I hit the 90 day mark of meditation over the weekend! I meditated every. Single. Day. And it’s been a wonderful journey of growth and understanding of mindfulness. I’ll try to keep this post as short as possible!
I discovered the Headspace app about four years ago and managed to meditate everyday for a while. But I didn’t understand it the way I do now. I used to think that meditation was all about relaxing and just getting your mind off of things. This time, I’ve learned that it is so much more.
A little brief on how Headspace works. It comes with different packs and you can choose what you’d like to focus on (Guided, Unguided, Creativity, Focus, Relationships, Anger, Depression, etc.,) You can also choose how long you want to meditate. I have been doing 10 minutes but have bumped it up to 15. Sometimes I’ll do 30 minute sessions.
What I’ve learned with meditation is how to be fully aware of everything. Noticing all my surroundings, how I physically and emotionally feel, and most importantly, my thoughts. Most people don’t realize how we get so lost in our thoughts and how we let our thoughts, especially negative thoughts and memories, take control over us. We get consumed in those thoughts and let them manifest into anger, depression, physical problems, accidents, inconveniences, etc., But meditation has taught me how to notice my thoughts, acknowledge them, then let them go.
Through this awareness, I gained a better understanding to what being present means.
I have learned to let go of my past and not dwell on them anymore. For the longest time, I used past experiences as excuses and blame, reasons for failure, and why “I am the way I am.” Being present made me realize that the past does not define me and that I am in complete control of my feelings, and that I can change my perception of myself and everything else. These days, if the past gets brought up, I simply acknowledge it for a brief moment, then I move on and focus on the now.
I also used to freak out and worry about my future. I used to think that I created a path for myself that does not look too promising and that I might be stuck on a path of struggle. Being present has definitely helped me remove these anxieties. I have learned to be at peace and be grateful with my life at the present moment. And I remind myself that the future can always change and I am in complete control of where I want my life to be and how I want to see it.
Here are some of the ways I apply mindfulness to my day to day life:
- I have always been clumsy… and I learned to be more aware of my movements and what is around me to avoid accidents and bruises. That also applies to when I work out, clean the house, or any kind of physical task. I do my best to be aware of how my body feels so that I don’t overexert and hurt myself.
- Noticing when I’m about to get emotional. I allow myself to feel the emotions, then I step back from them, acknowledge that I have the need to feel them, and then I move on. I’ve learned how to look at situations and being able to choose how I feel about them. I don’t have to freak out and cry over getting a flat tire or when my husband forgets to buy me chocolate. Haha!
- While practicing or performing music. I’ve become more aware of how my body feels when I play, I listen more closely to what I do, and am able to make the adjustments physically as I notice (posture, hand/wrist movements, grip, etc.,) to improve on my abilities. I have experienced being caught up sight-reading and my lack of awareness ignores the fact that my wrist and my back is hurting. When I perform, being present with everything that I do and with the people I am playing with, has helped me overcome my nerves and also remember what I am supposed to be playing. Lol! Most importantly, is remembering to breathe through it all! I didn’t realize how holding my breath would mess up my time and fills or whatever it is I am doing and how much my body tenses up. Being present has also helped remove my insecurities as a musician.
- Focusing on one task at a time. I’ve heard people take pride in being able to multi-task, but really, it doesn’t necessarily end up with the best results. I find it more productive focusing on one task at a time and you actually get every task done faster with better results without the stress. Our brains will thank us for that!
- Breathing, especially focused breathing, does wonders for your mood and your body!
- A quiet mind also allows for more space for creative ideas to be born.
- Overall presence in every situation. I enjoy trips, walks, spending time with people, practicing, cooking, eating, etc., so much more when I am in the moment. Yes, there are distractions (ahem… our phones,) but we can choose if we want to focus on them or not.
They say it takes about 66 days to develop a habit and meditation has certainly become part of my daily life. It’s not something that I have to do, it’s something I just do. Health is so important to me these days and keeping my mind healthy also keeps my body healthy.
I know there is so much more about meditation that I have yet to learn and understand. I have not been to the point of deep meditation yet, but I am excited to experience it. A side note – I have been reading Eckhart Tolle‘s A New Earth and The Power of Now. Reading those books alongside my meditation practice really helps with the understanding.
Meditation has definitely changed my life and improved the way I perceive the world and those people around me. And I’ve gained more confidence in myself. I highly recommend trying it!
If you have any questions about any of this, let me know. I am happy to answer and discuss!
Thanks for reading! – Joan
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