Mountaintop Meditation

Night Sky on Kili. Maybe I should have just looked up at this for meditation. Photo Credit: Freddy Aguero

While meditation is proven to be beneficial, I just can’t do it.  I am possibly the world’s worst meditator.  Still, when I was hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro, out of desperation I turned to meditation.  On the mountain during the long, dark night when I was shivering and wondering why I’d done this to myself, I attempted a variety of meditative tactics.

I used visualization, picturing myself sinking into warm, black sand.  I was still cold and awake.

Deep breathing had its turn.

I tried to imagine I was the sun radiating warmth and light.

Counting wasn’t helpful.

I tried relaxing my brain.

I tried clearing my mind.

You might just call it lying to yourself, but I told myself I wasn’t cold.

Reciting a repeated mantra didn’t coax me back to bed.

Eventually, I started singing the lullaby my mom used to sing me as an attempt to self-soothe.  She would rock me to sleep with Summertime—the song where the living is easy.  I imagined it was summer and thought about how somewhere the living was easy.  Nothing seemed to help.

I […]

Mountaintop Meditation 2018-02-14T16:28:17+00:00

5 Ways to Chill Out in the New Year

Mundane tasks like dishes can be a time to be present. Mundane tasks like dishes can be a time to be present.

I need to listen to what I’m about to say more than most. But as 2016 approaches, and we start thinking about New Year’s Resolutions, I’m trying to come up with little changes I can make that serve the purpose of meditation (help me chill out), but don’t require me to sit and be still for more than 30-seconds.  Because every New Year I fail at that.

  1. Stop at Yellow Lights

I’ve always lived by the moto: red means stop, green means go, yellow means go faster. I also have a tendency for road rage.  Driving calmer and trying to get less frustrated has helped me hate driving a little less.  This is actual the idea of one of my clients who used to work with patients post heart-attacks. It was one of her tricks to help them de-stress.

  1. Pick the Longer Line

This idea was from the same client, and I love it. So much of life is a mind game.  If you pick the longer line at a store, it doesn’t seem […]

5 Ways to Chill Out in the New Year 2017-09-12T19:31:10+00:00

My Never Ending Struggle With Meditation

I’m a terrible meditator. Though I need it (I guess), I resist it. Whenever I settle down into a routine of meditation, which usually lasts four days, I feel like a phony. Which is why I suspect a couple of friends recommended the book 10% Happier by Dan Harris. He describes feeling phony when he started meditating. While the book wasn’t as helpful as I hoped, it was worth reading for one meditation nugget that very possibly provides the only chance I have of success. He suggested making meditative moments a game. Basically, make meditation self-competition. Sold. Basically, this is the game:

  • Inhale & Exhale
  • Pay attention and notice the sensation somewhere in your body (nose, stomach, chest, etc.)
  • Think the word “in” when you inhale and “out” when you exhale.

Now, here is the real challenge.

  • Keep count. With each breath count, one, two, until you get to ten and then reset.

The first week I tried, I couldn’t complete two breaths without getting distracted. Seriously. I’m apparently that much of a spaz. Thinking of the monotony of meditation like a game really helped me. Because now I could set a goal that wasn’t just to fill a minute. If you’ve ever wanted to stop […]

My Never Ending Struggle With Meditation 2015-07-29T06:28:00+00:00