure what intuition is or how to tune into it?

Try.

Your willingness to try is a force so powerful, it’s the only force you need.

Now go and set into motion a set of beautifully arranged miracles that will spread throughout the entire Universe.

Because you are THAT important.

And the world can’t wait to receive the magic in you.

xo,

e.

This post is also the topic of a KSL Studio 5 segment that aired on Friday, October 9th at 11:00. If you missed it, you can catch the replay right here. (If it’s not showing up just yet, check back a bit later…it will be up soon!) xo.

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Indescribable Moments of Perfection

I breathe in, and before I breathe out completely, the moment has ended.

It is another end to another long day.

I have fed, cleaned, changed, cared for, failed, endured, triumphed, loved, enjoyed, denied, resisted, began and ended, again and again and again…

Together we sink into the wide, deep chair that sits next to his crib. His scent intoxicates and hits me like a memory—he smells like heaven.

The moment we settle, I pull him close. Both arms engulf his tiny frame as I pull him against my heart and we fit like two hands holding.

He nuzzles his downy hair beneath my chin and I breathe the longest breath I can contain, because I know, that by the time that breath expels from my body, the moment will be over.

He loves holding his own space already.

He pushes away and sprawls out wide like a puppy waiting for a tummy rub. We enjoy the last few moments of another day together this way.

These are the moments worth living for—the indescribable moments of perfection;

A lover’s kiss.
Morning light.
The scent of rain.
Waves crashing.

These are the moments that remind you that you are loved.

Words can’t quite grasp it; and really, they don’t have to—because you already know. You may not be able to explain it or define it, or even remember the details of whatever it is, or was, or will be. But you know it when you’re in it. You know it when you smell it, see it, hear it, taste it, touch it, and breathe it in like a melody you’ve been in love with all your life. And it’s because of these moments that you keep trying, failing, loving, regretting, fighting, forgiving, winning, laughing, crying and everything above, below, and in between.

It is a glimpse of Grace.
…a slice of light.
…a sliver of recognition.
It is the grandest of all things caught in the quiet; the small; and the tender.

It is the remembering.

The indescribable moments of perfection in your life are the reminders of where you’ve been, where you’re going, and the opportunity to experience it here. Right here. Right now.

Don’t wait for it to come to you.

Call it up in every moment.

Fight for it. Live for it. Breathe for it. Love for it.

This is your life, and within it, is everything. Everything you can imagine, and so much more.

Look inside and draw it close.

Search for the indescribable moments of perfection in the tiniest moments and smallest spaces; in open vistas and grand adventures. Call it up and let the magic of the moment sparkle and shine from your eyes as a reminder to others to search for what belongs to them also.

And when you find it, take it all in, like a long, lost lover;

One inhale.
One exhale.
One more reason to love.

And be grateful.

perfectmoments

Do What You Love and the World Will Love You Back

A few years ago, my husband and I joined some friends for a ski weekend at a resort nestled in a small community. At the end of the day, we gathered in the lodge for good food, good beer and live music. The mood was mellow as we enjoyed the satisfying fatigue that comes after a full day of skiing. The band consisted of a few local folks who likely traded their time playing music for dinner and a beer. It was an eclectic group of middle-aged men dressed in flannel shirts and work boots, and one unassuming woman. (Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name…) As they took their place in the corner of the room, guests continued to talk among themselves.

As the band began to play, the energy of the room shifted. The tiny clusters of conversation that scattered around the room all stopped to listen. As the members synced up with one another, their energy enveloped the entire room and we couldn’t help but be drawn in.

And then this incredible, powerful, woman stepped up to the mic. This woman, who moments before could have disappeared into the shadows, stood with so much presence that even the pause of silence before she cleared her voice demanded full attention.

She began to sing.

Raw. Radiant. Robust.

I was hooked.

The energy of this woman and this band continued to light up the room, and every person was dancing, moving, grooving, and enjoying the power that comes from a group of people who share what they love to do with others.

And that is the key. They were in love with what they were doing. In love with the music. In love with the performance. In love with each other and each of us. That kind of passion and joy is what draws people in. As an audience, we couldn’t help but be in love with them, too. It doesn’t matter if you’re sharing your gifts with 3 people or 30,000 people…It’s about going all in with whatever lights you up, and not being afraid to show your enthusiasm for it.

Whatever you ache for, excites you, brings you pleasure, lights you up, and opens your heart is your thing. That’s your gift; it’s the thing that you are here to express and share with the rest of us. It doesn’t matter if it makes sense or fits in with the norms of society. If you love it, that’s the only sign you need.

And what if you’ve never discovered passion like that?

Keep searching, because it’s there.

Sometimes we deny ourselves pleasure for so long that it begins to atrophy, and we’re not even sure what we want or enjoy anymore. If that’s the case, you’ve just got to start working out those pleasure centers of your body—just like building a muscle, you can build up your relationship to pleasure. Start by indulging in the little things that bring you joy. What would you like to do now? Do whatever small thing is possible at the moment. Maybe you want to eat ice cream for breakfast, or go for a drive just because it feels good to get away. Maybe you want to watch a cheesy movie, or doodle on a scratch pad. Whatever it is; do it like it’s the most important thing in the world—because when you meet it in the moment—it is.

Place pleasure at the center of your day. It doesn’t mean you have to skip out on all of your obligations, just shift your perspective to recognize that your joy and pleasure is critical. It is what leads you to the gifts you have to bring to the world.

And once you’ve found something you love; go all in.

Step through all the fear, all the doubt, all the insecurity and excuses and reasons why it doesn’t make any sense…and share it with the world, because that is when you draw people in and give them the gift of you.

Step into what you love.

Share what you love.

Be what you love.

And the world will love you back.

mandala2This beautiful Sun Lotus Mandala is a wood carving created by my talented friend, Mike Langenheim. Check out more of his work at www.michaellangenheim.com

You Always Have You

I vividly remember the day my husband and I were sent home from the hospital with our brand new, first born, tiny baby boy. The hospital staff required that I be wheeled to the hospital doors while holding our baby, because—gasp—what if I tripped and fell? So, they carefully wheeled me and our precious package to the doors and dropped us off where we were then left alone—alone!—to care for our son. As we carefully placed him in the back seat of the car, all buckled and bundled, we suddenly felt the weight of the reality we were facing—we would be caring for this little person—we would provide all of the loving, caring, teaching, protecting….and we felt completely unprepared. Neither of us had done this before, and for the most part, nobody was coming to show us how.

It’s these big moments in life that teach us that we may not know what the hell we’re doing, but we’re willing to show up and figure it out.

And of course, we did. By trial and error, we learned, we messed up, we learned again, and then just when we thought we had it all figured out, we had another baby—a completely different little person—and started all over again…and then one more time, because we must really love a challenge.

And so it goes…

Stepping into the unknown, finding the light, and then stepping back into the dark again. In and out. Ebb and flow. Start and end. Again and again and again.

The amazing thing is…we survive. We figure it out, we find a way, we get through it. Because we are meant not only to survive, but thrive and flourish and then perhaps, help each other along the way. What’s interesting is that the way it’s done usually happens intuitively. Think about the biggest moments of your life–falling in love, having a child, choosing a life path, choosing to leave a situation that is no longer right for you—for the most part, these moments can’t be learned and prepared for beforehand. It unfolds as you trust your heart and take it step by step.

The one thing you do have is you. Your instincts, your intuition, your inner knowing and your connection to a Divine source, (should you choose to have one). So if you’re ever feeling stuck about what to do or how to proceed, look in, not out. You’ve made it this far, and you’ll continue carving out a beautiful and magical path for yourself based on your own inner truth and wisdom.

All you need to do is be willing to show up and figure it out as you go.

And you will.

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How to Balance Work and Life and Everything In Between

A few years ago, I found myself without a sitter for my two sons, who were about five and seven at the time. I was scheduled to teach my Yoga class at Utah State University, and I figured I could set them up with a movie in the back of the gym while I taught.

About 35 minutes into a 50 minute class, they began to get a little restless and started to wander around a bit. They didn’t leave the room and they remained silent, so I figured all was well.

A few minutes later, the fire alarm went off.

I immediately scanned the periphery of the space and found my two kiddos, standing stone cold and beet red next to the little red box on the wall. One of my students rushed to the main office to inform them of the false alarm, but it was too late; if there is an alarm, the fire department is required to respond. The building we occupied was huge. Numerous gyms, two swimming pools, locker rooms, offices, classrooms…everyone had to be evacuated, fully dressed or not.

In the end, everything was fine and my boys learned what that little red box was all about.

I learned that sometimes the work-life balance can be….messy.

Messy, but do-able.

It doesn’t matter if you work from home, away from home, or if your primary work is being a stay-home parent. It takes balance to make it all work, and balance is never at a still point. Balance is about shifting, moving and compromising; it’s about the give and take; the picking up and letting go. It’s about knowing how to care for your work and care for others; but also care for yourself.

Here are a few ideas that might help make it easier to juggle it all:

Trust. This is a big one. You’ve got to cultivate the trust that, as a family, you’ll be there for each other. You’ll hold each other up and fill in where there’s a need. Trust that life will support you and things will work out every.single.time. …even if it’s not exactly the way you had imagined or hoped it would. Trust that the work will get done, the house will get clean, your children will be loved, and at the end of the day, you will rest and be ready for another one.

Be Present. In order to maintain some small amount of order in the chaos, practice being present. Whoever or whatever is in front of you deserves your undivided attention; and your attention might bounce from one thing to the next as rapid as a ping pong ball, but each moment deserves your unbroken focus and awareness. If your mind is scattered between twenty things at once, you might end up feeling fragmented and broken, and whatever or whoever is on the receiving end of sparsely scattered attention will only be partially fulfilled. Give all of you to whatever is in front of you, even if it’s only for three seconds, and both you and the receiver will be felt, heard, seen and appreciated.

Fill up. Another key element to juggling the work-life balance is to fill your own cup. That means you must do whatever you need to do for yourself to feel replenished. The moment you feel drained or depleted, that’s your sign that it’s time to refill. For some, that might mean taking the entire weekend away from it all; for others it might mean taking a few minutes to be alone or going out for an evening with friends. Figure out what it is for you, and do that thing. It’s not selfish, it’s essential.

Forgive. Do I practice all of these tips, all the time? No. That’s why one of the most important things to remember as you juggle work and life and everything in between is forgiveness. Forgive yourself daily, because you won’t always get it right, and you can’t expect anyone else too, either. Forgive yourself and forgive others, because ultimately, we’re all in this together, and you’re doing the very best you can.

Add joy and pleasure. Add joy and pleasure to your life like it’s your job. Seriously, it is as important (if not more) than anything else you do. This one is hard, because there’s this idea floating around that pleasure and joy only come after the work gets done. If that rings true for you, untangle yourself from that belief system. You don’t have to go crazy or do anything elaborate; just do one tiny little thing each day that brings you pleasure—don’t wait until you feel like you’ve ‘deserved’ it, because guess what? You’re alive, and you got up this morning, so you already deserve it. Go do something wonderful for yourself. Right now is  a perfect time for that.

At the end of the day, balancing life can be messy, but it’s also a fun and crazy ride full of twists and turns, ups and downs, growth, surprises, and moments of pure magic. The never-ending mystery of it all is worth every second. Enjoy the ride.

…and for a quick glimpse of my magical, messy life as I prepare to teach my yoga classes, take a look at my latest Instagram post. You can check it out right here.

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Photo: Unbrelievable

How to Meditate Without Driving Yourself Crazy

There is no doubt that a regular meditation practice can change your life. It teaches you to tune in and understand yourself in ways you never thought possible. It strengthens your inner resolve to become a conscious observer of whatever comes up—both internally and externally—and opens up an unlimited source of inner space and peace.

It seems simple enough—just sit and breathe—but there’s this unruly, free-spirited influence called the mind—and it loves attention. When we try to ignore it, it just seems to get louder. Sometimes it helps to have a bit of direction, so here are a few tips to help make it more do-able:

  • You can practice anywhere, anytime, for any duration. And you don’t have to sit still. The important thing is that you’re comfortable, so if sitting in a pretzel position on the floor isn’t your thing, try a different position. And if sitting still makes you feel crazy, try a moving meditation instead. There are no rules, so be creative in your approach.
  • It’s important to recognize who’s in charge. I know it might feel like your thoughts are running the show, but truly, it’s the other way around—you have the power to control your thoughts—and meditation is a great way to get them organized and under control. Take a moment to observe your thoughts; if you’re observing them, then you can see that they are separate from ‘you’ as an observer. When you recognize the distinction, you can determine which thoughts you choose to keep and which ones you want to release. Furthermore, when you separate yourself from your thoughts, you’ll see that you can meditate on the essence of you that contains your thoughts, rather than be swept away by them. You can still meditate while there is some thought activity still going on—you’re just not getting wrapped up in whatever story is playing out.
  • Your mind loves to be busy, so give it something to do. Select a mantra (a word, phrase, or sound repeated to aid in concentration), or you can simply count from 1-10 over and over again. Using the counting method, the idea is to start back at one again when you notice that your thoughts have started to drift. (When I first started to practice meditation, I never made it past four). You’ll notice that in the beginning it’s hard to get the mind to stick to one thing—it’s sort of a free spirit—but meditation is about disciplining the mind so that you can use it as a tool, rather than the other way around. It’s just like anything else; it takes time and practice to develop strength and discipline—so keep trying.
  • It might help to think of your thoughts as creative little sparks of imagination, (sort of like little kids). Without direction, they dance and bounce all over the place, but once they gain a bit of focus, the possibilities are endless. So be kind and patient as you work with your thoughts. Politely ask them to settle down; give them some direction, and keep working on it. You may have to redirect your focus 30 times in two minutes—that’s okay! That’s why it’s called a practice, and it does get easier.
  • Another thing to keep in mind as you start a meditation practice is that you don’t have to try to figure anything out, or try to seek peace, because inner peace and wisdom is your natural state. All meditation does is help you slip into that natural state, which is sort of hiding beneath the static noise of the mind. As you practice, you’ll open up more and more space and you’ll realize that the peace you crave has truly, always been there.
  • One of my favorite methods is to just let it be. Rather than allow your mind to take center stage, simply allow it to remain, but turn the volume of it WAY down, so that it’s like a soft murmuring of noise far off in the distance somewhere. Then place your direct focus on your breath, your body, a mantra, or whatever you choose as an anchor point.
  • And, if in spite of all your efforts it still isn’t working out, simply try again later. Next time, maybe try a different time of day or a different approach. Whatever you do, try again.

The important thing to remember about meditation is that it is a practice and it does get easier. Let go of what type of experience you think you should be having or how it should feel—because if you get stuck on an idea of how it should be, the experience might make you feel even crazier than before you started.

And stick with it. Even if it feels like nothing is happening during the time that you actually spend meditating, it is having an influence on the rest of your life. Your intention to simply be present with yourself sends a powerful energetic vibration to the Universe, letting it know that you’re ready to expand your consciousness. Give yourself permission to experience whatever comes up and accept that your process is perfect in whatever way it manifests for you.

To help get you started, I’ve added an audio recording of a brief 3-minute guided meditation. I hope it helps. You can listen to that right here:

 

Also, I spoke about this topic on  KSL Studio 5 recently. You can watch the clip right here. I hope it helps.

I’m sending loads of love your way; happy meditating!

e.

Meditate