This morning was one of those rushed sort of scenes in our household. My daughter's breakfast was still only half-eaten when we were supposed to be walking out the door, I was slapping hummus on her sandwich while barking at her to EAT, and my husband was running upstairs to take his first call for the day.
Go. Go. Go.
It wasn't until I got home from dropping her at school that I caught myself in the frenzy of the energy. All at once I noticed that I felt anxious and clenched, and I found myself instinctively taking a deep breath and reminding myself to just be here right now in this moment.
I felt my body relax. My cheeks softened from scowl to smile. My breathing slowed. And my mind stilled.
This is the sweet residue of my meditation practice, these moments of calling myself back into the present. It's the reason I sit each day in the stillness, and it's the reason my life feels more joyful and more flowing than it ever has.
See, meditation isn't just about the minutes you sit with eyes closed and legs crossed. It's a training ground for the real work called life. It's a way of being that when repeated again and again actually makes some real changes in those hard heads of ours.
There's a children's book I read to Chloe often that I adore called Mindful Monkey, Happy Panda. In the book a monkey who isn't so happy notices that his friend panda is always happy. The monkey is confused why on the outside their lives look pretty much the same, but on the inside the panda seems much more at peace.
The panda's answer is mindfulness.
"When I walk, I am just walking. When I work, I am just working. When I read, I am just reading. When I eat, I am just eating. When I play, I am just playing. And when I rest, I am just resting."
"True happiness, said Happy Panda gently, comes from bringing all your attention to whatever you are doing right now. There is no need to think about what happened yesterday. Yesterday's gone, over, done. And there's no need to worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow isn't here. But today is all around us. Bringing your mind back to this moment, right here, over and over again, is called mindfulness."
Mindfulness is what pulled me back in this morning from the ledge of anxiety and the momentum of all the negative gunk that was going on inside my head. It was like I awoke suddenly from a harried dream to find myself standing at the blender making my smoothie.
"I am making a smoothie," I whispered to myself as I took a deep breath. And I kid you not the vegetables suddenly were more beautiful. I could actually notice the sunshine reflecting off my selenite tower in the kitchen window. And I felt this buffer of space around me that kept expanding further and further out from my body.
I found the sweet spot of the now.
Mindfulness meditation is simply training our minds for moments just like these. It is the mental workout that shapes our brains for the moments of truth speckled throughout our day, and it's surprisingly easy and incredibly nourishing.
I hear again and again from people all the reasons why they think they can't meditate, but it just isn't true. If you can sit, you can meditate. If you can breathe, you can meditate. If you can focus, you can meditate.
I know, I know. The focus part is what trips people up. In a time in history when we are barraged with noise from every angle, it can be easy to think focus is a far reach. But holding laser focus isn't the name of the game.
Meditation is about returning to the focus.
It doesn't matter if you lose focus 2,000 times in a meditation. It only matters that you faithfully return. Therein lies the work. A faithful, patient return. To yourself. (You're worth it.)
If you'd like to knock your own socks off with your focusing abilities and experience the ease of meditation, I invite you to download my free e-book "Meditate in 3 Easy Steps." Included is a 6-minute guided meditation designed to demonstrate that meditation truly is for everyone. This quick guide is brief and to-the-point by design. Meditation doesn't have to complicated. And your life doesn't have to hard. Let it be easy.