As you know, my word for 2017 is ROUTINE, so I've been looking into creating daily rituals.
In her book The Creative Habit, dancer & choreographer Twyla Tharp stresses the importance of morning routines, so I thought I'd start here.
Meditation has been recommended to me an infinite number of times though I've never quite managed to incorporate it to my life on a regular basis.
But lately, I've unconciously and gradually carved out room for this practice in my life. While reorganizing the living room, I created myself a little reading nook, with a cozy chair, a pillow and a little table on which rest a candle, palo santo, and the copy of my current reading.
One day, I figured that it would also be the perfect place to meditate (I like to meditate sitting in a chair, rather than cross-legged on the floor).
Now, whenever I can, in the morning, before Octave gets up, I take advantage of the stillness of the house and practice meditation.
Since I'm a beginner, my mind tends to wander (How long has it been since I started the session? What should I do now? Is it OK to be thinking about my to-do list?) so I'm using the following tools to help me focus.
My favorite Guided Meditation Apps
Headspace (free) - I started using this app many years ago when it was first launched. I remember being very dissatisfied with my job and trying to meditate on a park bench during lunch time. It was an epic fail but I knew it was just because I had too much on my plate. Short after, I quit my job and moved to another country.
The first level of the Foundation Course, Take10, is free. It consists of 10 10 minute meditation exercises designed for beginners. You can then purchase packs and one-off sessions on a range of topics such as stress relief, happiness, mental health and appreciation. I never got to purchase any. I prefer to go back to the beginning of Take10 and start over on a regular basis.
Simply Being ($1.99) - This one was recommended to me by my acupuncturist when I was trying to find a cure for my migraines.
It's a great meditation app that offers a wide range of options. You can chose a meditation length of 5, 10, 15, 20 or 30 minutes and let the voice guide you step by step. You can also listen to the meditation with or without music/nature sounds or decide to listen to the music or nature sounds alone.
My Meditation Playlist
Having a meditation playlist is also a great option in order to be able to meditate in different locations and for various durations.
The first part of the playlist is by Shalom Mayberg. I attended one of his Crystal Bowl Sound Baths last month and had a great colorful meditation experience there, so I thought I'd extend the experience by listening to his playlist.
The second part of the playlist is by Moby who over the last couple of years has been making really quiet music to listen to when he does yoga or sleeps or meditates or panics. He ended up with 4 hours of music and decided to give it away.
A couple extras
My most successful meditations happened early in the morning. I prepare a cup of tea, burn some palo santo or some incense, light a candle, grab my favorite throw and sit comfortably in my chair.
There's no need for all these props but I've come to like the ceremonial aspect of opening a meditation session by a ritual.
I even go as far as drawing a card from the beautifully Minimalist Oracle Deck that my friend Rachel designed here in Portland and use it as a thread to guide my meditation for the day.
How to meditate
- Set time aside
- Find a calm location
- Make yourself comfortable
- Pay attention to your breath OR initiate a body scan (from the top of your head to the tip of your toes) and pay attention to your sensations
- Don't judge your sensations, just acknowledge them
- Don't worry if your mind wanders, it's natural
- Pay attention to the present moment
This article by the New Work Times is a great source of information to start your own practice.
What about you, what are your meditation rituals? Do you have any music or apps to recommend?