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

 

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!

Who Needs Sleep?

I have this song from the Barenaked Ladies going through my head:

The lyrics of the chorus are:

Who needs sleep? Well, you’re never gonna get it.
Who needs sleep? Tell me what’s that for?
Who needs sleep? Be happy with what you’re gettin’
There’s a guy who’s been awake since the Second World War.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been falling behind on my sleep.  Not lots, just a little bit each night.  It adds up fast, though.  And then, Daylight Savings Time hit.  And I chose to stay up that night watching movies. Now I am paying the price.

Each morning it has been getting more and more challenging to get myself out of bed.  I want to sleep a little bit longer. And now I am starting to notice the effects it is having on my meditation.

I’m having trouble focusing.  I always start my meditation session by grounding and connecting with the earth.  The past couple of days, I have had a really hard time even doing that much without my mind interrupting me for something.  It’s wandering all over the place chattering on about this or that, visualizing what happened in the book I read or the movie I saw, playing the same songs over and over and playing the “What If” game.

This last one is particularly frustrating.  Because the mind’s job is protection, when my mind starts playing the What If game, it usually comes up with disasters.  What if I don’t have money to pay that bill?  What if I can’t get the time off I want?  What if my alarm doesn’t go off?  What if an earthquake happens here? What if…well, you get the idea.

Logically, I know that many of these things are never going to come to pass.  And energetically, I know the What If game is sabotaging me manifesting what I want to create in my life.

So this week, the request my coach made of me is to GET MORE SLEEP!  Getting the proper amount of sleep is a way of honoring myself, one I have not been taking seriously.  I certainly haven’t made it a priority.  This week, it is my priority.  Only an emergency is going to keep me from getting a good night’s sleep.

That’s the plan anyway.  Wish me luck, and I’ll let you know how it goes!

Blessings,

Mary

De-Stress in a Pinch

This past week was pretty stressful for me.  I didn’t really realize it so much in the midst of it, but by the end of the week, I was done.  Fried.  Stressed out!

I had a first aid class that was in the evenings for four days, right after work.  This meant wolfing down my dinner in the car on the way to class.  I was getting up and exercising in the mornings, and then going directly to work.  I also had to read the first aid book before my last class.  We also put our house up for sale last week, and I got my moon time.  By Friday, I was way behind on my sleep, and I was becoming very sensitive to every little percieved slight.  And most of them were all in my head.

Because I was out late at my class, and then reading the text book when I got home, my meditation practice got shoved to the side.  This definitely did not help my mental state! So on Saturday, when I had an event to run after work, I was not at my best.  I was irritated that I had to make dinner, AND pack the vehicle for the event, BY MYSELF, AND clean up the kitchen, AND… well, you get the idea.  My mind was running away on the “poor me, I have to do everything myself, and no one helps or appreciates me” track to misery.  All of this is completely untrue, yet this was the tape that was playing in my mind.

Thankfully, my husband drove to the event.  I could tell I was not in the right frame of mind to lead this event, which was about spiritual growth.  So I closed my eyes, and breathed slowly and deeply.  I dropped out of my mind, and into my center.  I observed my mind playing the tape, and I let the emotions flow.  Yes, I cried. I meditated the whole way to the event.

I’d like to say that by the end of the 15 minute drive I was all better.  There was still a little residue and sensitivity there.  But I was now the one in control (not my mind and some outdated program), and the frustration was flowing out of me.  By the time I had everything set up, and everyone had a chance to chat for a while, I was fully in my center, in the moment, and ready to facilitate the event.

Meditation is a wonderful tool for de-stressing.  You can do it anywhere, and within a relatively short amount of time.  Of course, getting enough sleep, exercise, or a relaxing bubble bath help, too!

What’s your favorite method of de-stressing?

Blessings,

Mary

Quiet Time in a Busy Life

This past week has been even busier than usual for me. I’ve been helping three different friends with their websites in addition to my regular routine of audio editing, a full time job and three children. I’m not complaining, mind you.  I am glad I have skills to help my friends!  And though I may be tempted from time to time, I wouldn’t trade my children for anything.

Making space for quiet time was shuffled to the bottom of my ‘to do’ list, though, and I definitely felt the effects.  I was run down, exhausted, and my body was achy.  I knew it was because I wasn’t taking care of myself, and not because of any ‘bug’.  I was sleeping in instead of getting up and moving my body.  I sat in front of my computer, stiffening up. I worked on my computer straight up until I had to leave for work, then took half the day getting myself grounded again.

So I spent yesterday taking better care of me.  I slept in, and spent some time with my husband.  I read to my children.  I bounced on the trampoline.  I did the laundry and started cleaning up my work space. And I got some of my own projects completed that were pushed to the side last week.

And this morning, I got up early and did my yoga practice for the first time in weeks!  I focused on breathing love for the entire time.  Each time my mind wandered, I gently brought it back to I AM…LOVE.

Right now, the dishwasher is churning away, my youngest son is fighting battles with imaginary storm troopers, and there is a box full of papers I need to sort through on the floor next to my chair.  Instead of becoming anxious about this, though, I cam calm.  I can tune out the space battle, and turn down the pressure on myself to get to that box.  Why?  Because I started the day with yoga and meditation.  I began on the right foot: with calm and intention, and that carries me through the day.  I created the quiet inside myself, and so I become the eye of the storm.

Now, I think I’ll go bounce on the trampoline for a few minutes before I tackle that box!  A little fun makes life much more enjoyable, too!

Blessings,

Mary

Breathe Love

The other night I woke up in quite a lot of pain.  The muscles all up and down my back were spasming.  I prefer not to take medication until all my other options have run out.  I also avoid getting out of bed if I can! 🙂

So I started by slowing down my breath.  When I’m in pain, like most people, my breathing gets shallow and quick. Then I started a technique that my dad taught me when he was learning to manage chronic pain.  With each inhale, think, “I am.”  With each exhale think, “Calm.”  Each breath affirms that your entire being is calm.

I have used this technique to successfully manage pain and anxiety in the past.  This time, a flash of inspiration came to me.  Change the word “calm” to “love!” I AM…LOVE. Now each breath affirms that my entire being is love!

I instantly felt my pain level decrease.  After only a few breaths, I felt my heart expand, and a feeling of peace and joy washed over me.  My mind kept taking me out of the experience to analyze what I was feeling so that I could write about it this week, and I would return to focusing on the breath.  I AM…LOVE.  I AM…LOVE. My heart expanded, and I felt a deeper connection with my family, and soon with the world outside.  I was in unity.  I was relaxed.  The pain was not completely gone, but it was significantly decreased to the point that I was able to go back to sleep.  And I felt great!

For a deeper meditation experience, do this in combination with alternate nostril breathing.  Here’s how:

  1. Hold your right hand up, palm facing you.
  2. Bend your index finger and middle finger down, leaving your thumb, ring, and pinky fingers up.
  3. Using your ring finger to hold your left nostril closed, inhale through the right nostril for a count of four.  (Think, “I AM.”)
  4. Release your left nostril and using your thumb to hold your right nostril closed, exhale for a count of eight. (Think, “LOVE.”)
  5. Continue holding the right nostril with your thumb, and inhale for a count of four.  (Think, “I AM.”)
  6. Release your right nostril, hold your left nostril closed with your ring finger, and exhale for a count of eight. (Think, “LOVE.”)
  7. Lather, rinse, repeat three to seven times.

Alternate nostril breathing activates both sides of the brain.  Even practicing here while I am typing out the instructions, I can feel the positive effects!  Let me know what you experience.

Blessings,

Mary

Where my spiritual path and science meet

I read this article by Stacia Topping last week, and it really affirmed my choice to use meditation and guided meditation in my life.

A Soul’s Code insider asked herself, “Can enlightenment happen through meditation or practice?” Drawing on examples like Eckhart Tolle, her personal experience and science, the answer is: Yes

I began meditating about two and a half years ago, at the urging of a then-friend (translation: a fellow I was very briefly dating.) I was an avid journal-writer, and felt that was enough for clearing the detritus-of-the-day from my mind.

But a couple weeks later, when someone came into my office and was handing out flyers for beginning meditation classes, I decided to take up the invitation. My work ’situation’ was super-stressful, and I thought that meditation might help ameliorate the effects more than what I saw people around me using to cope — from Ambien to alcohol.

Continue reading the article here…

Blessings,

Mary

There’s a new meditation available for you. Download for free here…

Brainwave Entrainment

In my research about meditation, I keep bumping into something called “brainwave entrainment”.  Proponents say it has phenomenal benefits, and it greatly aids in meditation.  But what is it, exactly?

Wikipedia says:

Brainwave entrainment or “brainwave synchronization,” is any practice that aims to cause brainwave frequency to fall into step with a periodic stimulus having a frequency corresponding to the intended brain-state (for example, to induce sleep), usually performed with the use of specialized medical software. It depends upon a “frequency following” response, a naturally occurring phenomenon where the human brain has a tendency to change its dominant EEG frequency towards the frequency of a dominant external stimulus.[citation needed] Such a stimulus may be aural, as in the case of binaural or monaural beats and isochronic tones, or else visual, as with a dreamachine, a combination of the two with a mind machine, or even electromagnetic radiation.[citation needed]

And what does that mean in English?

Essentially, most brainwave entrainment programs help you to move into a different state of consciousness by using the brain’s natural tendency to align with another brainwave pattern, allowing you to gain the benefits of that particular state.

So what are the different states of consciousness? There are four categories, ranging from alert to asleep and they vary by how fast the electrical waves of your brain are.  The faster the waves, the higher the frequency, and the more alert you are. (Remember the sine wave from high school?)

Sine Wave

  • Beta is when you are awake and actively engaging your mind.  This would be when you are having a conversation with someone, writing, reading or creating.
  • Alpha is when you are awake, but relaxed.  This is generally when you have taken a break from something you’ve been focusing on, or when you start to meditate.
  • Theta is when you are dreaming, deeply meditating or starting to fall asleep.
  • Delta is when you are asleep.

Brainwave entrainment programs generelly help move your brain frequency into the theta state.   What does this do for you?

The reported benefits of lowering your brainwave include:

  • Increased relaxation and reduced stress
  • Improved memory and creativity
  • Greater ability to focus and concentrate
  • Stronger intuition
  • Higher energy level
  • Fewer illnesses
  • Better sleep

A quick Google search finds lots of products out there at various price points.  There are even some you can download for free. Here’s the one I use currently.

Blessings,

Mary

PS.  A quick way to lower your brainwave to Alpha state is to close your eyes and “look” up about 30º. Focusing on a spot above and between your eyes helps to activate your third eye chakra, while lowering your brainwave frequency.  Cool, huh?

12 Steps to Help You to Relax, Heal & Commune With Nature

Posted by Julie Griffin in Hypnosis on January 17th, 2010

Scores of books and articles have been written on the benefits of physical relaxation. There are many things that you can do to prompt your body to relax, including spending time outside in nature.

If you enjoy self-hypnosis and guided meditation, the following steps will help you get the most out of any time that you spend in nature. You can add your own thoughts and imagery to these steps, to make the process more personally meaningful.

You can read the 12 steps here…

Blessings,

Mary

If you haven’t tried it yet, you can download Creating Sacred Space for free!
And keep your eyes out for another meditation available for download soon!