This morning, while wiping substantial amounts of sweat out of my eyes, on my spin bike and listening to whatever musical inspirings our instructor thought to be motivating, he was also giving us the encouraging, “you can do it” type of speech. He said two things that have stuck with me all day. He said, “push yourself out of your comfort zone, that’s how you make changes” and he said, “trust yourself.” Naturally, one would think about pushing yourself harder and faster on the bike. Bigger gears, higher RPMs, or both, to make those changes and seek increased health and physical fitness. I’m no stranger to pushing myself. In fact, pushing myself is exactly what led to me breaking my foot last year and sitting on the sidelines for six months, while everyone ran circles around me. This was a desperate time in my life, as my coping mechanisms have always been to run, to jump, to cycle, to push myself and my body to its limits and see what I can accomplish. With a broken foot, I felt broken. What I needed to find then, and am still searching for, is stillness. Mindfulness. Meditation and awareness.
This is elusive to me to this day. When my cycling/spin coach said “push yourself out of your comfort zone,” I immediately thought about attempting to be still, to quiet my controlling inner dialogue and let my thoughts come and go without holding onto them. Isn’t that what meditation is “supposed” to be? I have done and currently practice yoga, there is the “meditation” component at the end…I fall asleep. I have tried the sensory deprivation or float tanks (Joe Rogan is a big fan!) …I fall asleep. What these experiences show me is…well apparently I’m tired…but also that I need to find a way to slow down sometimes. This is the area I need to make changes. And trust myself.
In my current life, I am learning to set intentions and let go of the noise. I am learning to be more holistically healthy. All of this can be achieved through meditation and mindfulness. There is vast research available on the positive physical and mental health benefits of meditation. These benefits include: decreased blood pressure, increased immune system functions, decreased stress and anxiety, changes to your brain (it can make you smarter!), and assists with managing emotions which increases overall happiness. I need no more convincing on the health benefits.
Deepak Chopra speaks to the power of intention and how to set those intentions: (http://www.chopra.com/articles/5-steps-to-setting-powerful-intentions#sm.0001pdlu0jc3if99zu82mxkysorez) He speaks of slipping into the gap. He says:
Most of the time our mind is caught up in thoughts, emotions, and memories. Beyond this noisy internal dialogue is a state of pure awareness that is sometimes referred to as “the gap.” One of the most effective tools we have for entering the gap is meditation. Meditation takes you beyond the ego-mind into the silence and stillness of pure consciousness. This is the ideal state in which to plant your seeds of intention.
I want to get there. I want to find that gap and plant my seeds of intention. I’m setting a goal for myself and I’m putting it here so that I’m accountable. My goal is to meditate everyday for the next 10 days for 10 minutes and keep a journal. I will share my experience here after the 10 days.
I was born in the UK and on countless visits I always remember riding on the Tube in the London underground. “Mind the gap” she would say upon entering and exiting the train…apparently that’s what I should have been doing all along!