How Meditation has Helped Me Not Be Crazy

We still need at least three more entries in the Pin It to Win It contest. I am so excited to give away these meditations!

unlock the power of meditationSomeone asked me recently how I have personally benefited from meditation. That’s kind of a tough question, because it’s like when you have children and they are growing. You don’t really notice as they get bigger day by day, because you see them all the time. I’m never not inside my body and mind, so it’s harder for me to see the difference in myself. Know what I mean?

That said, I still have a pretty good idea some of the ways that meditation has helped me.

Meditating daily keeps me grounded. I have a tendency to be in my head a lot – daydreaming, trying to solve problems of the world, or how to make something work better, imagining what is going to happen next week, or next month, or next year. Some of those things are pretty awesome, and I highly recommend them… as long as they are balanced with real action and being present in the moment to what is going on here and now.

Meditation helps me manage my pain. I was in a major car accident when I was 8. I live with pain every day. Some days its pretty easy. Other days there’s not enough ibuprofen and caffeine. Meditating helps me avoid being a pill-popping junkie. And those days where I just want to crawl back under the covers and cry, meditating helps me face the day like a big girl. Heck, meditation is what helped me get through a few months of gall bladder attacks back when I thought they were muscle spasms and ibuprofen wouldn’t touch the pain.

Meditation keeps me from being a jerk. Because I meditate in the morning regularly, I’m a lot calmer than the average bear. I have developed my capacity to respond instead of lashing out in reaction… most of the time anyway. Those times when I want to tell off my boss or my parents or that idiot driving as slowly as molasses in January on the two-lane highway when I’m already late for work – a few deep breaths and no one gets hurt.

Meditation keeps me from killing my children. Similar to the above, when my children are arguing with each other for the 2,358th time this hour, I breathe deeply, go to my sacred space, and the impulse to strangle them goes away. I can even usually manage to negotiate a peace treaty without screaming at them.

Meditation helps me connect with my inner guidance. Sometimes my mind starts going down a path, making up a story about a decision and imagining that the outcome is going to be fantastic or horrible. Then, when I check in during my meditation, I get to the truth that my mind has just made up the story. I can move on from a place of integrity and balance instead of from a place of illusion. The major decisions I’ve made after meditating on them ALWAYS turn out better than when I act on impulse.

Meditation makes me a better coach and priestess. I practice what I preach. I can connect with the Divine and understand what my clients and Circle members need – what will best support them.

It’s hard to remember what I was like before I started meditating regularly. I was a different person then. I definitely like myself better now, and so I’ll keep meditating.

Blessings,

Mary

 

The Power of Choice and Social Media

I hear complaints from people about Facebook fairly regularly, about how negative it is, or how much drama there is. The people who complain about it usually add that they find spending any amount of time there tends to drag them down. A few of my friends have even closed their Facebook accounts because it got to be too much for them.

I don’t find it to be that bad, actually. Sure, I’ve got some really amazing friends who are, on the whole, pretty positive people. On the other hand, I’ve got over 1,000 “friends”, from people I went to high school and university with, to people I have met at various personal development courses, and people from my spiritual community. Not everyone is going to be positive and cheerful all the time.

I don’t really understand how it works, but Facebook has some algorithm that determines what will show up in your news feed. It has something to do with who you have interacted with in the recent past and what types of photos/links/status updates you have liked or commented on, as well as what you have blocked or hidden. Or something like that. I think.

I imagine it is kind of like “reticular activation”. That’s a fancy way of stating, what you focus on, you get more of. So if someone is being consistently negative, or sales-y, I hide them from my feed. I don’t want to see that. I skim over the really gross or upsetting ones. If someone I know well is having a bad day, I’ll offer my <3 and {{{hugs}}}. I “like” a lot of the pictures and articles that are positive in nature. Like this one:

This came up through a friend on Facebook the other day. And I had tears. Good tears. THIS is what I talk about with my clients and my students about choice and perspective. You never know what another person is thinking or has experienced. Everything you tell yourself is a made up story. Sure, it’s easy to make up the story that someone else is out to get you. It takes effort to make up the story that they were oblivious to you, or having a really bad day. And yet, I find my world is so much better when I choose to run my experiences through the filters of compassion and understanding.

Am I perfect at it? NO! Does my mind run away with me and drag me into a pity party sometimes? Absolutely. However, the more I exercise my muscle of choosing to see things from a different perspective, the easier it becomes. That muscle gets stronger. I’d like to sat that eventually it will become my default. I’m not sure, though, because I’m not there yet.

So until then, I’ll keep working on choosing my thoughts, and seeing my experiences in a way that gives others the benefit of the doubt, rather than falling into the rut of thinking that everything is about me.

How often to you fall into default mode? Have you ever had a time where you found out later that what you thought was true wasn’t?

Here are a few tips to help choose your thoughts:

  • Breathe. Taking three deep breaths helps to lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate and gets more oxygen to your brain, which is important for thinking.
  • Observe. What’s really going on? Be impartial and stick to the facts as much as you can.
  • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. How would you want to be treated?
  • Make up a different story. Pretend you’re making a film, and someone else is the main character. How would you want it to turn out?
  • Meditate. (Can’t leave that one out!) Meditation has tons of benefits, at least one of which is being centered and connected.

I look forward to hearing your experiences in the comments below!

Blessings,

Mary

PS. Need some help meditating? Check out these free guided meditations!

Link Share: 50 Incredibly Successful People Who Credit Meditation

Just before I went on hiatus, one of my readers sent me a link to an article about 50 successful people who credit meditation as one of the keys to their success. The article categorizes these celebrities into categories based on their expertise, and there are some pretty amazing people on the list!

Benefits Of Meditation

While many around the world have long known of the benefits of meditation, Western medical science has just recently begun to take note of the short- and long-term effects meditation can have on the body and mind. The practice has been shown to not only help individuals to relax and de-stress, but also to improve concentration, expand understanding, and to actually create sustained changes in the brain itself.

While meditation has grown in popularity in recent years, many of the most successful people in everything from business to writing have been using it for years to expand their minds and find clarity. Some even credit it with helping them to achieve their goals and to advance their careers. Here are just a few big names in literature, acting, business, politics, and music who’ve used meditation to improve their lives and their work, who may just inspire you to take up meditation yourself.

Read the article, and the list here and have an excellent weekend!

Blessings,

Mary

*UPDATE: I’ve been asked to remove the link. Sorry everyone!