Give up on meditation. Seriously. Just do it. Hang up your hat and walk away from the small pillow that promises peaceful presence but instead leads to back pain. Say goodbye.
Meditation is hard. It can be infuriating. But when I ask a client how meditation is going, or what their experience with it has been, no one comes back to me with “it’s hard and I fucking hate it” when I know that at least 80% of my clients feel this way. Meditation has become the thing that everyone slogs through in pursuit of higher consciousness, peace of mind, happiness… it is the golden ticket, but it isn’t the only way.
I used to sit in meditation everyday. And when things started getting busier in my life, when meditation would serve me best, I just couldn’t get there. I mean, I’d get on my pillow and plaster the most yogic face I could muster across my face, but behind the calm exterior was a raging maniac! My mind was racing all over my to-do list, the friend I wanted to reach out to, the blogpost idea that needed to be written, the way I would have liked to have had that conversation I had 3 days prior… So I’d sit there and wrestle with my mind for exactly 15 minutes, and then walk away feeling even more out of alignment.
Om shanti shanti. Or something like that.
Until one day I called bullshit. As I was reflecting on my morning routine, I pulled out my Core Desired Feelings (CDMs). CDMs are developed through Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Mapping strategy. CDMs are my guideposts for decision-making these days. I use them as a tool to make choices, and to diagnose pre-made choices (in this case, adding meditation to my morning routine). I desire in my life to feel full, still and radiant. And meditation was taking me as far away from those goals as one could imagine.
I started meditating because it’s the thing to do. I continued to meditate when it was hard because it is THE thing to do to find presence, a concept I was striving to actualize as I waged war against my brain each morning. My CDFs gave me clarity in this moment. They allowed me to take a step back and analyze my situation from a heart-centered place. Did meditation feel radiant to me? Still? Full? No.
This answer then begged the question: then why the heck are you doing that to yourself everyday? And further, why do you choose to start your day in this emotional state?
Raise your hand if you’re an analytical type? Raise your hand if you’re a dreamer? Both these types of people and everyone in between has a tendency to use their brains pretty much all the time.
We’re raised to refer to logic to find the answers, and these patterns of behaviour are hard nuts to crack. So let’s get back to basics. Are there other ways that we can practice mindfulness?
Let’s call it “Laying the Foundation for a Meditative Practice”. All of the following exercises are designed to distract your body while cultivating more awareness around our thought patterns… or the way we speak to ourselves. Try them out without the distraction of music or friendship and see what you discover.
1. Go outside. Reuniting with nature can reconnect us to the feeling of oneness that can be achieved with meditation. It has a way of calming our minds, re-focusing our goals and clearing our heads. We don’t need to hike Everest or push ourselves at all- simply laying in the grass can do the trick. I love to sea-gaze from the beach.
2. Move your body. Turn on some beautiful music and move your body to it. Or join up with some meditative dance groups. Try out something like Qoya- you can check out some free videos here.
3. Paint. Or draw, or write. Or garden. Do something that gets your hands busy and witness the clarity you can find in sketching that left eyebrow or tugging that weed out.
4. Better yet, paint with your left hand. This is my favourite. It delivers the double whammy of distracting your hands and providing clear focus on a singular activity while at the same time forcing your mind to work in new, challenging ways. The result: studies have shown that it can dramatically increase your self-control. It teaches us to bring consciousness to everyday activities. You can even try doing everything with your non-dominant hand- open doors, eat… anything you do automatically with one hand.
So the next time you find your brow furrowed as you strive your way to peace on a pillow, take a breath and try out some of these activities for a few weeks, or for a few years. Don’t be afraid to approach any of this stuff from where you are now and choose your approach based on how you want to feel now.
I desire to feel still, full and radiant… and for me that means taking the alternate route.
Pssst… did you know that I’m offering a Desire Map Workshop on June 6 in Ottawa, Ontario? Join me for this epic day of soul-diving and celebrating! Learn more here.
It’s been just under a year since I took the leap and put out a Craigslist ad looking for coaching clients. And since then, I’ve been working on and off with varying amounts of fear and commitment to get this little lady off the ground.
In November, I made the bold choice to really take things up a notch and signed up for Mentor Masterclass, a year long coaching mentorship program. And in this short month, I’ve already learned a lot about commitment, consistency and ritual.
I’ve had a lot of resistance to the idea of consistency, and particularly the word “commitment”. I’m new in my biz, I’m trying new things. The idea of being consistent in anything while I’m in discovery stage feels off to me andfocused on the external benefits – you’ll grow your list, get more engagement, and attract more clients. All very awesome, but all very external and in the end, not particularly motivating for me personally.
Mentor Masterclass is not fooling around; it requires a significant amount of commitment. As I was coming up to January, I was feeling tense. I have a lot on the go right now. I lead a full life. I have amazing sister-friends, I have a wonderful partner, I have a job I work 30 hours a week at, I’m writing my Master’s thesis, and I’m hustling at this coaching gig. The idea of squeezing anymore in felt like GACK impossible.
And yet, here I am a month in and all I feel is more spaciousness. This week, I booked four new sessions with four new people, pushing my limits even further.
1. Preparation. It all started with those tense moments in November and December when I started freaking out about time. A shift was in order, and I started visualizing: a life full of spaciousness. Freedom of self-expression. Spaciousness to receive whole-heartedly. Spaciousness to grow. I also started shifting my mindset to make space for learning with this new venture on the horizon. Having the time to go to the calls and do the homework is one thing, setting clear intentions around creating space to learn and integrate is quite another.
Rituals include: Commiting to a meditation practice. Journaling consistently about how I was feeling and my fears. Creating affirmations and intentions and integrating them into daily activities (commute to work, washing dishes, etc.).
2. Action. Making space means… actually taking action to make space. When we think about our barriers to success, we can usually categorize them under two themes: external issues and personal attitudes/beliefs/behaviours. The hours in a day are unchangeable (for now!) but my personal attitudes, behaviours, and beliefs are what dictates what I can accomplish in those hours. So, I had to do some shifting here. I started making daily commitments to myself based on this singular question: What would make me proud today?
Rituals include: Writing down and posting my commitments publicly every week. Waking up an hour and a half earlier in the mornings. Doing the hardest shit first.
3. Self care. When your days become fuller and longer, you need to make sure you’re still meeting your own needs, otherwise what’s the whole point of this journey? To work hard for a week and then fall back into old patterns, racked with guilt? Nah, hard pass on that one.
Rituals include: Dropping the caffeine. Practicing gratitude. Moving. Drinking water. Practicing more reiki. Sleeping 6-8 hours a night. Yoga-at-home.
And the outcomes of all of this? SO MUCH SPACE.This is the mind-set shift that needed to happen to create more ease in my life. I acknowledged my fears. I decided I was willing to change. I opened myself up to receiving guidance on that change. I have followed that guidance with consistent action aligned with how I wanted to feel. With that I have let some things go and allowed others to shift.
I’m writing my thesis with a new sense of purpose- I think about it everyday and write everyday. My coaching business kicked up organically. I am working on coaching every single day. I am growing my knowledge everyday. And more importantly, I am acting in alignment with my coaching every single day.
Consistency of action- or rituals- have pulled me into a flow that I thought impossible three months ago. And that flow builds into higher and higher vibrations that guide me to my next aligned action. And that is the internal motivation I needed to get consistent. That is the motivation for fullfilling my daily and weekly rituals.
Do you desire more spaciousness? Let me know in the comments and let’s see how we can cultivate that together!
PS- Did you like this? Use the share buttons to pass it on!