I'm going to tell you how meditation keeps me sane. Have you ever tried to meditate? Mindfulness is all the rage these days, but does it actually work? I took it to practice when I was in grad school and was teaching courses to keep my tuition covered. I was overloaded, to say the least. I had to ask myself to slow down while brushing my teeth and planning out my day and tying my shoes at the same time. I had to have myself sit on my bed and take a moment to breathe. I was running at lightning speed and didn't know how to slow down.
I started taking up early morning runs. I would run from 5-6 am and then get ready for the day and head to class. I actually was running without music initially because it was dark and I wanted to be aware of my surroundings. Eventually, I felt safe in the small town in Oregon. I started enjoying running in silence. I called that my meditation time. I really enjoyed coming back to a warm cup of coffee with caramel macchiato creamer (yum!!). That was my time. No one could take that away.
During my second year, my former partner and I had huge changes happening at home. This was in 2010-11 when the economy was terrible. We lost our home and moved in next door to his parents in Washington State. I wasn't quite done with my schooling and was teaching as part of a graduate assistantship. I asked my supervisor if she could schedule me to teach courses Mondays and Wednesdays instead of spreading it out to Thursday so I could use Wednesday after class to drive home to Washington, help take care of his kids, take care of our home, and substitute in Washington to help with the finances.
I was going nonstop it felt like that year. Thank goodness the old Honda tires didn't fall off like the mechanic said they might! I started allowing myself some quiet time for meditation on Tuesdays. That was the only day that I didn't have to do any teaching or focus on anyone but me. I would still study and record songs for my Master's project, but I always spent at least an hour walking in the small country town I stayed in with my good friend Rachel. I miss that ol' house and her crazy cat. That was a fun and challenging year, for sure. I know those weekly meditative walks definitely kept me sane.
A few years after that, my ex and I split. That same year I was laid off unexpectedly from teaching and had a few crazy violent roommates. I know for a fact my morning routine and meditation daily kept me alert, kept me safe, and kept my brain functioning at an optimal level, despite the circumstances.
I'm not where I want to be quite yet, but I am very grateful for how far I've come. Meditation, practicing self-compassion, and gratitude daily keeps me moving forward. And that's how meditation keeps me sane.
If you're not practicing meditation yet, you definitely should! Reach out to me for tips on how to get started.