And believe me...I’ve tried.
I’ve listened to recordings. I’ve read books. I’ve gone to classes. I’ve hired coaches (and am currently working with one now...so this is truly a never ending quest for me). Why?! Because so many people I respect & admire, people who are outrageously successful talk about having a meditation practice. So it MUST be important, right?!
So I continued to think about it, struggle with it, always wondering why I could never “get it right.”
Then one day, I was listening to Elizabeth Gilbert being interviewed on a podcast I have completely fallen in love with (the “You Made It Weird” podcast with Pete Holmes if you are interested...and I really, really think you should be) where I heard something that let me exhale fully for perhaps the first time ever.
She said she’s a horrible meditator. Like really bad at it. Doesn’t even try anymore to have a daily practice.
But it wasn’t just that she said it...it was the WAY she said it. She sounded...wait for it…
It was as if she was okay being a deeply creative & spiritual person who just doesn’t dig meditation that much.
Is that even allowed?!
For some reason, prior to hearing her say this, my misguided belief about meditation was that it had to part of my life if wanted to be a “real” spiritual person. Like LEGIT spiritual. Sure I could do lots of other things & be spiritual-ish...but not the real, certified kind of spiritual I believed people who meditate regularly to be.
What kind of BS is that?! When I think about it now, I laugh at myself. Hard!
And yes...sometimes I have a huge epiphany while in Savasana at the end of a yoga class. But not usually. Usually the insights come as I breathe my way thru the challenging poses or learn something new about an “easy” pose that makes it not so easy any more.
And why can’t THAT be meditation too?! Isn’t it possible that some of us are just set to different speeds? While many people might be good at and enjoy the slowing down of a more traditional seated meditation approach (we’ll say they’re turning into the FM dial on the radio station), there’s a pretty good audience tuned in to the AM dail that prefers to speed up as a way of tuning in & stopping the chatter of the mind (I don’t know about anyone else, but I am NOT thinking about paying bills, what’s for dinner, or any other dang thing as I focus on my breathing in spin...because I NEED that focus to keep breathing at all!).
I realize now that I was so flippin’ married to “one right way” to do meditation that I missed all the ways I meditate naturally a hundred times a day.
Like when I am deeply involved in a task & then hear a bird chirp outside or a horn honk. I like to pause & close my eyes to see how many other layers of sound I can hear. And sometimes those layers have messages for me. That’s a meditation.
Or when I lay down at night with one word stuck in my head from a book I’m reading or Facebook post I saw. And then I let that one word wash over me & try to feel what it REALLY means. To ME. Who do I know that embodies it? How do I express that word? What would life look like if I more fully embraced (or totally rejected) that word?
Side note: When I went to my nightstand to grab the book so I could share it with you for those who might be interested --“Reinventing The Body, Resurrecting the Soul” by Deepak Chopra (I am REALLY loving it!! Amazon link will be in first comment)--the stack of books in my top drawer had gotten too tall. So Deepak & his wisdom went toppling down into my bottom drawer...which happens to contain my vibrators & massage oils (judge if you want...but how do we know THAT isn’t meditation, huh?!). Wonder how he’d feel about that?! Hehe.
But I digress…
Today on my drive home after a particularly brutal spin class (I suppose they all are at 31 weeks pregnant), I had some much needed insights I’d been searching for...and I felt so dang good!! So I thought, “Maybe someone else out there is wondering why she can’t get meditation right and needs to hear that there IS NO RIGHT!”
Only you can know how you best tap into that place inside you where all the insights you need live. That place where you know you know enough...without ever consulting a single outside source. That place that feels safe & good & calm & happy that you can access even in the middle of life’s most hectic moments.
Maybe you sit still. Maybe you run fast. Maybe you bake or cook or knit or paint or any other number of things that let’s the world fall away while you stand firm in who you are and tap into what only you know.
If so...congratulations. You’re a world class meditator in my book.
And what’s more...you’re a world class YOU!
Meditation was merely the “something important” that got me thinking about all of this. But as I sit here 9 weeks away from having my first baby at 42 with a million questions about whether I am doing this whole pregnancy thing “right” I realized again...THERE IS NO RIGHT! Having this baby might be one of the most important things I do in my life...and I have kind of sucked at pregnancy the whole time...or have I?
- I haven’t read a single birth or parenting book (people did this instinctively long before there were books...so do I really need to if they aren’t calling to me?!).
- I wanted to hire a doula but likely won’t get than done until I’m about 6-7 weeks from delivery (maybe that’s exactly the right time?!).
- I still haven’t been able to tour the hospital where I’ll be delivering (but recently discovered a reason I may want to pick a different one...so no loss, right?!).
I may suck at pregnancy by some standards...but not by MY standards. And in the end, aren’t those the ones that matter most?
So I implore you...if you have any thoughts about how you “suck” today, use the air quotes in your mind when you have that thought, ok?! Because it is IMPOSSIBLE to suck at being YOU. You are, in fact, the only one who can do it absolutely perfectly.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I will go read a few chapters of Mr. Chopra’s wisdom as bit of an apology for his abrupt meeting with Wilbur & Boss. Yes...they have names. :-)
This post brought to you by Leslie Riley (formerly known as Leslie Stein)...who actually did sit still for two whole hours to write & upload the text, pictures, & links...does that count?! Haha!