I started meditating by laying down on my college apartment floor, closing my eyes, and picturing the words "In" and "Out" as I lay there breathing. It was a pretty rough introduction to meditation, especially for anyone who got onboard in the Calm/Headspace era. I was building my own practice from the ground up, and I needed it. I wasn't in the best mental place.
At one point, I was advised to picture the blue sky above while I meditated. To imagine that my mind was limitless, extending into the far corners and edges of the sky. I was told to view my thoughts like clouds passing over me, fluffy and white in the sky. They are there, but they are harmless. I began to mentally part them if they lingered too long, a gentle pull to the side stage of my mind. The bright, blue expanse of nothing was to remain the focal.
The more I meditated, the more I began to enjoy and crave the peaceful emptiness of the "blue sky mind." The emptiness became the backdrop on which I would analyze my thoughts and emotions at the time. I'd try to observe the clouds with some compassion and curiosity, and when the sky was empty, relish in the blissfulness of just breathing and being.
I was feeling more in touch with myself than ever, so much more able to name and meet the needs I had been ignoring for so long. It's so corny, but sometimes I'd find myself mentally just asking, "What do you need right now?" The stillness of meditation helped me to answer this more truthfully. I stopped going to the gym as often, and I started doing a lot more walking, yoga, reading, and writing.
My relatively new interest in mindfulness dovetails nicely with a lifelong interest in positive psychology, specifically as it pertains to finding joy in life. There is any entire genre of study devoted to the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive. A lot of people just call it the science of happiness. I've always been drawn to it.
I have found so much joy in my personal life through mindfulness habits that emphasize self awareness and reflection, the type that prepares you to be you best self with and in service of others. A big part of that is practicing self-love through eating whole foods and moving my body. It's trying to write and meditate to understand my inner child and what she continues to need from her now adult caretaker. It's investing in human connection, be it through my relationships or my travels.
This blog is a collection of my myriad experiences - the travel, books, habits, and connections that I've made for myself - that I hope others can come to learn and benefit from, as well.