Thank you tea tag. You are not helpful at all.
photo via Tuwa
To meditate, simply “sit and exist” or “sit and think about nothing.” Gag. I don’t know about anyone else, but I call bullshit these condescending and oversimplified euphemisms have never helped me actually meditate.
I saw the Headspace app for smart phones in a fitness magazine that described it as a free, easy way to start meditating if you’re not all zen and one with the universe you’ve never tried. Did I mention free? I could give free a try. Worst case scenario, I would delete the app after a few days and return to my normal, pathetic existence.
For the last few years I have struggled with anger, depression and anxiety. I tried everything: medication, therapy, exercise, work books, screaming at my husband. Some helped a little, but none made a huge difference, except the yelling. I’ve read that meditation also helps reduce the exact feels I struggle with, but so far the “sit and clear your mind” method of meditation has failed.
The first see: free program on Headspace consists of a series of 10-minute recordings that lead you through 10 days of meditation. They call it “Take 10.” Is that name totes adorbs or what? Before the first meditation session began, a video about how to approach mediation popped up. It talked about expectations have none, how much effort to apply none, but only a little and other mumbo jumbo helpful topics.
The amazingly British accent of Andy led me though the recordings. I felt easy and relaxed until holy crap I can’t even concentrate on this stupid recording I suck at everything even meditation and especially life my thoughts wandered slightly. Andy calmly assured me that I could expect my mind to drift. Just breathe and gently refocus. Of course. I knew that.
After day 3 the app required registration for a Headspace account (just email and password). I gained access to more videos and podcasts that gave me information about how to become instantly enlightened go deeper and enhance the experience.
After completing Take 10, I have achieved inner peace, feel one with the universe and approach all situations with understanding and nonattachment. Ha! Yeah right. I meditate first thing in the morning. Ok, second thing after dressing and brushing my teeth. Otherwise I fall asleep. Turns out sleeping and meditating are not the same thing. It gives me a little breather before the insanity of preschoolers hurtling around my classroom screaming “Twinkle, Twinkle Dinosaur” at the top of their lungs and knocking over block towers instead of cleaning up. I love my babies, and walking into school on a post-meditation relaxation buzz makes the day run much smoother.
If only I could teach my preschoolers to meditate like this cutie.
Hell, I’ll settle for sit still for two minutes in a row.
photo via Half Moon Yoga
For me, the Take 10 program made meditation easy to understand and practice. Being led step-by-step through the process in a conversational way let me find a calm place. It took meditation from something that “those crazy yogis” practice to something that I, a 20-something preschool teacher who sometimes needs a break from her own brain, could benefit from immediately.
As of today, I have meditated 25 out of the last 30 days. On Thursday I didn’t make time to meditate before work, so I meditated in the car on my break. Maybe I am becoming one of those crazy yogis… I recommend the Headspace app for anyone who wants to try out meditation, but doesn’t know where the hell to start. It definitely kicked off my new habit and helped me understand how to get all zen and shit. As long as I don’t think about how I need to do laundry and wash dishes oh shit I suck at meditating which means I am a horrible human being who will never succeed at anything can stay focused.
Do you meditate? If you do, how did you get started? What do you think of meditation, whether you practice it or not? Do you think Andy at Headspace should send a little jingle my way for this glowing endorsement of his app? Wouldn’t that be cool?