Sometimes being a meditation mentor really sucks. Everyone expects you to be all “Zen” all the time. You’re supposed to be kind, peaceful and patient. But **@* it!!! I don’t feel like this all the time and I just want you to know. I get envious, really envious… and sometimes I’m irritable. No Zen there. I may say things like “Everything happens for a reason” and “All is well” but really, truly, I’m not buying it some days. But what am I supposed to do? I'm just a human being after all. Right, I know the answer to this, you don’t have to tell me. Just breathe. 3 conscious breaths can make the difference between a good day and a bad one. It can also turn a bad mood into a better mood. It works. I know it and you are learning it. I'll struggle with it. I'll fight it. It’s hard to let go of old habits and as much as I believe in the healing power of meditation my brain can get stuck for long periods of time. So why am I telling you this you ask? Because my dear friends, I am normal and you are too. If you are having a challenging day and you become aware of the fact that you are stuck in some negative patterns you can make a few moves to help get unstuck or at least limit the time you are spending in that dark place.
Here’s what I do…and you can do it too.
First. Take a breath. No. Take 3. Three long slow deep breaths. Really breathe. Focus on the inhale and exhale. Feel your chest expanding and contracting. Notice the breath and only this. You have heard this from me before. I continue to repeat that breathing is a coping strategy because it works. It’s simple and effective. No mystery. Long slow deep breathing tells your body that everything is OK. It’s the same breath you use when you are falling asleep. Just breathe.
Next, be kind to yourself! Say something nice. Practice this one…"I am good enough, I am strong enough and (no laughing) people like me!!" Say anything that could be taken as a compliment or make a soothing remark…”It’s going to be OK…I can do this.” The key here is to give yourself permission to feel whatever it is that you are feeling. Acknowledge it. Give it a name. “I am feeling fearful because my landlord just gave ME 60 days notice!" (True story.) Feelings are only information. Use the information but do not get stuck in the story you create about the information. In this case the information I received was I have to move my office. However, the story I created to go with the information looked more like this:
“Augh…this is not a good time… @+** where am I going to find an acceptable alternative that doesn’t take me too far away or cost too much…what about getting movers, packing… I’ve got too much going on…when will I find the time… It's so expensive to move!”
See the problem here? I was stuck in the story which was not in alignment with the information.
Once I realize this I can detach from the worry which got activated by the information and move into a more thoughtful and productive space if I take a moment to realign.
Here is where the benefits of having a meditation practice can be seen. Because of what meditation does for me and my busy brain, I am able to move from reactive to responsive faster that I had in the past. I activate the first and second solutions swiftly therefore moving into a place of effective thought with breakneck speed! And whoa…this is a beautiful thing.
The moral of the story today is simple. Meditation can make you and I more “Zen” sometimes and this is awesome. However, when it doesn’t seem to be working remember to take a breath, be kind to yourself and you will find, more likely that not, that you can move though the difficult crap with an ease that you didn’t have before.
Go ahead, try it out next time you feel overwhelmed, irritated, envious or any other normal negative emotion. I’m with you my friend. If you are feeling stuck and need some advice on your meditation practice or want to work on getting started, I can help! I have faith in you. You can do this! Feel free to send an email and I’ll get back to you!
As always, I wish you Peace.