Do you feel stressed out trying to meditate?

Live Like You Can

By Janis McDonald

Sounds like an oxymoron, yet this is exactly what recently happened to me. As part of my personal wellness plan, I had committed to meditate 30 minutes in the morning for seven days in a row.

My confidence level was high. I felt positive I would make it through my first week’s commitment. My clock was set 30 minutes early, adding the extra time I needed. Ready, set, go!

When the alarm went off, my body said, “No, wait! It’s not time to get up yet.” The war in my head began and it sounded something like this….

“Yes, but remember our meditation commitment for seven days?”

“Yes, but it’s too early to get up, you need more rest for your busy day.”

“Yes, but I feel really motivated to give myself some quiet time before I rush off to work.”

“Yes, but you can always start tomorrow. You can go to bed earlier.”

“Yes, but I made a promise to myself to start today.”

“Yes, but what’s one more day, you can start fresh tomorrow.”

“Yes, but……”

These two opposing voices continued to battle. It seemed so counterproductive to feel this much anxiety before I got out of bed. My meditation commitment was stressing me out!

I knew in my heart it was time to re-remember exactly why I wanted to meditate in the first place. I kept asking myself that powerful word, “Why, why, why, why and why” did I feel meditation was vital to my life now.

By the time I answered my fifth why, I had re-discovered my deepest motivator of letting go and not worrying so much. I felt meditation would allow me to stay centered and connected to my strong desire.

Having 30 minutes each day to remember that all is well, all will be well and all has always been well (especially as I look backward) was the path I truly wanted to take.

Knowing my commitment was alive and well, I knew my plan just needed tweaking. Once I was consistently successful, I knew the benefits would keep me continuing to continue.

First, I accepted the battle to get out of bed earlier was a no-win situation, causing me to feel like a frustrated failure with my competing desires — sleep and meditation.

Secondly, I decided the word “meditation” sounded formal and regimented. Since I don’t follow any gurus, systems or positions, my 30 minutes became “quiet time.” By simply changing the wording, I changed the feeling making it more inviting.

My plan consisted of carving out 30 minutes “before” going to bed, (which eliminated the battle of having to get up earlier) in a quiet room, alone and technology-free. During this time I review my day, conduct a self-inventory and clean up anything I regret, as best I can. Since “going” to bed has never been an issue for me, no more battles.

My energy and focus improved. My ability to go with the flow increased. My interactions with friends, family and clients became gentler. Most of all, I seem to be able to get my mind out of the way and listen more deeply.

I love the idea of “tweaking” a plan until the best way is discovered or until deciding to let it go and trying something else. Tweaking works for any area of life that needs improving or changing. Most of all, I just love the word!

A twice-monthly column on wellness, functional aging, fitness and optimal living, illustrated by inspiring stories of local people and points to ponder on positive aging.

Janis McDonald is a long-time resident, wellness coach and private gym owner.



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