How you “show up” matters. A testament for daily meditation practice.
I am a meditator. It has changed my life in ways no words can describe. My generalized anxiety – GONE. Sleep is easy. Worries about the future – rare. When I am asked the question, “What are you most grateful for in your life?”, my response is, “I have created a meditation practice.” Of course, I am grateful for many things including my overall health, my fantastic husband, amazing kids and that I have parents who have made it their mission to support me in doing what I want to do. I have wonderful in-laws and long term friends as well. The list is long, but the NUMBER ONE thing I am grateful for is that I have created a meditation practice. In fact, I believe it has saved me from being an anxious and fearful worry-wart.
So, what does being a meditator mean? It means I am committed to a practice of taking quiet time for myself. I try for 20 minutes daily, but sometimes it might only be 5. Simply, it’s just quiet time alone. Sometimes I have music playing. Sometimes I listen to a guided meditation. Sometimes I fall asleep, but every time I feel more grounded and present, and I am glad I made the time to do it.
One of the most significant benefits of having a regular meditation practice is that I am able to control how I “show up” for a situation. Most of the time we are going through our lives on auto-pilot. We fill the roles as mom, wife, boss-lady, cleaning lady, scheduler, driver, dog-walker and on and on and on. Every time we notice we are on auto-pilot, it is an opportunity to get into the present moment and choose how we “show up” for the situation, conversation or event.
Here’s an example. After the endless loops of pick up and drop off for this sport, that event with traffic and all, it’s easy to feel depleted and done. It’s valid, accurate, and hard to see any other way of being. Realizing that there is a CHOICE to be made and taking the time to choose a different way of being. You must learn how to “show up differently”. I’m not necessarily talking about the big ones like showing up for your partner or your sick aunt who needs you. I’m talking about how you show up for the checker at Sprouts or the drive-thru attendant at Taco Bell. How does it impact their day when you “show up” depleted and done? What if you could choose to spread warmth and good cheer to every Taco Bell worker and Sprouts checker? What if every single person you encountered felt just a little more peace and love after you leave, just because you chose to show up authentically and present?
When I show up with the intention of spreading joy, love, humor, and playfulness my energy is infectious. People gravitate towards me, life is fun and full of zestful energy. When I show up depleted and done, guess who I attract? Yep, others who are depleted and done. We have a depleted and done-fest about how hard it is to have so many roles and drive all over town in traffic always feeling exhausted, empty and done.
It is essential to distinguish something, I am NOT advocating for us to be fake. To pretend we don’t feel depleted and done when we really do. You know what I mean? You choose to put on a big ol’ smile (and pour an equally big ol’ glass of wine) to be there for your partner or kids when underneath you feel exhausted and irritated. I am advocating for learning to authentically shift your way of being so that you show up from the essence of who you are which is alternatively some version of love and joy. You’re a woman, after all!!
At this point, I can imagine you are asking how in the hell to do this? Seems absurd, you rightfully feel depleted and done and somehow you just decide not to? Not be fake about it?? Hmmmm, suspect…. isn’t it??
Yes. This is where the meditation practice comes in. After practicing meditation for a while, you come to know yourself in a deeper more connected and meaningful way. You start to see that you have control over WAYYYYY more thoughts, feelings and stories than you ever imagined. With this comes the opportunity to choose how you are going to live your life every day in your roles and how “they make” you feel, or in your LIFE and how you choose to live it.
Here’s a real-life example from this very morning. I woke up early because I have some tasks to take care of, a couple of bills to pay, emails, nothing I was excited about. My energy was borderline annoyed and blah. Plus my back was hurting for some unknown 50 year old reason. When I said good morning to my daughter, I did a hug-dance with her in bed and got a few giggles. I took a moment in my mind to be grateful that she still likes hug-dances, then I took a breath and decided not to feel annoyed and dull. I chose to come up to my office and write this very article from my heart. To share the thing that I find most grounding and peaceful in my life. I now feel more joyful and energetic, and the tone of the work I do today (even paying a bill!) will be spreading good cheer vs. annoyance and blah. My true essence (joy and love) is driving my feelings, thoughts, and behaviors simply because I am choosing that path.
Try it for one week, just 5 minutes per day sit in silence. Don’t worry about your thoughts or if you’re doing it right, JUST DO IT. Sit quietly…it’s only 5 minutes. If it seems too hard because of all of those thoughts racing through your mind, count your breaths…breathe in for a 4 count, hold for a 2 count and out for a 5 count. Or choose a word or phrase (mantra) for your focus like “I am joy” or “I am OK just as I am today”. When the thoughts come (and believe me, they will) just acknowledge your brain for thinking them and get back to your focus on breathing or repeating your mantra.
After a week, notice when you start to feel annoyed, depleted, blah, irritated or whatever that crappy feeling is. Stay with that feeling maybe even name it. Then SMILE, take a breath and see if you can choose joy. Choose love. Choose peace. SMILE more. Sparkle. Give yourself some gratitude for trying something new.
(Try it and let me know how it goes by commenting below.)
By Christa F