I’m an urban girl through and through. I love popping out my door and having a myriad of options to choose from: any type of food, a whole bunch of parks with good playgrounds, a great local indie bookstore, museums in every flavor. I love it all.
But the noise does creep in. I live in a quiet, leafy neighborhood a mere quarter-mile from Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. Just a brief walk away I can thrust myself into the hustle and bustle, but I’ve found this little enclave. Still, the neighbors bump a bit, cars go by, children scream around the neighborhood, college students stumble home drunk on Saturday night.
And it’s not just the environment; I do it to myself. My son turns out to have a talent for drumming, so we just broke down and got him a full kit for his birthday. And never mind the Technicolor glaring and blaring of the internet.
Sometimes I really need a break from it all.
I’m gradually becoming more regular in my meditation practice. It is very much practice for me; my racing mind wants to think about to-do lists and problems to solve, but I have learned to tap into pockets of peace. I still struggle some days, but those moments of peace are coming more often now. I’m getting better at this Om thing.
Meditation is perhaps second to sleep in terms of great things you can do for your health and vitality. It helps us rejigger our brains and make smarter choices. It helps tremendously with reducing stress levels and reminds us that our first priority is happiness for our loved ones and ourselves. I used to feel silly saying “Om” but I’ve come to recognize this word, outside of my usual vocabulary, as a signal to let go and relax and just be.
The ritual of meditation helps me drop into my quiet place too. I get out my beads (I made my own mala beads in a fit of creativity one day) and I practice my mantra 108 times. I wait for the cat to come hang out with me (she almost always does). It’s great. I also got past feeling weird meditating while my husband and son were around. My husband has no interest, but knows it helps my mindset, and my son will frequently join me if the spirit moves him. He knows my little chant and joins right in; it’s a nice little bond we get to share.
We all need ways to unplug and find quiet. What do you do to find balance? Have you tried and “failed” at meditation? It’s always there for you waiting to get back to it. I read once if you’re having trouble with meditation, just count 21 deep inhales and exhales and be done with it. If I’m struggling, I come back to this base. It takes away the mysticism, the sitting quietly, the beads, or whatever props seem to be important. Meditation, in the end, is just living the moment. I have to remind myself of that all the time.