When people learn that I teach yoga and meditation, they often assume a few things about me. The biggest and “wrongest” assumption is that I’m calm all the time. I love that! Anyone who knows me, knows that I AM NOT CALM ALL THE TIME! I can be calm, I try to stay calm, observant, and mindful throughout most of my day, but “calm” would not be one of my top self-describing adjectives. Energetic? Spazzy? Expressive? Sounds about right. Meditating can surely be a wonderful tool for stress management and lowering your blood pressure. In fact, I think that my own meditation practice has helped me become a better observer and responder, but it hasn’t necessarily made me calm.
Take last Sunday for example, I was really not happy. Really not happy. Instead of denying myself those emotions (disappointment, anger, confusion, failure), I observed them. I let myself feel them, but I didn’t let them consume me. Back in the day, I would have kicked a hole in a door (yes, I have done that), but I don’t do that anymore. Last Sunday, I observed my emotions and then I “journaled”. “Journaled” is in quotes, because it’s not your typical image of journaling. I was not posing thoughtfully with a quill in my hand and a pensive expression on my face. I just wrote and scribbled (see above picture). It felt GREAT! Both after and during my journaling process, I actually came to a few conclusions.
- Feeling strong emotions is not a bad thing. Letting the emotion control you is when we run into problems.
- Asking myself why I was so angry was a great gateway to reflection.
- Journaling is awesome.
- Journaling was a lot like meditation in that it helped me to let go and surrender to my thoughts, just let them flow.
After I journaled/scribbled and wrote angry rants down for about 10 minutes, I came to a realization. You see, I had been feeling like my lovely children (they really are quite nice human beings) hadn’t been pulling their weight around the house. I felt my husband and had been waiting on them hand and foot. When my eldest got a little fresh with me, I had had it! It was his little fresh remark that threw me over the edge. It was the journaling that helped me be with, observe, and ultimately let go of my emotions and it was after all that, that I was able to respond. That night my husband and I sat down and decided to add a few more chores to the kids’ list. They actually seemed happy about it.
Sadly, there seems to be a whole lot of reacting going on. A lot of people not thinking and just impulsively reacting (think Road Rage, Politics, Twitter…). On a more positive note, this process of observing and responding can be practiced during meditation and Yin Yoga. It can also be applied to real life. It is available to us ordinary human beings.
If you are ready to take a step back from your life, and begin to live a life that is more joyful, try one or all of the below activities.
Take time out daily to observe and reflect. That could mean meditate, it could mean journal, it could mean, really sit down and enjoy your whole cup of coffee (not just the first sip).
Sign up for my Stress Management Workshop.
Go to a Yoga class. It doesn’t have to be mine (although that would be great).
- Do more of what you love. When you are doing what you love, you are being present. You are not worrying about the future or regretting the past, you are grounded in what you are doing at that moment and that is awesome!
- Join my free 7-day challenge where you will receive a daily guided meditation for 7 days. All you will have to do it set aside 10 minutes of your day for 7 days to see what your body and brain are like on meditation. Details to come!