meditation is not just sitting in silence & other notes of practicing presence.

I’m lying there on the floor, arms outspread, eyes closed. Silence. The heat turns on. The dog wakes and changes position. Still lying there. Silence. It’s like I can hear the silence it’s so loud. And I begin to think, “Can’t I just take a nap instead?”

I question the effectiveness of meditation every time I begin. “I wonder if I really will feel better after just 15 minutes.” I always do.

Maybe it’s better this way… to begin with low expectations. To know this might not resolve my stress, guilt, sadness, or impatience. But somehow it does.

“But I am still and silent and breathing so many other moments of the day… what difference does my intention to actually meditate make?” It makes a difference.

In all honesty, sometimes I fall asleep. Or perhaps I’m just so deep into my meditation that it just seems like I’m sleeping. Sure, we’ll go with that. But I “wake up” renewed. At peace. Blissful.

I’ve recently revived my daily meditation practice. The length of time varies and whether it’s self-guided or guided changes from day-to-day. No matter the selection, meditation fulfills me. It makes me feel whole.

Meditation does not need to be a formal silent practice. Meditation does not need to involve mudras or mantras or essential oils or chanting. Mine oftentimes don’t. Meditation is essentially the practice of being present, which you can do as you move throughout your day or while seated or lying down.

The more you practice, the more present you can become in the most complex moments of your life.

Here are three meditations or practices to help you remain present that you can try today.

  1. Walking Meditation – allow yourself to notice the song a bird sings and the crunch of leaves under foot, observe two squirrels chasing each other up a tree and the sway of the branches in the breeze, feel the sun rays shining on your face and the way your hair whirls you around in the wind. I walk and I notice, I walk and I give thanks, I walk and I smile. A walking meditation is the easiest way to reconnect to the simplest things and brush off everything else.
  2. Guided Meditation – the Internet makes it easy for us to tap into the guidance of others through guided meditations found on YouTube, their own websites, or paid subscription services. I opt for a quick YouTube search along with a key word or duration of the meditation.
  3. Single-tasking – the practice of remaining present does not have to be in the form of inaction. You can be productive while remaining present through single-tasking. Commit to one task, chore, or action and just do that. Notice how it makes you feel. Take note of how much you love it or enjoy it. Smile about it. Not every task you do will be one you love, enjoy, or smile over– but you can always find a reason to be grateful. While folding laundry, consider how lucky you are to have access to adequate, clean clothing for you and your family. Think about how you’ll feel wearing your comfy t-shirt or perhaps recall a memory of a time you wore it. Consider it’s ability to keep you warm or even make you look damn good. Folding laundry does not have to be a mindless task. And neither does walking the dog, preparing dinner, applying mascara, or filling your car with gas. Commit to one task and one task only and soak it up.

Meditation doesn’t have to be woo woo and you don’t have to sit in full lotus (the pretzel shape as you often times hear it referred to in the mainstream). Meditation is presence, gratitude, attitude, and compassion. It’s not just sitting in silence. It’s observing, it’s feeling, it’s appreciating… all the beauty in this life and breathing through and accepting the challenges.

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