In honour of International Calm Day, April 5th, I’d like to share with you my favourite thing to do daily. This is a non negotiatiable, part of my morning, and sometimes evening routine, and I do it everywhere. I’ve done it in parks, under waterfalls, gardens, looking out over lakes and cliffs, in my car, on the bus, in a public bathroom (once!), and even in my bed. Know what it is?!
Actually, people that are close to me know that I meditate daily. This practice I had to work really hard at cultivating, and literally carve out time daily to achieve. Thankfully I saw the long term benefits of regular meditation and I’m so proud I stuck with my goal. Where I am now, I won’t function with at least 10 minutes on the mat. It’s made me calmer, clearer; increased mindfulness, and most importantly, brought me closer to that inner wisdom in my heart gently guiding me to live the life I’ve always dreamed of. It wasn’t always like this…
Sometimes life changing practices cone from life changing events or circumstances. For me that was an almost 10 year period of vandalism, binge drinking, mind altering drugs, breaking into public property, pharmaceutical substance abuse, and occasional illegal street car racing. As a teen I went through an emotional roller-coaster of fear, doubt, uncertainty, and anger. So much of the world didn’t make sense to me, and I was seemingly locked in an internal whirlpool of turmoil. I sought my relief in external means. Going within never ever crossed my mind. This is what I lovingly refer to as my Runaway Phase. I’m not kidding, I fully rocked the punked out moody Joan Jett look in this time!
My love of meditation and internal calm stemmed from the instruction of a kind loving a wise teacher: Mrs Ursula Ridnell. During a religious studies class Mrs Rid nell instructed the group to lye on the floor and breathe in with the word “om”, and breathe out with the word “sah”. And repeat. We continued to breathe in this manner for 10 minutes. Unknowingly to her, this simple exercise saved my life.
Some how, some way, her gentle instruction came to me in times of overwhelming stress. In my solitude I took long deep breathes and felt waves of relaxation slowly seep into my veins. The cooling sensation encompassed me in a blue light of love and tranquillity. Pain, heartache, and despair may still be within me, but I’ve learned to live alongside it; bringing awareness to whatever is there, and what it needs to do, giving it space to be present and honour the mishaps in my life or emtotions, then I gently let it go. I started growing aware of the sensation to self sabotage and I used this simple meditation to calm my nerves; encouraging my soul to drink in its goodness.
Years later I have cultivated a meditative practice that aids me in just about any circumstances. Contrary to what some might think, meditation does not solely refer to time spent on the mat in the lotus position. Today my practice incorporates running, journalling, eating mindfully, and random acts of kindness.
If you’re interested in kicking off your own meditation practice, check out some of my favourite people, websites and apps:
Calm – This is the website and app that I use daily to get in my 10 minutes of mindfulness. There are incredible programs that span over 7 and 21 days for people starting out.
Gabrielle Bernstein – A gorgeous soul with a gorgeous mission- meditation. Gabby’s story is inspiring and her wisdom and teachings are like no other.
Terri Cole – Terri runs an amazing program called Real Love Revolution which includes daily meditations focused on building self esteem, self worth, and internal love foundations.
Smiling Mind – this is the first program that really encouraged guided meditation to become a daily habit of mine. The audios are smooth and easy to follow, with a variety of levels and durations, from beginner to advanced, 5 minutes to 45 minutes. There are even propgrams for kids and adolescents which I think is super decent!
Hay House Meditations – The wonderful team at Hay House release weekly meditiations on a variety of exciting topics for transofrmation, growth, connection and peace. Authors include Doreen Virtue, Deepak Chopra, Sylvia Browne, and of course, the beautiful Louise Hay.
I hope that sharing my journey has brought you comfort or inspiration to assist your own. We are all on a different paths to build beautiful meaningful lives and I believe the more we share and encourage each other, the more connected we become and the next steps, along with the strength to take them, will appear.
Happy International Calm Day everyone xo