#Meditation, Fail until you get it?

By fouts | Action

Dec 25
mindfulness in actionI tried meditation many times over the last 30 or so years. More often than not, I was frustrated because I didn’t  see the results I expected. Probably because I expected results from little to no effort!
I tried sitting in the lotus posture in a formal practice and expecting instant enlightenment, then chastised myself for not being a good meditator. Making excuses for my “monkey mind”, blaming my lack of training, etc, etc.
I never lasted for more than a few minutes without the internal dialogue shutting me down, followed shortly by giving up altogether. Within a week or two, sometimes a month, I’d throw my hands up and go back to my frenetic life.
Over the last few years I have come to understand the value of quiet and pausing in the day to simply be, to enjoy the moment and savor it. To practice gratitude and compassion for others as well as myself. This “informal practice” is so much more appealing to my mindset. And so, without realizing it at all, I had begun to practice mindfulness. I expanded to 5, then 10 minute meditations with apps like Buddhify, Calm and Headspace. I began to realize there was nothing wrong with me at all, my active mind is just normal activity.
I started to sit for longer formal practice, and now regularly sit in meditation for 30 minutes to an hour twice a day. I’ve taken more formal training on MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) and Emotional Intelligence from the Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute. I enrolled in Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education, and UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center.
As I have settled into regular practice, the period afterward has become quite interesting. At first, I’d sit, and then jump up and rush back to work. That sort of negated the settling effects of practice, and now I will sit quietly for a moment, or finish up with a walk around the block.
This has resulted in flashes of unexpected clarity and, sometimes, insight
The oddest things pop up, answers to a dilemma on occasion, but more often than not, ways that I can make deeper use of my lessons, and also a clearer focus on what I’m doing in that moment. Weeding, picking vegetables, sitting in the sun with a dog on my lap, all give me quality soaking time and this has impacted my depression in a positive way as well.
Meditation has made me more productive
I get a burst of energy and combined with the clarity of a calm mind, this is a powerful thing. I’ve learned to stop beating my head against a roadblock in my work and instead take a break. Sitting in a short meditation, taking a breath, walking, or even climbing a flight of stairs gives my brain the freedom to process what’s going on. I come back refreshed and often with a new perspective on what the issue is.
I finally get it 
Meditation is a solid part of my life and my business, but it never would have happened if I hadn’t stuck to it and extended the time that I sit for to 20, 30 then 60 minutes. I give myself permission to spend that first 10 minutes as time to settle if I need it, then deepen my focus. I set a timer to remind myself but I allow myself to sit for longer if that’s what I need. Flexible works for me.
As 2017 dawns, I am shifting my business to help other entrepreneurs see the value of cutting their brain some slack once in a while and simply BEING.
Stay tuned, it is going to be an amazing year.
By the  way, here’s a short list of opportunities to learn more in the San Francisco Bay Area. Who knows, you might see me there, soaking up more wisdom!

Bay area meditation and retreats

Esalen Institute - Big Sur, California

On ancient ground, opening new horizons. Pioneering deep change in self and society.

Art of Living Santa Clara • Learn Yoga & Meditation | The Art of Living

The Art of Living Foundation is an international NGO, focused on various dimensions such as social transformation, child eduction, women and youth empowerment and world peace through yoga meditation, Sudarshan Kriya and other spiritual philosophies

The Happiness Program

Powerful breathing techniques andwisdom that can change your life

Order now!

Get Mindful Social Marketing

cover-smallHave you ordered your copy of Mindful Social Marketing yet?
In it I combine mindfulness practices with 20 years of digital marketing experience to give you a leg up on real engagement with your market through social media.