I can’t honestly tell you how often I’ve started, dropped off, and then restarted my meditation practice. I still remember sitting in an Esoteric Healing class on the edge of Lake Harriet listening to a younger woman than me at the time talk about how meditation for her, was like breath. She talked passionately about how she needs it every single day.
At the time, meditation was something I had heard about, but never attempted. So after that class, I gave it a try…and failed. Well, not really failed, just had a really really hard time getting the hang of it, and the point of sitting still thinking about nothing.
Years later, I got it. I totally get why it’s important and the increasingly positive impacts meditation has on my life.
Oh, but the time!
When I hurt my knee last fall I dropped my meditation practice as the time I used to spend in meditation before work was not absorbed by the extra time it took to get out of bed, to the bathroom, and all the basics involved with starting my day. I let it go for a couple weeks believing that I would bounce right back to my practice, but didn’t. After surgery, it’s been worse.
I walk by my meditation spot and think about sitting there, quietly, grounded – it’s dreamy. But, I knew after surgery I needed to find a way to incorporate some meditation time into the movement part of my day.
While this has been a struggle, a client of mine a while back presented me with an incredible idea: working meditation. We’ve all heard of working meditation. We’ve all heard about doing the dishes or folding laundry being a meditative practice, but working meditation.
She and I were having a conversation after our session time about her prayer practice. She was struggling to get it all in with an incredibly busy career until she decided one evening, pretty much by accident to pray while she did yard work. “I was bored mowing the lawn, but I’m the only one who’s going to do it, so despite the fact that I don’t enjoy it, I have to do it. A friend of mine’s Dad was hospitalized and she was so worried about him and she asked me to pray for him and I hadn’t made the time. So, there I was out mowing the lawn, and I just started praying. I prayed the entire time I moved and the time flew by! I actually enjoy mowing my lawn now!”
My first thought was, “Is that ok?”. I mean, are there God rules about praying while you mow your lawn? My Catholic upbringing was questioning this unorthodox practice. It took about two seconds for my brain to kick in and let me know that she had actually come up with a great idea, and I wondered why haven’t I thought of it myself?!
A few evenings ago Clarence was cleaning out some things in the garage, and I was planting my tomatoes and peppers. In the midst of my hurry up mindset (I only had an hour or so of time to get lots done outside) the effects of “hurry up” started getting my attention. A task that I typically love, like spending time in my garden, was being ruined by my sense of pressure to “hurry up”. Thankfully, my mind has a brain too, which spoke up and reminded me of the conversation with my client. Immediately I stopped what I was doing, took a deep breath and held it, wiggled my toes, released my breath and felt my feet sink into the earth. As I worked, I kept my focus on my breath, the feel of the plants in my hands, the colors and shades, the coolness of the stems of the plants in my fingers. It was bliss. I was completely taken away with the task of moving dirt, spreading compost, the warmth, the texture, the smell, it was all divine. I connected with the vibration of the plant, I felt its energy gently radiating. All the while, breathing in deeply, holding for a moment and breathing out. From time to time I would turn my focus to my feet to feel the dirt beneath them and to focus my attention deep within the soil of Mother Earth, and once again, I felt complete.
Since then, I have pulled that meditation practice into anything I can, whenever I can. I sat on the riding lawn mower at the lake just this morning; breathe in, hold, breathe out, feel my feet. The time and task flew by. Cleaning the lakeshore, fork-full after fork-full, breathe in, hold, breath out, feel the movement of my muscles as I lifted the fork and moved. As I sit here now, I stop to breathe, hold, feel my body supported by the cushion underneath me, and breathe out.
I don’t know if I will ever move beyond the challenge to maintain the practice of meditating, but once again I am reminded of how much more grounded, solid, and present I feel when I am in my practice. Once again, I am reminded how it feels like breath.