For a long time, my mornings went a little something like this — wake up to the sound of my phone alarm, a rush of panic washes over me as I start to think about all of the things I have to do that day, roll out of bed groggy, hop in the shower and scramble to get out the door. Sound familiar? I think it’s a common occurrence to not give ourselves the time, solitude and reflective quiet it takes to properly start our days. I’ve remedied this in more recent years with earlier bed times, earlier morning alarms and some AM exercise, though it wasn’t until recently that a friend got me on board with the power of morning meditation.
For a long time I thought of meditation as something only a zen monk or yoga teacher could have the patience to practice. My mind is always running a mile a minute, how could I possibly sit still and be present for 5, 10, 20 minutes? For this reason, I never gave it a chance and continued to use my other morning practices as my own form of “meditation” (which is a viable option too, so long as you’re doing them with a clear mind). Somewhere around the beginning of the summer I downloaded an app (which seems slightly contradictory in hindsight) to test drive the real thing — sitting comfortably to guided meditation first thing after I woke up in the morning. As it turns out, all of the expectations I had for what you were supposed to be able to “achieve” during meditation were just that — expectations — and there really is no rhyme or reason to it.
The main thing I’ve learned from my beginning stages of this practice is to never chase your thoughts. It’s something I typically do all day long as a natural worrier and perfectionist, but somehow tacking an analogy onto it (one session compared it to running out into a street of traffic with cars headed in every direction) has made it much easier to be aware and just observe my thoughts as someone standing on the sidelines instead of sprinting after them. Thoughts come in and out of the mind spontaneously, and it’s our job to just let them go the way they come.
I think meditation can be done at any time of the day when you’re feeling overwhelmed, but as all things go, starting your day with the practice sets the tone for a mindful and considerably less frazzled day ahead. I think it’s certainly a skill that needs to be practiced given our societal pressures to go, go, go, but I can feel the difference in just these past few months of taking the time to understand that chasing thoughts is quite useless, not to mention stressful. All we have is the right now, and letting go of what we think we should be doing at any given moment is a powerful tool. If that reminder can come in the form of a quiet 10 minute session each morning, I’m all about it. —Jessica
Morning time; the time when I feel most energized and calm, the most sacred part of my day. Even if you aren’t a morning person there is something to be said about the power of the first few hours of the day. The beginning sets the tone for what’s to come and I find that meditating actions (including meditation) help solidify my foundation for the day. As a highly anxious person, perfectionist, business owner, human being, I, like many people, struggle with insecurities and lows, times where I am stuck in my head and unable to remember what I have to be grateful for. It’s interesting how a really great book, inspiring podcast, or killer workout and the highs that come with it are often fleeting. I feel like each day I am reborn and have to remind myself the same things to get those same moments of clarity and confidence.
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