I am in the middle of a meditation challenge. I downloaded a handy, free app called breethe. I started with a few simple 10 minute meditations and then began a 7 day challenge. I have dabbled with meditation in the past and enjoy mindfulness exercises, but I have never been dedicated to sticking to a routine of meditation.
It has always been a bit difficult to find time, quiet amidst a busy house, and the inner peace to really connect with the essence of meditation. A few things are different this time around:
Age - I am 41 and proud of that number! I have earned every laugh line, forehead wrinkle, and love handle. Life has been a roller coaster of marriage, kids, divorce, dog-ownership, and career goals.
Prior to turning 40 I was searching for acceptance from others in almost every decision I made. Today, if it does not make me happy - I just don’t do it. If I don’t feel that something resonates with who I am as a woman, my answer will be no, every single time.
This new found self-acceptance and mindset has allowed me to fully commit to meditation this time. Loving yourself is a life-long journey and after 40 years, I finally started to understand that lesson.
Kids - They need me less. That is a sentence I wrestle with every day.
There is part of me that loves the fact that within the next 31/2 years I will have 3 adult children. It means there is a light at the end of tunnel for me and my husband. We have felt this light start to break through little crevices over the past few years. We have more time together and find ourselves alone many Friday and Saturday nights.
The other side of this confusing coin - my kids don’t need me. It is hard as a mom to really connect with that statement. When they were born I dreamed of being a huge part of their life until the day I die. Now, I see that the fruits of labor have birthed strong, bold, independent thinkers who won’t need me to hold their hand forever. Proud and sad mom-moment.
My kids needing less of me allows me to make space for myself in my busy life. I can meditate each morning and fully know that I won’t be interrupted. I can spend 30 minutes between meditation and Bible study and bask in the spiritual connection it brings without hearing “mom, we have a situation” or other funny little kid comments.
Support - I’ve been married twice. Two totally different marriages - Thankfully!
My husband gives me support for the “froo-froo” things I like to try, like meditation. I never receive a snide remark or sideways glance about meditating, writing, or yoga practices. All of my self-care techniques are supported and encouraged.
This has made a HUGE difference for me in many self-care practices. I no longer feel selfish. So, this time around with meditation, I have shared with my husband what I am doing and found words of encouragement and acknowledgement. This gives me the power to stick with the practice.
All this self-love, time, and support has given me the power to continue my journey. I am a firm believer that life is a learning journey. So, what am I learning?
1. Less Pain - I have Fibromyalgia. Most days it is controlled and I barely recognize that it is there. My biggest issue is a constant pain that surrounds the base of my neck. It is always there, like a friend that you love to hate.
Meditation and pain control is a poorly studied subject. One study found that focused attention or Shamantha practice promotes a sense of attachment from ongoing affective states and enhances cognitive control.
This sums up my experiences with pain and meditation. I have found that when I focus on a connecting with my inner self, it decreases the pain associated with Fibromyalgia. This in turn helps with mood and energy. I have noticed a considerable change will the 5 days I have been doing meditation.
2. More Positive Outlook - This has been a challenging week. I have felt some stressors related to work and life. Each time I started to feel negative, which tends to be my go-to emotion about work, I used meditation to refocus.
I found that this helped immensely. I have also been able to connect with my sense of humor much easier during this challenge. I have felt the negative thoughts and self-talk diminish as I continue to connect with my mindfulness practices.
3. Greater Productivity - I am a busy middle-age woman! I have 3 Kids, a husband, 3 dogs, 1 cat, a day-job, and a side-hustle that keeps me bopping. This week, I have seen my ability to connect with my tasks increase.
I would not say I have become a better multi-tasker, but I have become a more focused-tasker. I have experienced clarity and dedication to complete a task and that has increased my productivity.
Right now, as I write this, I am committing to a 30 Day Meditation Challenge. I am eager to see how this continues to improve my pain, attitude, productivity and other areas of my life. I will share my journey too.
Be kind to yourself. Love who you are today and Make Space for the amazing, beautiful woman you are.