3YS: Non-Negotiable Meditation and Prayer

As you probably know, I’m a big proponent of prayer and meditation every day for so many reasons!

During my sabbatical it has been a non-negotiable.

One of the biggest reasons I maintain this practice is simply because it makes life so much easier. It’s helped me to always get what I require and it’s how I maintain a modicum of grace in difficult situations.

People are often dissuaded from even trying this practice because they have a preconception that prayers must be “official”, have flowery language and follow some mysterious formula. They don’t.

Nor does meditation require a perfect place to sit with perfect posture and a perfectly serene face.

Here are my rules:

1. For prayer: Speak to God how you normally speak. He made you exactly as you are and expects exactly you to show up!

2. For meditation: Sit, stand or lie down where you are comfortable and won’t be bothered, then focus on your breath, your heartbeat or just on relaxing your thoughts. Incorporate a mantra, if you wish.

My prayers are simple but yours may not be. I’ve often been in awe of eloquent speakers who could deliver an artfully crafted prayer but for me, they go something like this:

“Dear God, Thank you for ________. Please let things be ok today and guide me to do the best I can. Amen.”

Ok, so sometimes they are a little longer and more specific, but for the most part, I focus first on gratitude, then on what problem I feel I needs solved and then a request to be guided away from the petty and focus on the grand. Does that make sense?

Then, I sit there and meditate as long as I need to or if I have an allotted amount of time, I set a gentle alarm on my phone when it’s time to quit.

I invite you to try today – right now if you would like to! Then, let me know in the comments what you think.

I suppose now the only hurdle I’ve left you with is to decide if you’re the type of person who prays and mediates, or not!

I invite you to try it, just once to find out.

3YS: Appreciate Yourself Now

After my last post I feel like it’s really important to talk about loving who you are and not always focusing on changing yourself!

It seems to be human nature to want to get better and better, learning from mistakes and improving our lives every way we can.

One theory is that we are driven by pleasure and I tend to believe it.

For example, what if you want a car that has features to make driving more pleasurable? You will probably have to change something in your life in order to have that. You may need more money to buy it so you will need to divert spending from another part of your budget or find more income. That might mean improving your skill at your job so you can get a raise or promotion.

So, because you want more pleasure when driving you will have to work on your job skills or your money management skills to get it, right?

Obviously, I’m all about growth and self-improvement but today, I’m focusing on appreciation. Appreciating and valuing yourself for what’s already great.

In that example, maybe you could choose to focus on how great it is that you have money management skills to make that happen. Appreciate your financial savvy!

You can also be proud of yourself for having the ability to get a raise or promotion – that you do a good job and are proud of it.

What’s something you’re thinking about today? Dreaming about having or doing and trying to figure out how to get there?

I invite you to take a moment and list the skills, knowledge, attitudes and all the things you already possess that will assist you in stepping into that next level of a gorgeous life you’re looking for. Even listing the skills you think you need to improve or develop can give you a great place to be grateful that you have a foundation to build on.

I feel like I’ve said enough but I will leave you with a personal example.

Once upon a time, I believed there was something wrong with me because I had the hardest time getting up in the morning. To this day, I don’t consider myself a morning person (and that is a belief I could challenge another day).

For years, I felt like there was something wrong with me and tried to figure out how to make waking up at 6 AM less painful. If you wanted to push my buttons, just laugh at me or make a snide comment about my morning struggle.

During my sabbatical, that changed. During a lecture, the speaker was talking about ancient and “primitive” societies where there were specific people who kept watch at night to fend off wild animals and of course attacks from other tribes. There was a day watch and a night watch and perhaps an evolutionary correlation to why some people are “morning people” and others are “night owls”.

I can’t tell you how happy that little lesson made me. In an instant, my perception of this night owl curse I struggled with turned into a blessing. I saw how valuable it is to be one of the people who are alert at night. I could see myself as a protector, even.

Thankfully, I was open to a shift in my belief system about myself or I may have glossed over that small part of the lecture and still be punishing myself for having a backwards schedule.

Instead, I began to appreciate that part of me and acknowledging the benefits of being exactly who I am!

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen the sun rise after being up all night and how absolutely beautiful it is. For years, when I would see the light starting to grow on the horizon my thoughts would lean toward negativity of how irresponsible it was for me to have stayed up all night. Now, I rejoice that I get to witness that beauty while most people are still sleeping or getting ready for their day, too rushed to stop and appreciate it, as I can.

I also do my best work at night, I used to curse the clock when my energy levels were picking up and my mind was sharp and quick…but it was after bed time. It is after midnight as I’m writing this and I’m grateful to be able to experience this time when the world gets quieter and I can work at ease.

BTW, if you want to go on a road trip, I’ll happily take the overnight shift.

I began a little practice of writing 5 things I’m grateful for every night and often I try to add one about myself. Something I’m grateful that I can do, am knowledgeable about or even simple things like a good hair day 😉

I invite you to add in this practice as well, every night write down one thing about yourself that is great – an be grateful for it!

For extra credit, please feel free to put something in the comments that you are grateful for. Sharing it with the world is an amazing thing!