Do you ever wonder how you could fit meditation into your already busy life? Or perhaps you wonder what difference meditation could make or what you might expect if you decide to give it a try.
I had a chance to interview Aleisha, a recent participate in my “Learn to Meditate” workshop about her experiences with starting a new practice.
Aleisha has a beautiful family and 2 vivacious little boys. In addition to being a mom to 2 toddlers, she has a full-time position as a business analyst and is a producer for a film production company working on a post- apocalyptic drama called BURN.
Aleisha, with so much already on your plate, what inspired you to organize a “Learn to Meditate” workshop for your workplace?
Our workplace has recently had some challenges with stress – as I am sure many in Calgary have due to the economic stresses of the present time. I hoped that teaching individuals techniques to manage and alleviate their own stress would have a ripple effect on the work environment.
What were your personal reasons for wanting to start a meditation practice?
I practice yoga and always enjoyed the meditation component.
In the past, I had been introduced to meditation but had never taken the time to learn about it or how to do it. All I knew was that the times in my life when I had meditated, even in small doses, I felt a calmness and I have always longed for this feeling.
You’re a busy mom, with two young children, a full-time job and are currently working on making a movie. How did you manage to fit meditation into your already full schedule?
During our initial session, Bev had us create a plan for our own meditation practice. I made a commitment to my plan and over the next few days, I scheduled my meditation session into my day.
I started with 5 minutes and over the course of a few days, I was up to 15 to 20 minutes.
Even though the first few sessions were scheduled into my day, within a few days I began to notice that I “craved” it. I felt so amazing immediately after my meditation that I looked forward to my special time each day (and sometimes twice a day).
Being as busy as I am, I gave myself permission to take the time to pause and become mindful, to allow my body, mind, and spirit to recharge.
This gives me the clarity, motivation, and resilience to thrive in my life. I also started to realize that meditation was a form of self-care and self- love. This was “me” time that was convenient and had lasting effects.
Have you noticed any changes in yourself since you started meditating? If so, how long did it take before you noticed changes?
I have been meditating every day for 6 weeks now, however, I noticed changes after the very first meditation. The effects were immediate; the calm, the centering, and connection were something that I had longed for in my life.
I have a lot more resiliency in daily life and instead of getting caught up in a reaction, I feel that I am able to slow down and practice mindfulness in my response.
How have your children responded to your meditation?
As a mom to a 3 and 5-year-old, developing this skill has really helped me to remain calm and think instead of reacting or becoming frustrated.
My boys quickly got used to Mommy meditating. I will sit on the couch and put in my earbuds and take a few minutes. They understand when Mommy is meditating, and they give me that time.
When I am done, my energy is different and so is my family’s.
I have started to introduce the concept with my 5-year-old before bed, and it really helps him to unwind.
What advice would you give to other busy people who are considering a meditation practice?
If time is a concern, I would suggest scheduling it into your day to start. Eventually, it will become a positive habit that you look forward to.
The time you take to meditate will pay dividends in the time you will get back in your daily life.
It seemed to me that my feelings of overwhelm and lack of time disappeared when I learned to be more focused on the task at hand.
I have increased clarity of thought and I am able to observe my emotions instead of being ruled by them. My quality of thought has been enhanced and I have the ability to focus more easily now, which actually gives me more time.
I also want to share an experience I had the other day about meditation in action:
We had a very stressful meeting at work, a very emotionally charged meeting.
In the past I have experienced anxiety attacks, and while I hadn’t had one in about ten years, during this meeting I could feel all my symptoms of a panic attack starting, I could feel the war inside bubbling and I started to get light-headed and dizzy, I was shivering but sweating, I started to feel a lump in my throat and heat behind my eyes that promised to be tears. …and I knew this is how an anxiety attack starts for me.
So, I left the room, I went to the washroom, I could still feel the impending doom…and then I thought – I’ll try to meditate! I found a vacant phone room on the floor and I began to breathe deeply 6…7….8…9… I could feel my body start to reset…10…I could think more clearly again…11…and I felt a flood of calm and then started the mantra you taught us Hum (inhale) Sa (Exhale)…I know I’m in my sweet spot when I see the indigo circle pulsating just beyond the tip of my nose….and time passed ….and then I was done.
I went back to the meeting – with very different energy and I could feel my resilience and calm surround me like a bubble. I was able to give feedback to the manager and interact with my coworkers that were clear and calm.
I had always thought of meditation as a preventative practice – and it is for sure – but I love how I could also use it as a tool in the heat of the moment. This really opened my eyes to other applications for sure!
If you’d like to learn to meditate, check out an upcoming workshop.