Stephanie Thompson is a former student-athlete at Western University and is a certified Kinesiologist who plays on the WCT Women's tour. This article, Closet Meditator was originally published on on her blog, Empowered Performance, and is re-published here with permission.
I have officially completed 365 days of mindful meditation. Previously I was an emergency meditator; only practicing when I felt I really needed it. A loss at the end of last year, a few complicated situations, and being sidelined with a back injury forced me to take a step back and make “not doing” a priority. I set an intention January 1st 2015 to #meditateeverydamnday and today I’m coming out of the meditation closet. I am a dedicated meditator. It’s given me so much, and I want to express my gratitude by listing what I’ve gained from this experience, and why taking time for me has become a priority.
Side note: This post was written in one day, after a particularly powerful meditation session (Happy New Year!). My mind cultivated the following “word vomit”, so enjoy my babble!
I am grateful for words, and I intend to inspire others to take a moment for themselves, if anything I say might spark curiosity for them.
I like to do things my own way. Instead of the typical idea of meditation; Sitting on a pillow in lotus (cross legged), incense burning, lights out, no noise allowed; I created my own way to practice. Out of the 365+ daily meditations, about a dozen were done in the hot tub; some lying down; some moving (running…); some during savasana after yoga; some while driving (breath…breath…relax shoulders…); some while pretending to nap or taking a walk, but actually going to a quiet place in the forest; some Hamsa; some Nadi Shodhana; some Tara Brach; some just sitting, being, noticing, and breathing.
All a moment for me.
All creating space.
All welcoming silence.
All dedicated to a moment, a person, or an event.
All given an intention.
All beginning with gratitude; for breath and for love.
I averaged at least 10 minutes of mindfulness each day. 365 days x 10 minutes a day = 3650 minutes. This means I gave myself over 60 hours of “me” time, that I might not have otherwise provided myself!
Over the approximate 60 hours, I gained so much.
I learned the importance of, and how (this has always been a tough one for me) to be silent. I learned how healing letting others talk can be, and how powerful it is to to let go and accept each moment, along with each thought and feeling.
We feel for a reason.
Sometimes I catch myself thinking and feeling more than I “should” while I meditate.
But these thoughts and feelings arise, and you can’t stop them.
With acceptance I could feel what was important to me or bugging me. Sometimes these were thoughts and feelings I didn’t realize I was harbouring in the back of my mind. There is a lot of relief available when you attend to your thoughts and feelings. And you know what? It felt better to accept each moment for the way it was, than to be angry at how much I was thinking and feeling.
I also use meditation to forgive. To forgive myself for certain things, and to forgive others.
In this forgiveness I have learned to act, not react.
Most importantly, and surprisingly I’ve noticed this mindful responding has helped others in my life. They don’t meditate, but my 10 minutes a day of mindfulness, has trickled over into improving the lives of those I cherish the most. I have noticed that the energy you create affects those around you, and when you are in the habit of being attuned to, accepting, and altering your own energy, you help others out as well.
I learned that it’s never about me. That whole “put yourself in the other persons shoes” never made full sense until I learned how to be silent, to listen and then to respond. I have learned how to reflect, and how to analyze moments, and how to give unbiased advice to others when they seek it.
I am by no means perfect, but I am so amazed at how much I love to sit, stand, lie, and move while being mindful; to breath, and to vibrate with the earth.
There are thousands of health benefits associated with meditating daily (or sporadicly ), but I am most thankful, grateful, and inspired by the meditations I experienced in the past 365 days. My meditation had its own influence on each part of my life; from the gym, my business, my family and friends, and my competitive life.
This year I intend to continue this practice of taking 10 minutes a day for me. Cheers to 2016! As I finish this post, it feels good to get some of these thoughts on to “paper” and out of my mind. I dedicated this mornings meditation to those that let me me sit in the corner, on a pillow, with my headphones in, breathing….
Stephanie Thompson -Strength & Wellness Coach
The Fit Nut Curler
-Work Hard, Hurry Hard, Play Hard-