I started a journey last week…

I started a new journey last week….not a literal one, but a metaphorical one. Inspired by Polly Conway’s article in the latest issue of Joie and spurred on by need for pain relief for my back, I started meditating.

I’m a total newbie and have never meditated before,

but I’ve often heard and read that it works wonders for helping people manage pain, stress, anxiety as well as one’s focus …all things that I could use some help with.

Now usually I am one to read at least 12 books on a subject, have something new like on my to-do list for 3 months and talk about doing it endlessly before starting, but out of character, I  jumped right in. I rolled out my yoga mat, put in a CD of some rolling & crashing waves, sat cross-legged and sat quietly for 5 minutes trying to clear my mind and focus on my breathing. I thought I would be bored and thought those 5 minutes would go by really slowly, but I wasn’t and they didn’t. The time actually flew by! So the next time, I tried 10 minutes and after that 15 minutes. That’s where I am at now.

Now, I wasn’t really able to keep my mind clear of all thoughts…

But  no judgements for myself or my experience, I am taking baby steps with this meditation thing after all. I did find that focusing on the crashing waves (a very soothing sounds for me) helped me to keep my mind from wandering. When I did find myself thinking about what to make for dinner or should I buy the new Beastie Boys’, I just reminded myself that I could think about that stuff later and again focused on the sound of the waves or my breath going in and out of my body.

After 5 days of experimenting, I can’t say that I’ve had some huge relieve from my back pain or that I’ve even become less stressed out….but I do see how continuing on this journey could eventually help me to effect the changes I want to in myself..and that’s certainly a goal worth adopting and devoting some time to I think.

I will be sharing more about my meditation journey in the weeks and months to come. Please feel free to join me–either trying meditation yourself for the 1st time or sharing your experiences and advice if you are a regular practitioner.

In the meantime, enjoy Polly’s article from issue #4 of Joie called “Making Time for Meditation” and starting on page #50. Thanks to Polly Conway for sharing as well to Nicole Ray for creating the lovely artwork for the article.

**Please note that the section “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” on page #52 of Polly’s article is actually a quote by Jon Kabat-Zinn. It should have been attributed to him, but I made a goof!

3 thoughts on “I started a journey last week…

  • May 23, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    I have a hard time clearing my mind, as well. Yoga helps when you hold poses for 15 minutes in lying positions. It helps to relax me and then I can sit for a longer time without thinking about anything but my breathing.


  • May 23, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Meditation is more of a state of being than an act of doing. Check out this short book http://www.harpercollins.com/books/Meditation-Now-Never-Steve-Hagen/?isbn=9780061143298 It will save you a lot of struggle about what is “right or correct”
    about meditation . Ultimately, meditation is about being present in this moment, then being present in this moment, and paying attention to what you think about, but not judge it as good or bad. I’ve been practicing for about 10 years and it always changes for me as I evolve. It becomes less about getting something from meditation and more about being connected to your true self. Hagen discusses this more eloquently in his book. Be gentle with yourself and Enjoy your journey 🙂

  • May 23, 2011 at 11:02 am

    I find saying a little mantra in your head, helps to keep the mind from wandering:
    something made up with no meaning, something you like the sound of:
    that and concentrating on the little sensation of your breath on the very edge of your nostrils!
    even a few minutes of an empty mind is worth it ☯

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