It’s early. The house is quiet and I am getting a head start on the day. Like always there is so much to do and there seems to be so little time. I sit up on bed, and I thank the universe for allowing me to awaken to a new day. It may seem small, but I am grateful for my breath, for my warm bed, my beating heart and the fact that I am able to stand up and give my first steps of the day.
I’ve learned to be grateful. Grateful for what I have, grateful for what I don’t have.
As soon as I get out of bed, I search for my morning gratitude meditation on YouTube. It’s nine minutes of centering that dictate the pace and mood of my day. By focusing on the things I have and am grateful for, there is little space for negativity or confusion. I start my day with purpose and direction. But it wasn’t always like that…
In the Feisty Mermaids Podcast, I talk about the night I was on the verge of an anxiety attack while miles away from home and without a support system. I was trying to be strong, but I was breaking. Frantically, I searched for a guided meditation and I found Kenneth Soares. I found his voice while drowning and slowly I began to breathe again.
On that night, I vowed to begin a daily gratitude meditation. I set a goal for myself of 21 days - experts say that is the time it takes to build a habit. A year and a half later, I practice every day. Some days are more structured than others, but I always find a few things to be grateful for… as minor as they may seem. One day I meditated about how grateful I am that I can go to the bathroom and pee. You laugh, but I have a dear friend who has to have dialysis twice a week and she can’t use the bathroom anymore...
When my heart was broken by a man I loved, I forced myself to think about the relationship in a grateful way. As painful as it was, I sent him light, love and peace everyday. I was grateful for having loved and having been loved in such a beautiful way - even if it didn’t last a lifetime.
Meditation is about looking inward. It’s about taking a few minutes to sit still, to sit in silence and feel what is inside. For me, it’s about not running away from an uncomfortable feeling, it’s about listening to my body, connecting my senses to what is going on around me, and just being still. Even if during most sessions, the dog decides she needs petting or my daughter crawls on my lap. I keep going, and focus on that moment with nothing else needing my attention. Both the dog and my daughter have learned that when mommy is meditating, they will not get my attention unless the house is on fire.
Scientifically, there are many benefits to meditation. An article from mindful.org lists the following benefits:
Meditation sharpens your attention.
Long-term, consistent meditation seems to increase resiliency to stress.
Meditation appears to increase compassion. It also makes our compassion more effective.
Meditation seems to improve mental health
Mindfulness can have a positive impact on your relationships.
Mindfulness reduces many kinds of bias.
Meditation has a modest impact on physical health.
As I try to share this gift I’ve found, I find that sometimes people meet me with resistance. It’s OK, I honor their journey and keep following mine. The thing to remember is that there is no right way or wrong way to meditate. Just start, and you will figure it out.