Coaching for Creatives | Meditation

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Raise your hand if you made a resolution to meditate more in 2014. (I’m raising my hand). Since January 1 how many times have you taken the time to get quiet with yourself? (I’m counting half the fingers on my raised hand.)

Meditation has hit the mainstream and it’s something we’ve all learned is as important to our health and well-being as exercise and eating right. If you’re like me it’s hard for you to make sitting with yourself in silence a priority. It’s just so easy to put off when you have blog posts to write, TV shows to watch, books to read, treadmills to run, Pinterest to peruse, things to design, and a world to take over. As I’m trying to develop my own meditation practice I’ve been giving lots of thought to different kinds of meditating and tools to help me stick with it. Here’s what I’ve uncovered:

THE SIT DOWN & BURN INCENSE KIND OF MEDITATION: 
So this is what I think of when I picture what meditation looks like. And this is often the kind of meditation that I put off and don’t make time for. I’ve found that my challenge with sitting down and being silent with myself is that my mind starts to race. I get that meditation is the practice of stilling those said racing thoughts but it can be such a struggle. So I’ve found that having an intention or even a guided story in my mind helps me find focus and the kind of deep peace I’m looking for with my meditation practice. I share four different meditation “stories”, weekly, in my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions that I’ve found super helpful to developing my own sit-down-and-meditate practice. It’s not a typical guided meditation where you plug in the headphones and listen to someone talk to you. It’s more like a narrative or guide that you read and recount for yourself as you settle into silence.

If you are interested in more hands-on guided meditations check out Deepak Chopra’s guided meditations. Or check out this Buddhify app. My life coach friend recommends these freebies at Tender Logic. You can also find lots of free guided meditation resources on YouTube. Also, try seeking out meditation classes being held in your area! 

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MOVING MEDITATION: 
I firmly believe that while sitting in silence with yourself to meditate is a great way to tap into your subconscious that a moving meditation can be just as powerful – if not more so. (Or maybe it’s my way of justifying not sitting down every day to get all spiritual with myself.) Either way. Moving meditation is my favorite. This might look like dancing, yoga, rock climbing or simply sweating it out at the YMCA. The idea is to climb into your body and find a focused awareness in your breath and movement in a way that silences your mind (even if a spin instructor is yelling at you to push it). I also believe that moving your body with focus and intention helps energy and emotions flow, release, and recharge as needed.

My brother’s super talented girlfriend teaches Wu Tao dancing, a moving meditation, in NYC & New Jersey. I had the privilege of taking a private Wu Tao class with Anna in Central Park last summer and it was truly amazing. Anna is incredibly tapped in to her spiritual side so I was shocked when she revealed to me that has an impossible time with developing a sit-down-and-meditate practice – but Wu Tao was a game-changer for her. So she received training and started teaching it herself. Learn more and check out one of her classes here. 

But if you’re not in the NYC area find a moving meditation that works for you. Again, it can be as simple as going for a mindful walk, checking out a yoga class, or lifting weights at the gym.  

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LIVING MEDITATIVELY:
Okay, so if you really can’t get into sitting down to meditate or moving meditation try living meditatively. In other words, be present. I practice living meditatively when I’m doing chores. Cleaning, folding laundry, washing dishes, and cooking dinner are all opportunities to practice presence and living meditatively. As you’re going through the motions try and focus solely on the task at hand. Give 100% of your attention and awareness to that bowl your washing or those veggies you’re chopping. Showering and brushing your teeth are also great times to practice living meditatively.

I’ve found that practicing presence and stilling my mind while I’m doing mundane tasks like personal hygiene or housework that it gives my mind space to come up with creative ideas and solutions I wouldn’t have thought of if I had been sitting in front of my computer working. 

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Which style of meditation most resonates with you? Any tips or resources you’d like to share? 

 

P.S. If you like this post you might like my DIY Coaching for Creatives Email Sessions. It’s 4 emails x 4 weeks (16 emails total) for just $40. Complete with worksheets, exercises, mantras, meditations, and to-dos for time management, decision-making, and strategies for living more of what you love – in work and life. You can learn more about what you’ll get and purchase anytime here.

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  1. Traci

    Moving meditation. When I think of when I was the most at peace I remember waking up before the sun when I lived in Chicago and walking along the lakefront path from Lincoln Park all the way downtown with my best friend. The sun would come up as we were making our way back (the path was safe!) and we never really felt the need to talk. We just walked and explored our own thoughts while moving steadily. Unfortunately I don’t live in Chicago anymore or have the time to do that everyday, but those morning walks changed my life, and hers!

  2. I used to be much better at the sitting still and meditating thing, but as life has gotten more hectic it’s just so much harder to do without getting caught up thinking about a bajillion other things. I do find myself leaning more towards the moving meditation side of things when I’m running or walking the dogs. It’s nice to just be present but still away from all the little taskers that move life forward (and yet make it so stressful at times).

  3. kat:)

    Love these ideas! Never would have thought of meditation in those different ways. Now I have no excuses ;)

  4. I’m into moving meditation! I practice Bikram, and sometimes a vinyasa class at Laughing Lotus. The thing about practicing Bikram for a few years now, is that sometimes my mind starts to wander during class – and I miss out on the meditation aspect. I love the Laughing Lotus studio because they are very dance-focused and each teacher always has an awesome soundtrack. You don’t need silence to meditate, sometimes a little upbeat background music is better. ;) Have you heard of Vedic Meditation? One of my spin class instructors teaches a course on this, and I was thinking of checking it out. I used to think of meditation as a solo act, but I actually love doing it as a group.

  5. Éadaoin

    Mindful showers!!! I’ve been doing this for years and regularly tell people but no one has ever said they do it too! I always think it must sound a bit strange but it’s a powerful experience. I have a radio in my shower and often use it but the silent, mindful showers are where it’s at.

    When you speak of meditation ‘stories’ it reminds me of my mum. She’s a very spiritual Catholic who often does ‘adoration’. This means sitting in silence for an hour ‘adoring the body of Christ’ in a small room off the church. She has a special book of stories/thoughts to dwell on that she usually takes with her. People are very quick to judge other religions or ways of life, positively and negatively, but the real truth is that they each have their own version of the same -stories and rites to help people gain distance from and perspective on their life or to really be in it.

    And yes, getting silent with myself is high on my list too! I count morning pages as a kind of meditation too though. It really lends a lot to my day.

  6. Sarah

    I highly recommend the book The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh. It was a mind-shifter and almost mystical read. It was also my introduction to what you call living meditatively.

    I also realised that when I was running with songs playing loud like mantras, and focusing on my breath as a pace, I was in fact meditating. Later when I read and learned more about meditation, I understood that I’d need to find a certain kind of stillness and quiet that is required for more introspective reflection. I find this harder but more powerful, and typically do 20 mins sessions, sometimes I am focused, sometimes I am not, but I still sit with myself and a mantra.

    So I find a mix of both works great! And I put it into my calendar as part of my morning routine to make sure it happens, one style or the other, depending on my mood, how much time I have, what feels right that day.

  7. Jen

    Thanks for sharing the meditation links, Kathleen! I’m trying to get on the meditating bandwagon and it is so hard for a busy-minded person like myself. So far I’ve had the most success with listening to guided meditations. This made me think to check out some Eckhart Tolle meditations since I find him very calming.

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