I used to think that I had no idea how to
meditate, that I was one of those people who could
never embrace the practice. I imagined that the
only way I would succeed would be to sit in the
centre of a huge room, or on a cliff top or empty
beach with my legs crossed in some impossible
position; this was certainly a feat beyond me in
those days! I would have to keep my eyes shut,
not be tempted to see anything around me, join my
thumb and first finger and rest my hands on my
knees. I would be the picture of peace, and of
course physically completely comfortable while my
mind would be totally quiet.
Impossible, for me anyway…I’m always thinking of
ten things at once and I seem to have been born
multi-tasking. When I chat with a friend on the
phone I’m usually washing the dishes or making a
salad. When I walk I listen to radio programs or
audios of classes that I’ve missed. When I swim,
I practice my stories or think through new ones.
Never a moment wasted!
And then a strange thing happened…
It was a few years ago. I had been working like
crazy, spending a lot of hours in front of the
computer and even more hours talking on the phone,
sometimes with a headset and sometimes without. I
had reduced my exercise schedule because I
believed that I simply did not have the time. I
had taken on full parenting responsibility as my
partner was spending a lot of time overseas and of
course, I really didn’t need any help!
One day, I took the kids (who were really little
at the time) to the store to buy them shoes for
the winter. With the baby in a carrier, one in a
pram and the ‘big’ boy walking alongside, I bent
down to help take off a pair of shoes and felt an
unbearable ripping sensation in my lower back and
excruciating pain. I couldn’t move.
It was soon after we had moved to a new town in a
new country, I knew very few people and I was in
a shopping mall with three tiny kids and on the
floor, tears of pure agony streaming down my face.
My big boy asked me ‘mommy, what’s wrong?’ and I
managed to just about grimace a small smile and
said, ‘Mommies just hurt her back a bit, don’t worry’
while feeling total panic, what on earth was I to do.
Of course, I managed to find help (my amazing
sister, a few towns away came to the rescue) and
got treatment on the spot for pain and on-going
help to restore my back to working order. But more
importantly, I learnt a few stunning lessons.
* It is so important to know when to ask for help.
There is no shame, there is no issue, just ask
and when necessary, hire help.
* Make sure to have a structure or network in
place, you can’t afford to get stranded, and you
don’t need to either!
* Most things that feel like they need to be done
RIGHT NOW, can actually wait. Be realistic about
what you can and should do – ‘Super Woman’ is a
fictional character, we don’t need to emulate her,
we are amazing already!
* Find moments to be quiet, physically and
mentally. Find the space and place that works for
you. This is really important.
So, now I meditate. It’s not always in the way I
described earlier, in fact it’s rarely like that!
I wish I had the chance to be on a hill top or
deserted beach on a daily basis! Instead I
meditate when I hang laundry out to dry. Really,
it’s one regular activity during which I can escape
my thoughts and multi-tasking, and become still in
my mind. Strange as it sounds, things become
clear for me when I hang laundry or iron clothes!
I make sure to meet with good friends or my mom or
sisters by phone or face to face for coffee and
a chat. I make it a part of my schedule as important
as my business development meetings or coaching
And most of all, Yoga is a routine practice for
me, not just classes but what I call my Yoga
thoughts. Just being quiet and conscious of my
breath, while I’m driving the kids to school or
washing dishes, while I’m doing routine work
Taking out moments of the day to still my mind and
my breathing is what makes the difference between
confusion and clarity, physical pain and
well-being, procrastination and productivity.
Sounds simple? It is!