WARNING:  Nothing I share in this post will be mind-blowingly jaw-dropping in the same way ALL of my other posts are, but I hope you’ll share in my “renewed AHA”  that I experienced this past week. #mindblowinglyjawdropping

Being that I’m a yoga teacher and a life coach, it should be a given that mindfulness is something I think about a lot…and I do.

I THINK about it but my game in PRACTICING it could be upped about 100%.  

To be fair, I don’t give myself enough credit for the mindfulness practice I actually have implemented into my life.  When in inevitable LA traffic, I pay attention to my tight grip on the wheel and take a few conscious breaths to bring me back to what’s actually happening, VS the story I’ve created about everyone in LA driving like an asshole.  (Ok, they really ARE assholes but the breaths remind me that I can’t change that, and that I’m more than ok in the present moment.)

I also have a high level of self-awareness when people upset me.  I connect to my heart center tightening up, my stomach dropping to my feet, and my anger/sadness throbbing throughout my body and pulsating into my fingertips.  Thankfully, (for both myself and the unfortunate soul who triggers me) I now pause and take a breath instead of impulsively reacting with “colorful” words.

So yeah, I think my life-coaching work and years of studying/practicing yoga have shifted a whole lot for this naturally fiery Irish woman.  That being said, it’s recently been gnawing at me that there are certain intentions I’ve set and habits I’ve wanted to break that my mind just can’t seem to commit to.  

CAN’T??!?  

Lets be real:  I haven’t really WANTED to cut back on my drinking and eating out one too many nights, which naturally gravitates me towards crappier food in larger quantities, thanks to alcohol giving me zero gauge on how full I really am.

I am someone who goes after what I want (except men– I’m a BIT of a traditionalist in that department) and I’ve done the 45-day cleanses where I’ve felt like a million bucks.  I recognize that something in me doesn’t want to cut back on the excessive consumption badly enough right now.  

So instead, I talk about it.  Feel shitty about it.  Get annoyed when the pants get tighter.  And then…you guessed it, eat and drink more.  

I remember being stuck in this super fun cycle a couple of years ago and complaining to my therapist about how out of control my habits were.  It was a hectic time where I was grabbing food on the go, had lots of celebrations enticing my Irish liver to consume more than my Irish arse would have preferred, and my meditation practice had gone out the window.

The only thing she suggested I get back on top of, was meditating.

As I recalled this seemingly simple yet challenging suggestion that worked quite well back then, the savvy universe presented tickets to attend a conversation between my favorite, Maria Shriver, and Andy Puddicombe– co-founder of the hugely successful meditation app, Headspace, this past week.  

It was the perfect opportunity to remind myself of what I already knew, but needed to hear again as if it was for the first time. 

So here were my favorite take-aways/ renewed-AHA’s:

  1. Meditation does NOT guarantee happiness.  A consistent practice will bring varying results to each individual, but chances are VERY LIKELY that your well-being will be enhanced for the better in a variety of ways.  Doesn’t this make you curious?!?!
  2. Why meditate when coming into quiet stillness brings up a lot of painful shite?  Emotional pain is something we inevitably experience, yet our society and even a few self-help gurus encourage us to be happy all the time.  Pain, sadness, and anger ARE NOT BAD emotions.  They’re not comfortable either but they are part of the human experience, so why not use a healthy, FREE tool to process them?   Meditation builds emotional resilience as we CONSCIOUSLY process trauma and pain instead of numbing it out with food, shopping, alcohol, Facebook, or whatever your go-to vice is.  Unprocessed pain leads to lashing out on the wrong person, panic attacks, addiction, and manifestation of physical disease, to name a few.
  3. There’s no such thing as being bad at meditating.  Andy, who was a practicing monk for five years, and is currently the freakin’ VOICE on Headspace with 11 million subscribers, STILL feels new to meditation.  Meditation entails WATCHING the thoughts and building the muscle to not attach to them so tightly.  We’re always going to have a lot of thoughts and feelings, and that’s MORE THAN OK.  The point is to not let the thoughts that do not serve us dictate the way we live our lives.
  4. Meditate when things are good!  Aside from the horror of what’s happening in our country, my individual life is pretty good right now.  Truth be told, the over-eating and drinking more than what my body would prefer is because I’m having a whole lotta fun with so many people I love!   That being said, as my therapist suggested, meditation will help bring back more balance into my life, which I know this extroverted introvert is really craving deep down.

So needless to say, I was re-sold on having a consistent daily meditation practice, and am currently on day 6 of Headspace’s Free Ten Day trial, of only 10-minute meditations.  I’m loving it so far, and hoping to report back a bit more balance and perhaps a few unexpected surprises in the coming weeks.

You have absolutely NOTHING to lose and SO SO MUCH to gain, no matter where you are in your life.  So try it out and report back here on all the magic that’s transpiring in your life!

I can’t wait to share what unfolds in mine!

Happy Claire Your Mind Monday.