There is a you you don’t know.
At least, there was a me I didn’t know. I still don’t fully, but at least I now know he’s there.
And no, I’m not high right now. I didn’t take peyote and wander the desert for six days. I haven’t found God or gone gluten-free. I’ve never even been to Mt. Vesuvius.
But I did spend a month shutting things down. I stopped looking at my phone when I didn’t need to. (You’d be amazed at how much you can change the definition of need to). Getting ready for bed became an entire process dedicated to getting a good night’s sleep. No social media, no email, no booze after 8pm.
Two hours before getting into bed I was already preparing my body and mind to spend its sleeping hours in the best way possible – actually asleep. No fitful flips of the pillow, no fast-paced panic thoughts of everything I hadn’t done that day. Just pure, uninterrupted sleep. And it was a dream.
Of course, this wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t also brought meditation into my life.
Taking part in a 30-day meditation challenge with help from lululemon’s Mindfulness Manager, Danielle Mika Nagel, was a game-changer. Well, more like a mind-changer.
Don’t get me wrong; sitting down day in and day out for a month straight was a struggle. As I outlined in my last post, it was straight-up work.
But there’s no better feeling than the one you get from seeing hard work pay off. This is especially true in the world of mindfulness and meditation.
‘Cause once you find a groove, once you sit down one day and find that there’s no more struggle, no more fighting your thoughts, you’ll find a hell of a lot of clarity waiting for you. And it won’t just stay where you are in your quiet little room with your meditation music playing in the background – it’s going to come with you when you get up, it’s going to stay with you while you eat breakfast, it’s going to follow you to when you go to the office, and it’s going to be there when you need it most.
It’s a hard thing to define, clarity. It’s not as though you’ll always know what to do (trust me, you still won’t have all the answers). But when you don’t know what to do you’ll be way more okay with that. You won’t encounter stress the same way, you won’t be overcome with anxiety as often. It’s as though you’re spending your meditation sessions building confidence and clarity for your mind to lean on when it needs it most.
And breathing. Breathing is better.
Once you’ve been able to move past the thoughts that constantly dart in and out of your mind and learned to work with them (not simply try to control them), to let them come and go without so much as – wait for it – a second thought, you’ll be able to be alone with your breath and your body.
In and out. Slow and steady. The simple rise and fall of my chest. The faint thump of my heart moving blood. The sound of my living, breathing body; simple and working.
Spending dedicated minutes with your body every day is so important, so vital to knowing it – meeting that you inside of you – that it’s no wonder so many of us feel lost when we don’t do it. It should seem obvious that when we don’t put in the time and effort it takes to truly know ourselves, we end up not being comfortable with who we are.
And yet we often choose to fill our time with distractions rather than realizations.
I’m not going to challenge you to do the same thing I did. That kind of structure doesn’t work for everybody. But I will suggest you put your phone away a little more often. I will endorse living in the moment as often as possible. I will advocate for sleeping better, eating right, and exercising regularly.
And I will recommend sitting in silence a few times a week for as long as you can.
After all, you never know who you might meet.
Start practicing today with a fantastic seven-day meditation challenge podcast series led by lululemon’s Mindfulness Manager, Danielle Mika Nagel.