Dana Wood, author of Momover, her March debut and web site, pops in to dish about meditation to tame your restless mind. Welcome, Dana~
by Dana Wood,
Author of Momover: The New Mom’s Guide to Getting It Back Together (even if you never had it in the first place!)
I can’t tell you how long “Learn to Meditate” has been sitting on my life-goals list. Not on my ho-hum to-do list, next to “schedule teeth cleaning” or “buy Huggies Pull-Ups.” I’m talking about the biggie, the list that serves as the repository for my deepest desires for myself, like “Find Hubby” and “Have Baby.” That’s how important I consider meditation to my overall health and wellness.
So if it’s so important, why haven’t I tackled it before now? I guess I wasn’t ready. Though I’m sure I could’ve benefited from meditation at earlier stages of my life, I was just too antsy to explore it (and yes, I see the irony in that). Another big reason is that I’d always assumed meditation required a lot of skill and knowledge. Not so. As it turns out, meditation is just like so many other things in life. Sometimes you just have to wade into the shallow end and start splashing around. “There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ with meditation,” says intuitive guru Michele Bernhardt, a multitasking healer, astrologer, and metaphysician who’s produced several guided meditation CDs. (Learn more at her brilliant website, www.myinnerworld.com.) ”A big part of meditation is your intention.”
So at least intend to give meditation a shot, and in the process, you’ll be giving yourself the opportunity to relax, gain mental clarity, and connect with your spirituality.
Go with the Flow
As I said, I hope you don’t take a page out of my book by contemplating meditation for a good ten years before actually trying it. To help you move your intention into reality and make the whole shebang that much more compelling, here’s a list of tips:
Designate a sacred space: For me, it’s my walk-in closet. I love the girl-power vibe — the shoes, the dresses, the purses. Attached to my office, my walk-in is a key part of my “Dana Zone.” I’ve stocked it with a few small pillows and a beautiful meditation mat Bernhardt gave me years ago. In one of my shoe cubbies, I’ve stashed a gorgeous sand timer, pictures of the ocean, candles, meditation CDs, and a player. Though pillows and candles are the norm, trick out your own sacred space with treasures that speak to you.
Create a ritual: This can involve repeating a mantra, listening to particular music (I like Gregorian chants, but you might prefer wind chimes, Tibetan bells, etc.), or inhaling certain scents. “I think, deep inside, most of us love a ritual,” says Bernhardt. “So use sounds, a candle, or some kind of scentlike incense or myrrh. Patchouli is also perfect. With a scent, right away your body says, ‘Okay, I’m ready.’”
Make sure you’re comfy: Sorry, that means no Spanx. (Kidding. Sort of.) If you’re not keen on sitting on the floor with your back erect and your hands on your knees, you can sit in a chair. Just make sure you’re maintaining good posture, that you’re positioned a few inches away from the back of the chair, and that your feet are on the floor. Kneeling is another possibility, though you might want to use a pillow for support.
Observe your thoughts without “feeding” them: We discuss how tricky this is below, but it becomes easier once you realize that it’s all about detachment. For instance, if, midmeditation, you think about the fact that you need to take your DD to the doc, you say to yourself, ”I’m having a thought about needing to take the baby to the pediatrician.” What you don’t do is take that original thought to the next level, as in, “Next Tuesday afternoon might work” or “I hope the poor little doll doesn’t need too many shots.” Just let those snippets pass in and out without reaction.
“I’ve gotten much more deeply spiritual since I had my child. I trace it directly to being pregnant with him. I was introduced to the notion that our babies choose us as parents. Well, that terrified me to my core. So, I started an intense inner dialogue with my unborn child about who I really am, what kind of mother I hoped to be, my hopes and dreams, etc. To do that, I had to really dig deep and explore the whole ‘Who Am I? Why Am I Here?’ business. It got me on the path that has led to my becoming a meditation coach. I meditate daily and love it. ”
-Katherine, mama of one
Copyright © 2010 Dana Wood, author of Momover: The New Mom’s Guide to Getting It Back Together (even if you never had it in the first place!)
Dana Wood, author of Momover: The New Mom’s Guide to Getting It Back Together (even if you never had it in the first place!), is a mother, wife, and the writer of “Momover,” an online column that explores the collision of age and first-time mommyhood. Currently the senior fashion features editor of W, Wood has served as the beauty director of W and the health and beauty director of Cookie. In her twenty-plus years of journalism, she has also written for numerous national publications, including Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, Women’s Health, Self, and People. Learn more about Wood and her her popular blog at Momover.net. She lives in New York, NY.