At the beginning of the year, I said I wouldn’t make any resolutions. No one really keeps their resolutions anyway, and I’m a perpetual self-guilter (and I’ve never even been Catholic). I did decide, as I do every year, to really push myself to try new things or to learn something that I’ve always wanted to. I decided to try something new, every month, and do it for each day of that month. I haven’t kept up with that either, but even the beginnings of this process have affected me positively.

In January I decided to try meditation. Now, I’m not a hippie and I’m not very spiritual. I don’t know much about Buddha, raw food diets, or transcendental meditation (and maybe those are all sweeping generalizations anyway). What I DID know is that I was letting stressy moments define my mood, and not just for a bit, but for the entire day.

If my morning started out rough or I got some particularly difficult-to-swallow criticism at work my day was blown. I was upset, exhausted, sensitive, and felt simultaneously bored and unable to do anything productive. It felt like I was having mini bouts of depression… and couldn’t do anything to dig myself out of the feelings I was having at the time. So, I started getting up in the morning, going to pee, and then sitting on the cool bathroom floor with my phone stopwatch running – and attempting to meditate.

sycamore tree in our yard

I am NOT good at meditating. And I don’t do it for very long… and really, I’ve dropped off in the last month in my practice. What I noticed was happening though, is that I was slowly feeling a bit better in the morning (traditionally the toughest time for me). And even though I don’t do it every day, I’m finding that there are instances where I can use my remedial meditation skills to help me manage a bit better.

Sometimes I can’t sleep for worrying. And I worry about EVERYTHING… my work day coming up, my Mom’s health, money (oh, money), staying in touch with family, being a good friend to people I hold dear, making the right decisions about my career and my free time etc. I stress, guilt myself, and constantly feel like I’m not good enough, or not doing enough, or not striving enough. When sleeplessness hits, sometimes spending a little time trying to meditate in bed has actually helped me nod off before 2am!

To me, meditation is a tool, or a ‘Tips and Tricks’ sort of revelation. As I grow into my 30s, I’m finding out more about myself, how I can feel more comfortable in my own skin, and how I can live life a little freer. I’m so far away from actually having a good handle on this stuff, but it feels awesome to take action on things I know I can make better, instead of trying to control things that I can’t make better. (This is a slow process, one that I’ll probably never master – and that’s okay.)

Try it out! Sit by yourself in silence, and take a few moments to focus on your breathing and breath, clearing your mind of all the muck. It won’t make you a new person, but it just might help get you a step closer to happy living.

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