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Meditate Your Way!

I consider myself a multipotentialite! If you’ve not heard of this term before, I encourage you to listen to career coach Emilie Wapnick’s Ted Talk Why Some of Us Don’t Have One True Calling about people who have a range of interests and jobs over one lifetime. I’m one of those people. I follow my passions and have had several careers from healthcare administration to elementary education and now holistic healing. Not to mention the eight years I was a stay-at-home mom, which was by far the most versatile role of my entire adulthood thus far!

I was the same way during my undergrad years. I must have changed majors at least five times because I was interested in so many different studies. It’s no surprise to me, when I reflect on my education, that I ultimately majored in Religious Studies for my bachelors and Education for my masters. Both are multidisciplinary subjects that satisfied my longing to learn more about history, language arts, humanities, philosophy, health, and science. I fully embrace my path as a lifelong learner with many interests, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Interestingly, I realized that this pattern of ranging interests applied to my meditation practice as well. When I first began meditating, I would sit silently, focus on my breathing, and try not to let my thoughts wander. Sometimes I would listen to meditation music or a guided meditation. For a while this worked, especially since the more I practiced the better I got at quieting my mind. Somewhere along the way, I had erroneously convinced myself that this was the only “correct” way to meditate. I was proud of myself…for I had achieved the art of meditation, or so I thought.

Over time and not surprisingly, my inner multipotentialite grew bored. Meditation became more of a chore that I rebelled against. This was the opposite of what I wanted and certainly seemed to defeat the purpose. What was I doing wrong? Somehow, I had created a love-hate relationship with meditation instead of the daily moments of inner peace I was seeking.

Because I know how beneficial meditation is to our overall physical, emotional, and mental health, I had to find ways to meditate without getting frustrated, bored, or anxious. Even more so, I wanted to create a meditation practice that worked for me. So, I began researching.

There are many opinions out there about how to meditate and what meditation should look and feel like. You’d be surprised how many different definitions there are, but the one common thread I found that resonates with me most is this: focusing your attention on only one thing as a way of becoming calm and maintaining a state of relaxation.

Upon further reflection, I realized that there are things I like to do that allow me to focus my attention in such a singular way that I become completely relaxed. Furthermore, there were activities I was already doing that can be meditative if I shifted my intention. Once I gave myself permission to meditate in different ways, my practice not only became consistent but continues to thrive.

Now I’m more fluid with not only how I meditate, but also when and for how long each day. Sometimes I may meditate for only five minutes whereas other days I meditate for an hour. Here are some of the ways I choose to meditate:

In the shower – Showering has become a very sacred time for me as I set my intention each day to be happy and healthy. I say mantras or affirmations aloud while I’m washing my hair. I then take a few moments to focus on how the water feels streaming down over my head as I rinse. I focus my attention on listening to the drops as they splash on and around me. I imagine the water cleansing my aura. Indeed, there is something about water that calms my soul and when I have a purposeful shower like this I always feel relaxed and ready to tackle the world.

Swimming– I love to swim. I try to go to the pool at least three times a week. These days I mostly participate in the deep-water aerobics class but when I swim laps, I am solely focused on my breath. This fixated concentration on my breathing makes me feel as if no one else is around me. Although my body is physically moving, my brain waves slow down, and I feel peaceful and grounded. Amazingly, I generate the most incredible ideas and “aha” moments when I’m swimming.

Take a walk– I’m fortunate to live near a beautiful river with a hiking trail surrounded by woods. I refer to my walks as Spirit Walks because I’m surrounded by all the elements of nature. During these walks, I don’t listen to music. Instead, I tune into the sounds of the animals, relish the way the warm sun feels on my face, and appreciate the way the breeze feels on my skin. I immerse myself so much with my surroundings that I feel like I become one with nature.

Listen to a specific song– I love all kinds of music. My playlist is quite eclectic! When I meditate this way, I choose a song that resonates with me in the moment and set the intention to connect with the lyrics and melodies. As I listen to the song over and over, I become completely engrossed as if every cell in my body is dancing and singing along. I always feel so refreshed after doing this!

Himalayan singing bowls– As a vibrational sound therapist, I love my singing bowls. I will place a bowl somewhere on my body, usually my lap or abdomen, and begin to strike the rim in a rhythmic pattern. As my body absorbs the vibration and my mind takes in the subtle sounds, it doesn’t take long for me to reach a meditative state. At a certain point I no longer need to strike the bowl because I am completely relaxed. I also like to stand in my grounding bowl, strike the rim a few times, and absorb the vibrations. This is all I need to recalibrate and relax at the end of a stressful day.

Create an affirmation photo– I’m a big believer in the power of affirmations! I like to create social media photos that capture the essence of affirmations or positive quotes that resonate with me. The process of creating the photos is extremely relaxing and has the added benefit of focusing on the affirmation itself. I find that because I’m thinking so intently on the words of the affirmation, my brain internalizes its message and I begin to manifest those thoughts.

Self-Reiki– Most nights I practice self-Reiki as I fall asleep. I will focus on each chakra and visualize in my mind’s eye the corresponding colors at each chakra spinning, opening, and expanding. Sometimes I fall asleep before I’m done, but that’s okay because I always feel fully rested in the morning.

Old-Fashion Meditation– Of course, I still like to sit in a comfortable position, listen to meditation music, and focus on my breathing. To ensure I don’t get bored, I like to try out different music and guided meditations using apps like Calm and Insight Timer. Sometimes, I create the sounds myself by sounding out the seven sacred vowel sounds.

Meditation is meant to help us go beyond the mind to experience peace, happiness, and joy. What I realized through my journey of discovery is that meditation is a deeply personal experience. A one-size-fits-all approach simply does not work for everyone. Whether you are a seasoned meditator or a beginner, give yourself permission to redefine what meditation looks and feels like to you. Reflect on what brings you joy and pure relaxation. Meditate your way!

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