In my last year of high school (back when Ontario still had OAC, aka Grade 13), I dated a guy who was a bit of a nouveau-hippie. He was super into yoga, drum circles, and meditation.
I was decidedly… not.
I remember feeling annoyed one night near the end of our short-lived relationship when he wanted me to meditate before we ate our dinner so that I could “like, feel the molecules moving through [my] body.” Yeah, don’t stand between me and my meal. That’s a recipe for disaster.
After that introduction to meditation, held onto my skepticism about it for more than a decade, until my psychologist (Dr. B) suggested that it might help my PTSD recovery. I had two choices: keep feeling like I was, or try the thing that teenage me had scoffed at. Despite my reputation for stubbornness, I (grudgingly) agreed to try it.
I started out using a CD that Dr. B loaned me. It was OK, but I felt like a dork sitting in my living room with my eyes closed, listening to this soft-spoken dude guide me through a meditation. There was something about his voice that made my skin crawl, but I kept at it because I didn’t want to have to go back and tell her that I gave up.
On about day 4, a funny thing happened. I noticed that I’d been extra-productive at work. I was feeling more focused and energetic–things I hadn’t felt in a really long time.
To keep the benefits I was seeing, but get away from that guy’s annoying, whisper-y voice, I returned Dr B’s CD and started to do some searching online for other resources I could try. I settled on the Calm app because I liked how many different types of meditations they provide and how you can customize the app with the scenes and sounds you find most relaxing (I personally like the thunderstorm one).
I used the app pretty religiously during my therapy and found that it was really effective in keeping me calm and focused. For an investment of just ten minutes a day, I was benefiting hugely in terms of mood and energy levels. Plus, the woman’s voice in the app is way more appealing than CD dude’s.
As I was starting to feel better, I meditated less and less. Isn’t it funny how people will find something that works for them, use it to fix a problem they’re having, and then figure they can drop it once it works its magic? (I’m totally guilty of this with pretty much every good habit I’ve ever adopted. “Sweet, it worked! Guess I can stop doing it now.”) I picked up the habit again to help ease my transition off of Prozac… but let it slide when things got busy leading up to the holidays.
I’ve recently started meditating again once a day (er, well, most days), and the difference in my focus is incredible. Sure, I still feel pretty dorky sitting there with my eyes closed, listening to this app talk to me, but I also procrastinate less, and I feel more motivated. I even spent this past Saturday reorganizing my kitchen, which is a task I’d been putting off for months. I’m also able to start my day a lot more efficiently because I don’t feel like I need time to get into the swing of things; I’m ready to go.
So I guess I owe that former boyfriend a bit of an apology. Although I’ll still probably roll my eyes at anyone who wants me to feel my food molecules, he wasn’t entirely wrong about meditation being pretty awesome.