Get in a quiet, comfortable area, close your eyes and float away to another world full of rainbows, pure joy and total and complete peace. It's easy they say. Anyone can do it they say. But what they don't tell you is unless you've been living on an island in the South Pacific picking coconuts, and have had zero stress in your life, there's a good chance that achieving a nirvana state of meditation will be a lot harder than it seems.
I have been contemplating doing meditation for years. Yes I said years! Patients of mine do it, friends do it, yet I have been resistant to trying it for fear of not being good at it. I have a slight fear of failure and sometimes it holds me back from trying new things. Well, up until recently that is. Something finally came over me and I decided that I really and truly have nothing to lose here. So I googled some guided meditations that were popular and there I went. And let me tell you, initially it was brutal. But now that I've gotten into a groove I can honestly say that I wish I had done this sooner.
My first attempt led me to YouTube video where a whole slew of options popped up. I chose a meditation to help clear negative energy. I mean who couldn't use a good energetic cleansing?!? Now where do I sit?? I'm supposed to pick a really comfortable spot to sit. So me being innovative and a little weird, I decided to pull the cushion off my bowl chair and plop it into the center of my living room ( it should be noted that the bowl chair cushion is the most comfortable place to plant your butt EVER.) So I dimmed the lights and silenced my cellphone. I sat in the center of my little cushion and hit play. I sat there and tried to put myself into a lotus position (Indian yoga sitting posture), and what happened next can only be described as a typical Rachel move.... I fell over. Like onto my side so my cheek was pushed up against the ground. I was completely lopsided, and the only thing that was going through my head at this moment was Kesha's song "Timber." That's it. I can't do this. I turned the lights on and went to the gym instead. FAIL. Something similar to this happened several more times throughout the week, but each time I did last a "little" longer. But I refused to give up.! Then....like a beacon of light on the horizon, there was what I like to refer to as "the epic holy grail Zen holy smokes I did it moment".
So a few days went by and here I was again; back on my bowl chair cushion in the center of the living room. I dimmed the lights and pressed play. Well let me tell you my first instinct was to stand up and walk out of the room. As I sat there my body began to shake a little. I was surprisingly really uncomfortable being forced to sit still like this. I was writhing around like a fish out of water and getting my back to be straight was like trying to strap a toddler into a car seat. So pretty much this was my version of hell. I hit pause and sat for a second really, really frustrated. I may have even cried for a moment. I realized in this moment that I never sit still in my life, and the act of having to stop and be present was so foreign to me that I literally couldn't do it. How did this happen? When did I get so antsy?!?! After what felt like a year of beating myself up, I finally took a deep breath, pulled it together and pushed play again.
What happened next was something I hope I can describe properly through writing. As I sat there and breathed deeply so the air filled my belly, I slowly started to feel all the muscles in my body unravel. Not just relax, but it felt like they were literally melting into the floor. My heart rate slowed down and my mind started to clear. It was not easy getting my thoughts to take a back seat, but as I breathed and followed what the lady guiding the meditation said, I really could feel myself begin to let go. My entire body felt like it weighed a thousand pounds, but at the same time like I was floating. My breath became slow and rhythmic... It was truly amazing. And I swear to you, before I knew it the meditation had ended and no joke 45 MINUTES has gone by. FORTY FIVE. I kid you not I felt like only five minutes had gone by. I opened my eyes and I felt so light and peaceful and present, and I was smiling for no apparent reason. I did it! I REALLY DID IT. It was not easy, it was a really frustrating process, but eventually I did get there.
So the reason I'm writing this is to let you know that if I can meditate, anyone can. I may be a stellar acupuncturist, but I am human and I struggle with the same things everyone else does! Not only can I benefit from meditation, but my patients can benefit from it as well. It's been proven to reduce systemic inflammation, prevent Alzheimer's, help with the symptoms of fibromyalgia, and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression (just to name a few). It literally changed my life. And although I'm still a work in progress with it, I'm doing it weekly, I'm benefiting from it, and I can actually say that I look forward to it. Don't let fear of failure hold you back from trying something new. It may just be thing that changes your life.
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