If there has been a resounding theme this summer, coming at me in all forms – written, spoken, face-to-face – it has been simply (and not-so-simply), slow down. SLLLLOOOW. DOWN. Sounds easy enough, right? Right. Until you actually try it and then wow, you see just how challenging such a task can be.
For me, slowing down has come in the form of breath work and meditation. After taking two amazing workshops about meditation in July and hearing (and reading) time and time again about how much the breath matters, I began to listen and to notice and really begin my practice of balancing my life and my body with the breath and the focused unfocusedness (nope, not a word) of meditation.
You may remember, this is not my first attempt at meditation. In fact, I did an amazing 40 Days in a row just this spring and it was incredible. But, as it sometimes goes with such ___# of days challenges, the goal is met and then the activity ceases. Or tapers drastically. At least, this was the case for my daily mala/mantra meditation until the end of July when I finally took notice that meditation was just going to keep coming at me until I started coming back at it.
There is so much I could write about the subject, but for now I will stick with the basics of what I’ve been doing for the last several weeks: 4-5 days a week, for 7-15 minutes, I have been meditating using the Insight Meditation timer app on my phone. You guys, this app came recommended by one of my teachers and she wasn’t kidding – it’s the best. Not only can you see how many people are meditating around the world with you right now, you can also do guided sessions, AND all the time you log is going toward their goal of reaching 10,000 years worth of time of meditation. So freaking cool when you think about the good that is rippling out from each person contributing. You may have seen on FB though a couple weeks ago where I sampled the chime sound instead of starting my timer – so far the only downfall that has come from this practice (but hey, I did get in a super long meditation that day, I think!)!
One goal of this mostly daily meditation dedication is to bring the benefit and the practice not just to myself but also to my kids. I’ve been meaning and meaning and meaning to show them the app (the world map of Current Users is so cool) but have kept forgetting, that is, until yesterday. We’d already done outside time and screen time and more outside time (and more screen time) but still had time before supper when I remembered: “You guys! Do you want to meditate?!”
“Med-di-date?” Linky asked.
“What’s that??” asked the other two.
So I showed them.
I showed them the app and the map and even a picture of another little kid sitting in meditation. I showed them the timer and the different sounds and they seemed down with it, so we went for it.
For a whole whopping minute!
But you know what? It was successful!!
The baby was crawling around the floor and us and we totally all got the giggles during the very first minute, but then HD and RL kept asking to go again and again, Harrison especially. We worked through three one-minute sessions and then did a two minute one and none of it was perfect (meditation so rarely is) but more than once, I felt this huge sense of calm settle over them and then me, and inside my heart was doing cartwheels because if I can guide my children in this direction now, help them learn to slow down and tap in to themselves and a higher power now, they are going to be so much better prepared to face whatever the world sends their way next.
Like today which was full top-to-bottom with comings and goings and activities, so all of the sudden it was time for them to head up to bed and HD cried out, “We haven’t meditated today!” Because yesterday, after we finished, he wanted to know when we could do it again, said he couldn’t WAIT to do it again, and wanted to do it every day.
Now, I realize tonight’s remembering could have very easily been a stall tactic to put off bedtime for one more minute and ten seconds, but are you kidding me? If it means my kids are sitting in (mostly) stillness, being (mostly) silent with their thoughts, I will let them freaking stall on goodnights.
And I will learn from them, follow their lead, soak up their enthusiasm. When can I meditate again? I can’t wait to meditate (so making a shirt that says that some day)! And I will strive to do it on the daily.