Sometimes I Make Questionable Decisions…
I had an email from someone I know inviting me to a private mediation group. My wellness coach had been suggesting that I meditate but I was fairly unsuccessful at it (Ok, I was terrible at it)… have you met me? My idea of meditating is working out or going for a run… it works to clear my mind very well. I feel awesome after I do it. But slowing down wasn’t my strong suit. So it was perfect timing to be invited to a private group!
You want me to sit quietly and …. what? Just sit there and not think? Are you f’ing kidding me?
But over the last 2 years I have been on a personal journey of uncovering my own bullshit, seeing who I am being and instead of focusing on changing everyone else, looking within to understand why I do the things I do.
So I said yes. Because I needed to learn to how to use my indoor voice and learn to rest. At this point in my life I don’t think I had watched TV or a movie in 5+ years. No joke. I couldn’t sit still. And now I’m enroute to a meditation group where I had to be silent and still for hours. My husband nicely suggested I just throw my money out the window and go for a coffee since I would likely be kicked out for my inability to be silent or still. He had visions of me doing pushups during silent time…that was a pretty accurate fear, I get it.
As I was packing my bags with the “suggested items for your comfort” list I was getting a little more weirded out on each item… wool socks… check. Water… check. Snacks… check… blanket…ch…WTF? Do I need a blanket for… are we having a sleepover or nap time or something? In the middle of the day? Keep an open mind, it could be yoga like when you’re cold at the end. Ok…. a journal… check. Pen… check. I’m ready. Let’s do this, even just to prove I can!
As I am preparing to leave the house I get an email that said “if you want to bring anything for the alter..”
Where am I going? What have I gotten myself into now? Can I cancel? I don’t care about the money…where in the love of Jesus am I going? Deep breathing… “seriously, Tonya, you’ve gotten yourself into some pretty intense stuff over the last 2 years… can you please start asking better questions before you sign up for stuff”.
Off I go… let’s just see what it’s about shall we?
Enter Tonya, screen left, in a nervous panic… “where’s the alter, where’s the alter, what’s gonna happen, what’s gonna happen here?”
No alter. Phew…relaxation. Well, at least not the only type of alter I knew. It was a small “alter”, a place to light candles, put anything of meaning to you that will become infused with the energy of the alter, infused with the sense of calm that you can take away with you. Did I say, Phew?
Wait, I have to be quiet and meditate. Shit. The alter made me forget that part.
Ok, let’s do this.
Meditating is SO not what I thought. It was an experience that forever changed me. I actually learned that meditating doesn’t have to be always a deep meditation where you connect to an outside source. If that happens, it’s awesome. But there’s not really a right or wrong way to do it. I was nervous because I thought, what if I do it wrong? How silly! Plus, of course you’re probably not going to meditate a lot in your first session because seriously, when was the last time you sat down to deliberately think of nothing? There’s a starting point for everyone and varying types and styles of meditation. I was picturing the ashram style from Eat Pray Love. “you ain’t in India girl” I reminded myself.
“Stop thinking” “Stop thinking” Seriously, Stop thinking”
“I wonder if anyone else is thinking”
Take a peak… “nope, they all look like they know what they’re doing”
“shut up, shut up, shut up brain”. Ok, focus on your Yoga Teacher Training… focus on the breath… just focus on breathing in and out and listen to the teachers voice…And then, it happened, I don’t know exactly but all I could see was purple light and while there was still mind chatter I wasn’t able to hear it as loudly and I was feeling relaxed and calm.
During the next 3 hours we did 3 different meditations… you can share if you want. But it’s not all quiet so that is helpful for people who are still uncomfortable with silence (did I just say that?). I had some key insights into things that day that set me on a soul journey of letting go and releasing anxieties, stress and anything that wasn’t serving me anymore, things that were robbing me of my power in life.
It was weird going. It wasn’t weird once I was there. My fear of the unknown was the worst of it. It was, in fact, one of the best things that I’ve ever signed up for. Now, I say yes to lots of experiences without researching it. Why bother? If you don’t like it you don’t have to keep doing it. If you like it, you can do it again! And trust me when I say, that was nothing compared to some things I’ve found myself doing. I always learn something from it. I might not go back but I always learn from it. I went back to meditation and the group has become a little family of sorts… people who have been with me on some of the deepest and profound insights and shifts in my life.
A few months after my first time I went on self imposed silent long weekend – 4 nights in a cabin in the woods with just me and my dogs… no phone. No TV. No Laptop. You can read more about that experience here: http://twfitness.ca/shag-it/. I couldn’t believe I could do it. Since then I’ve been able to ignore my phone for days sometimes. I take time to meditate almost everyday, even for a few minutes.
Sometimes pushing through the uncomfortable, the self imposed limits, the fear of others perceptions of the things we’re doing holds us back from doing things that pique our interests… and if you’re afraid to meditate or say you don’t have time to meditate, then you need it more than anyone. Seriously. Take it from me. A friend “nicely” pointed out to me recently that before I was “like a spin top or the tasmanian devil swirling through a room” – I used to think that was a compliment. Now I realize, what a shitty way to go through life. No one even really gets to experience you. You really don’t get to experience other people because you’re too “busy”.
I like my drive. I like my energy. I like me. In fact, I love who I am. Now. And there’s nothing wrong with being high energy (unless you’re an introvert – then I’m probably pretty scary!)… it’s who I am and I love that about me… but there’s a BIG difference in calm focused high energy and high strung high energy.
I was the latter.
Now I’m the calmer high energy. Inside of me there is less chatter, less noise. And what I learned through meditation was that the noise was to cover up the things I didn’t want to look at – the failure’s, the problems, the challenges, who I was being. But when I took them out, looked at them and dealt with them I was able to let them go and invite a calmer energy inside – most days. Some days I’m still nuts. And that’s ok too.
And I still find myself questioning my ability to make sensible decisions when I find myself in new freaky places with new freaky people doing new freaky things (not those kinds of freaky things). Then I always laugh because no, I’ll never learn because I am one of those freaky people who is open to change, new experiences, exploring the world and what’s in it, having new experiences – freaky or “normal” (whatever that is), having fun and letting people get to know me and getting to know other people.
Because I decided to feel the fear and do it anyway my life has unfolded in a way that I couldn’t possibly have anticipated… for the better. My experiences this year have been beautiful, enlightening, frightening (side note: I’m not afraid of alters anymore – not even the “real” ones) and every emotion in between. You can’t possibly know how a little directed quiet time can change your entire life for the better.
I would love to hear your first time meditation (or any other stories where you faced the fear and did it anyway!)… leave me a comment 🙂