In addition to eating a diet that is better for me and better for the planet, another unexpected side effect that has grown out of my yoga practice is a daily meditation practice.
I have been practicing meditation regularly for about five years. Meditation has brought a sense of grace and purpose into my every day. On days when I miss my meditation practice, I spend all day with that vague “I lost my wallet feeling”. Over time, and it has taken a lot of hours on my cushion, I have found that I have become softer, more loving, less cynical, and most importantly, aware of when I am not paying attention.
As a busy working mother, wife, daughter and friend, I need and want to show up for a lot of people. No matter what you may think, people know when you’re not present. Even if your body is there, if your mind is elsewhere, they know, and it doesn’t make them feel good. It’s that simple.
If you want to feel good, and you want the people around you to feel like they matter, then pay attention. Listen to them without planning what you are going to say next.
Pay attention to your own mind. Sometimes within an hour I can ping pong ball between joy, anxiety, gloom, song lyrics, wondering what happened to my 8th grade lab partner, and whether or not that Free People dress I am dying for is on sale. While all that stuff is going on, I could be driving, or teaching, or having lunch with a friend. It’s exhausting… What I have found is that no matter what, my mind will wander, but meditation has trained me to bring it back. To settle in to the task at hand, to listen, to appreciate, to lean in to whatever is going on around me.
When I do that, I feel at ease, and even though by making an effort to stay with the ever-changing present, I am giving up “control” I feel more stable. I love better, my connection to the people I encounter is not a pantomime for their benefit, it is really a chance to show up in an authentic way to another human being, no matter if they are your child or pumping your gas.