Earlier this week Sam and I were driving home from a friends house and she asked me a curious question…one I wasn’t expecting.
“Dad, do you ever meditate?” Of course! i replied not really knowing where this conversation was going. She explained that they’d recently had a speaker come to her school and the woman spoke eloquently about mindfulness and the practice of meditation and how important it had become in her life.
Sam went on to explain that she always had so much going on in her head that she found it hard to quieten her mind enough to be able to fully relax. She’d been trying to meditate but whenever she found a time and place to try, her mind was always racing which she found frustrating.
I listened intently to her feelings of being overwhelmed inside her head to the point of distraction, and the inability to self calm and relax. Upon hearing her story, it brought back familiar memories and feelings of my initial attempts to meditate, as I also was unable to find a quiet place in my mind in which to truly relax and feel peace.
My first real opportunity to explore meditation was during a leadership program that Accenture was running during my tenure on the Best Buy account. Each month I would head to Minneapolis to meet with the other leadership team members and we’d spend time not only in business meetings and related activities but also learning ways to mitigate stress and relax. We had sessions on yoga and meditation which really got me thinking differently. Although it wasn’t until my father died and my marriage ended that I truly took the serious time to explore these options.
I explained to Sam that it took me a long time to be able to get to a really peaceful state whereby my mind was quiet and I could just breathe. Even today when I practice my yoga, I try and get to the studio 15-30 minutes early so I can close my eyes and relax to find a meditative state…okay, sometimes this state turns into sleeping but that’s all part and parcel of the relaxed state…right? 🙂 Lol!
Sam was super curious as to what I did to help me get there. Firstly, lying on my back I told her, totally relaxed and controlling my breathing with slow, deep breaths. Then feel my body parts individually to ensure they are heavy…completely in a state of rest. And by the time I’ve done that I’m usually in a state of total relaxation. For me meditation is the ability to empty my mind of all the unwanted litter from the day and focus on my breathing.
Meditation is such an individual thing, no single approach is universal in nature except the underlying tenant of total relaxation of the body and a calming the mind.
Sam was circumspect in her view of her current attempts, albeit unsuccessful to mediate so far. I think she’s feeling a little frustrated as it seems to her that everyone else can achieve it without any issues but she’s continued to struggle when she’s tried. I explained to her that meditation and mindfulness are a personal journey and that no two people are the same, and that its difficult to measure her success against others.
Like most of us she’s hardest on herself and gives no credit for trying her best. As I said to her, it takes a while to find your groove, and like her took me quite a while of persisting to finally get to something near fully relaxed.
Oh, how similar we are! Sam and I share very similar personalities and motivations, and noted from an early age that she and I were like peas in a pod in the way we saw and felt the world around us.
You see both her and I feel the world around us, less tangibly than most people. Some might say we “feel the energy” versus analytically assess. We tend to be emotional in many respects and can “feel” the situation fairly quickly, often going with our gut.
it’s interesting to see a mini me (albeit different sex) right before my eyes. A little disconcerting…yes!
Given that I my personal journey has been far from the average one, nor the most direct route to where I am today…in fact, some might use the word “circuitous” as the best turn of phrase. All I can say, is better late than never.
My realization that life will be what it’s going to be, and that i have to remain open to all the things that come my way, irrespective has been my saving grace. I’ve been a big advocate of gently reminding Zach and Sam of why its important to remain open.
As you know, often the smallest decisions sometimes have the greatest impact on our lives. We face the “Do I turn left or do I turn right” every single day of our lives. There are no “right answers”, in my estimation, whichever direction you choose, is the right decision.
Just as in my advice and support to Sam about learning to meditate, trust your gut and don’t be discouraged. It will come to you in your own form. 🙂
Even Zach in a call recently said that he’s interested in trying yoga this summer when he’s back from school…
I personally find it very comforting to know that each of them, in their own way is seeking internal peace and happiness.
I’m just glad I found it…it truly is a lifelong journey!