"Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has its purpose."- Elizabeth Kubler Ross
When I was a little girl, I had no idea what meditation was. When I was finally introduced to the concept in my early teens, it was during a discussion of various religions in history class. We learned the basics of Zen Buddhism and that Buddhist monks practiced meditation for "enlightenment". Before that, the only reasons I was ever taught to sit still and be quiet was either because I was in trouble or because I was being told to pray. Now that I think of it, it's understandable why some people's concept of God is more furious and punishing than others. These days, meditation has become more mainstream, with downloadable apps like Headspace and even Audible, that offer guided meditations. And while these apps have certainly made meditation accessible to a a large portion of the population, there are still plenty of misconceptions about the practice.
Let's talk about what meditation is NOT. First, it is not a religion or spiritual practice in and of itself. There ARE numerous religions and spiritual philosophies that implement the practice of meditation, but learning to meditate does not require you to adopt a religious or spiritual belief. It is NOT required that you be professionally trained before you can begin to practice. While there ARE many methods of meditation, the only thing you truly need to aspire to is being still and intentionally noticing your breath. In fact, these two fundamental aspects of meditation, if practiced consistently, can be instrumental in improving your health by decreasing stress, blood pressure issues, and symptoms of depression, and can increase the likelihood of maintaining healthy weight loss and improving relationships. Why is it so successful at improving your overall health and wellness? Because when you can commit yourself to being still and focused, you realize that most of the things you worry about aren't important, and you remember the people who truly are. With those realizations comes the desire to align yourself with the people who share, or at the very minimum, respect those desires. Meditation, therefore, lays the foundation for you to create strong and healthy connections within yourself and with those you decide to surround yourself with. It is why we had to include the practice as one of the Four Seeds of Self-Care.
"Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless, like water. Pour water into a cup, it becomes the cup. Pour water into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can flow or it can crash. Be water. my friend."- Bruce Lee
When my four children were little, I was in my twenties, and, in many ways, a totally different person than I am now. I had a very difficult time sitting still. Getting down on the floor and actually playing with my kids was always secondary to making sure the hou