A strange woman’s voice repeating affirmations: “You are strong. You are.”
No thanks, I’m good.
A strange man’s voice cooing analogies: “You are strong like a tree. You are the tree.”
No, I’m not. I’m just a girl.
It took me a long time to get into meditation. Even when I was learning about it in my Yoga teacher training, I struggled with it. I wanted to move, flow through the postures—not sit quietly with myself.
I know a lot of people can relate. I’ve heard others say they want to meditate but they don’t know how. Of course, they also say that they don’t have time. But like anything else that’s good for us, we have to make time…because it’s worth it.
Over time I’ve learned to sit somewhat quietly with myself and I spend a few minutes each day doing a morning meditation. I say “somewhat quietly” because my mind often gets ahead of me and wants to think about work. I don’t punish myself for this, I simply remind myself to breathe.
What makes people give up meditation early on is the ideal image we all hold in our minds. Funny that we have expectations like this, but we do.
We picture this peaceful state of mind, with no chatter, and perhaps a vision quest that takes us to a babbling brook, where we are listening to a serene symphony of bird-chirping while our faces are bathed in radiant sunshine.
Well, folks. This is what my meditation looks like…
There is no perfect Yoga outfit and blanket…just a bunch of mismatched everything in front of the closet on the bedroom floor.
You’ll notice I’m not sitting while I meditate. Well, that’s because you don’t have to if it’s not comfortable for you. After a long day at my computer, bound dutifully to an office chair, sitting on the floor doesn’t work for me.
It’s true that lying down, especially during evening meditation, makes it more challenging to stay awake. A happy medium for me is Legs Up the Wall Pose (Viparita Karani). It’s one of my all-time favorites, and the benefits of this gentle inversion are vast—soothe tired legs, calm the nervous system, improve circulation, etc.
Anyway, back to this guided meditation thing.
A few months ago I decided I needed more meditation in my life, in the evenings after work. As part of my goal to reduce screen time, I thought this was a good way to rest my eyes and calm my mind before bed.
But naturally at the end of a hectic day, trying to sit quietly with myself wasn’t working. So, despite my lifelong suspicions of guided meditation with its hippie rainbows and pep talks, I decided to explore my options.
I’ve been a YogaGlo subscriber for several years, and they have no shortage of meditation classes. I’ve played both the teacher and the student, and I know it’s important to take the time to find someone you connect with.
For meditation, that someone was David Harshada Wagner.
As most of you know, I love the no BS approach. David is a master of this. He actually works a lot with men, so there is no fluffy stuff. His teachings are very straight-forward and actionable to your life. That’s exactly the kind of teacher that inspires me.
Last night I took a very special class of his called Fierce Sweet Wise. It hit me hard, and tears released from my eyes three times during the 20-minute session.
I didn’t cry, I released. They are two very different things.
This was one of those times where meditation caught me off guard, displacing my expectations. It’s not about the peaceful make-believe scene, it’s about ourselves and our lives. You know…the real shit.
I’m not going to take you on my personal journey from this meditation, because honestly, it’s too personal for me to share. I’m simply inviting you to consider these ideas that David mentioned.
When you look at the situations in your life, where could you benefit from being more fierce, more sweet, more wise? Strangely, this trio of words covers a hell of a lot.
Being fierce isn’t just a Tyra Banks modeling tip.
Is there a creative project you’ve abandoned because you’ve been busy? Be more fierce with your commitment and get after it.
Are you taking on too much at work to the point of burnout and exhaustion? Stand up for yourself. It’s okay to say no. If you get fired for saying no to protect your health, find another job with more balance.
Sometimes without meaning to, we become harsh in certain areas of our lives. We don’t typically want to examine ourselves in this light, but if you look around, you’ll notice there are times when you’re not being sweet.
It’s a common behavior in our society, because we wear heavy armor every day to protect ourselves. But as David said in this meditation…
Open your heart and let your sweetness pour forward. Be a little bit more forgiving, a little bit more loving. You don’t have to worry about being taken advantage of, because you’re already fierce.
This is not about what’s right or wrong, but what’s true or false for you. David brings on the tough love here and asks: Are there areas in your life where you’re just being plain stupid?
We ALL have those areas of stupidity—no matter how many books we’ve read, no matter how many life experiences we’ve had. And if we have the courage to face our stupid moments, we can use wisdom to make positive changes.
So, yeah. That’s what I learned before I went to bed last night. And hey, it only required 20 minutes of my time.
Hope you all can take a moment to pause and find the fierceness, sweetness, and wisdom in your lives.
Have you ever tried guided or unguided meditation before? What did you think?