Once upon a time I slept and lived in a shed. For a moment, I also slept in a hammock for months.
Fast forward to June. My rad, amazing mother brought me a portable hammock. I traveled with it in my pack for MONTHS. It’s going to rain. I’s too hot. There are bugs. For months I found some bullshit excuse not to hang it up.
Finally last week I was determined. Dead set on hanging out for the day. I had a journal. I had a book. I was ready to rock and roll.
Now I will out myself and say I had a twinge of that fear of thinking of what others were thinking about me. I silenced it quickly and hung it up anyways. And I will rat myself out again, saying I was hesitant to climb in. I was initially waiting for the fall. Waiting to look like a jack ass, as I so gracefully rolled right back out. Thankfully that moment never came. It held up. I relaxed. I really let go. I really started to enjoy myself. I wrote the piece I posted the other day on Happiness. I read some of my book. I felt calm. Content. I listened to the rustling leaves. Beheld the water before me. Took note of the first hint of change among the leaves. Signs of the changes going on in my head and mind and life. I felt really comfortable.
There is something to this hammock, hanging out life I thought. Why am I not doing this more often? A flashback memory to hammock tents I’ve seen. Hmm…..I got to get me one of those.
So I looked it up. Obviously there is the initial benefits I felt: peace, relaxation, comfort. But there is more to hammock life. Little did I know what I was doing five years ago when I rigged one up in my shed. Here are some of the benefits to hammocks and why maybe you should ditch the tent for a hammock that I found:
Tuesday I dished out some info on why to meditate. Why I do it. Why you should consider doing it. Now that you’ve decided to take the plunge, where do you begin? Today I will recount my own personal experiences with meditation.
Let’s me begin with the intention. When I go to yoga classes, the teacher often leads class with a prompt: what is your intention for this practice? Same with meditation. Before I hit my pillow I will ask: what is my intention with this practice? It can be to let go. Or for love. Or compassion. Or connection. The list is ongoing and we’ll get more into it. For me it is about creating a peaceful state. For bringing awareness to my body, mind, and soul. It is not about not thinking. I think while I meditate. It happens, thoughts will pop up. For me it is about being aware of my thoughts. I detach from them. I watch them. I have learned that I don’t always have to give power to what I am thinking. I am better at catching myself take something personally for instance or making an assumption or going along with something. Then I will ask myself: is that what I really believe. Or if someone says something to me: do I want to take offense to that? I am in charge of what thoughts I give power to: negative or positive. If I dwell on something I am giving it energy. Where do I want to put my energy?
Where do you begin then? Begin with a space. Find a quiet peaceful place away from distraction. Relax. Find a position that is comfortable to you. I like to sit with my legs crossed, hands in my lap, head up, eyes closed. Sometimes I will place my hands in a pray position at my chest. Breathe. It always go back to your breath. Focus on it. Inhale in the nose. Exhale. Pay attention to how your diaphragm moves. How your belly fills with each inhalation. How it sinks in with each exhalation. You can simple count your breath if you want. Sometimes I will have a thought with each breath. In: I am being taken care of. Out: Everything I need is already on its way. Usually I think this when I am trying to create abundance or achieve a goal. If you get distracted during your practice, go back to your breath or a mantra. What is a mantra you ask? Often I will think of a mantra in my mind or say it aloud. I’ve done some guided meditations (Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s 21 day challenges are my favorite). They lead you into the practice, give you a mantra to focus on. Om for instance is the universal sound. They will play music as you settle into your meditation, repeating om as you breathe and sink in. Grab a hold of that bigger cosmic picture and allow yourself to let go. My best practice ever was at a zen meditation group while I was in Colorado Springs. We sat for 25 minutes. Sank into a quiet silence for 25 minutes. Walked and took another 25 minutes. When I stood up, I felt as if I had showered. Fresh. Light. Clean. Radiant. Light-filled. Last week while I was at the market, my dear friend Dr. Tank sent me: Om Shanti an invocation for peace. Find a mantra. Put it in your head. When your brain starts to wander, go back to your breath and mantra. Continue reading “Hit the Pillow: Tips for Starting a Meditation Practice”→