Who’s not busy? Selling real estate, raising a little one, being married, maintaining friendships, tackling the never-ending to do list, just plain living — require time and energy. Some days I feel like I can do it– other days, it feels like I am failing at it all. A common thread I find with the outcome of my days, is how I start them.
That brings me to meditation — what’s the big deal?
An interesting Harvard meditation study reveled that after 8 weeks of a daily (on average 27 minutes), mindfulness meditation program, there were significant positive changes in the brain regions associated with memory, sense of self, empathy and stress. This study proves utilizing MRI technology that the brain’s gray matter is literally rebuilt for the better in a short 8 weeks (to read more on this study, click here).
From the Bible, Apostle Paul writes, “Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Joshua back in 1400-1370BC, emphasizes that we are to meditate on God’s law day and night (Joshua 1:8).
Well if Harvard and more importantly, God, are telling me my life will be better if I meditate, then I figured I’d better check this out.
A few years ago — pre-baby– I decided I really wanted to learn how to formally meditate. If you know me, then you know, I’m a take action gal. So, I signed up for an online meditation course == zivaMind (to learn more about the course, click here*). For 8 days, I would wake up to a new email video from the instructor, Emily Fletcher. It was prefect and easy to follow. That was all fine and dandy and fairly easy to implement PRE-BABY – heck, I would sometimes meditate 2x in a day (I know, crazy right? Who has that time???) Then baby arrived and if I closed my eyes for a few minutes, I was going to fall sleep — not meditate.
Needless to say, in this season of life, my mindfulness meditation practice or quiet time (lol, quiet time with a toddler?!?) has changed. Some days, it’s a minute of gratitude while I’m finally going to the bathroom or a Hail Mary prayer for the Lord to get me through the day. Every once in a while, I catch a lucky break in the morning and wake up before the house – then I can actually sit for at least 10 minutes with eyes closed, breath, calm my mind followed by prayer, a short devotional and journal writing.
The point is, as I continue to grow up (which I think takes a lifetime), I’m learning (perhaps with the help of the rebuilt gray brain matter from meditation:)?) that my years, my weeks, my days are actually my choice, maybe not always the circumstances but the mindfulness and how I handle the circumstances. I get to choose my attitude. I get to choose to be grateful even when I don’t feel like it. I get to choose what kind of spouse, parent, friend, person I want to be. No mater if I get 1 minute or 20 minutes of meditation or quiet time in the mornings.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few tools to help you get your day off to a good start:
- Check out the zivaMind (click here*) online course. If you can find the time, it really is a great course (only 8 days!) for the busy person that wants to learn how to formally mediate.
- Journal — Just starting out? Try The Five Minute Journal: A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day*. This one has motivational quotes and a structure on what to write daily (am and pm) all within 5 minutes. Another favorite of mine (pictured with Landrie) is a basic, blank lined journal*. I typically use this journal as my prayer journal or write what I’m struggling with or what successes I may have had — just a few sentences an entry. Seems to help to get it out of my head and on paper. Try it, it’s very powerful!
- Pick up a devotional — hardcopy or download it to your phone. A few of my favorites — Jesus Calling* , My Utmost for His Highest* and Morning and Evenings – Charles Spurgeon* are great short reads. (I’ve read many devotionals while on the toilet – TMI???)
- If all the above sound overwhelming — then just breath! Wake up tomorrow, take 3 mindful breathes in and out through your NOSE . (Fascinating podcast with Patrick McKeown known as King of Oxygen – click here– on the importance of breathing in and out through your nose, not your mouth.)
Already have a mindfulness meditation practice or quiet time? Please do share what works for you.