Be silent, be still. This line randomly popped into my head the other day as I was feeling myself start to, um, stress out. It is a line from the movie She’s All That circa 1999 starring Freddie Prince, Jr., Rachael Leigh Cook, and the late, great Mr. Paul Walker. I loved this movie when I was younger eating up the high school drama, choreographed dance scenes, and the juvenile love affair between the two main characters. Last but certainly not least was getting to see Paul Walker’s beautiful blue eyes on the big screen. Coincidentally my spouse has beautiful blue eyes so maybe that movie helped start my affinity for those sparkling baby blues. However, this post is about learning to relax and not hot actors from the ’90s. I digress.
To say “be silent, be still” popped in my head randomly is somewhat misleading because it popped in my head as I began to think about starting a meditation routine. The benefits of meditation are plentiful, including but not limited to, reducing stress, controlling anxiety, promoting emotional health, enhancing self-awareness, lengthening one’s attention span, reducing the effects of memory loss, increasing kindness, and it may help fight addictions. If all these previously mentioned benefits are “scientifically proven” then why aren’t we all doing it? Meditation appears to be a natural miracle drug.
As I thought about each of these advantages individually it became apparent that I need to start reminding myself to be silent, be still into my routine immediately. I have high expectations that this level of introspection is going to help my ADD, calm my constantly over-stressed mind, lessen my intense emotions and possibly keep memory loss at bay. So, what about the one that says ‘increases kindness’? In all my impractical google searches I don’t think I have ever heard of anything improving kindness per se. To be completely honest that one sounds far-fetched even for Positive Polly, my affectionate nickname for myself. I can’t help but wonder how would I even know if it increases kindness? Hopefully, those around me will be able to keep track of this touted benefit and say, “wow Felecia your kindness seems to be overflowing these days.”
My mission for February has become clear, to calm my mind and spirit through meditation. I cannot wait to get started so I typed in ‘meditation for beginners’ into the beacon of truth… the Google search box. A ton of information popped up and out of habit, I clicked on the first link. It outlines 20 tips to help get started which seems like a lot of guidelines for beginners. The first one seemed easy enough by recommending that an individual only set a goal of two minutes for the first week. Seems doable; let’s get started!
I set my alarm clock like normal and got out of what I consider to be the most comfortable bed on the planet. I have gotten bad about hitting snooze several times before crawling out of bed, but I woke up with determination. I made the coffee, fed the fur baby that purrs, made sure I cleaned the kitchen appropriately the night before and headed downstairs with Sebastian trailing closely behind me. I love our home, but I especially love the downstairs early mornings. If I am the only one up the peace and quiet of downstairs draws me into its cozy charm. It’s the perfect spot to be silent, be still. I made a promise to myself a long time ago to not check my email or turn on the TV for at least one hour after I got up. It works most days unless I have an early morning relationship with the snooze button as previously mentioned.
I grabbed a couch pillow, plopped down and set my phone timer for three minutes. I know it suggested two, but I felt like being an over-achiever. It’s difficult to focus when you have ADD and are half asleep. Mentioning the words ADD and lack of focus in the same sentence sounds redundant which is why I hope this helps my attention issues in some way. It was hard to count my breaths in and out. As my mind would start to wander I lost track of counting and had to start all over. I was only at 20 when the timer went off and that’s a problem. If I only took 20 breathes in three minutes I might be dead. Day 1 turned out a success due to the simple fact it was over.
I am told that when one of your senses is taken away that your other four senses can become heightened. Welcome to day two of meditation. I set my cell phone timer, just as the day before, for three minutes. Once I closed my eyes I could hear every little sound all over the house and quickly learned that feeding the cat right before I started was not the best plan. I spent the first minute listening to him crunch away on his food from across the room. I did find that it was slightly easier to re-focus on my breathing for the second minute, but by the time I got “centered,” the three-minute alarm was chirping away.
Totally nonexistent, but cut me some slack. We all fall short sometimes and I blamed it on being an over-achiever in the beginning.
Did not happen in the morning, but the late afternoon. It was almost easier for me to focus on the concept of be silent, be still once all the items on my To-Do list had been checked off. Well, maybe not all the items, but all the ones I was actually going to do.
What have I learned over the last four days is that taking time to focus and relax is beneficial. I immediately felt refreshed and determined, however, at this juncture, I cannot attest to the other gains as advertised. I plan to continue my foray into meditation for three minutes every day. Who knows if I am going to step it up to four minutes next week, but I will forge on trying to attain inner bliss. If any exhilarating outcomes occur I promise to share.
Here is a link with additional benefits of meditation if you would like a second opinion, even though we all know I am now an expert on this subject. 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation
Remember, be silent, be still.