Meditation: Headspace, Deep Breathing (X2) Length: 3 minutes (X2) Where: Bedroom, Los Angeles (Both) How It Felt: Opening
I did something a little different for my meditation last night. I did it before bed, but didn’t want to do a sleep meditation. I also felt super tight (yoga has majorly been on the back-burner these past few weeks) and needed to stretch really deeply, especially those crazy hips that hold all our emotions. So, I did a bit of a “moving meditation.”
I put myself into double pigeon- oof! deep one!- and started the meditation, first breathing and leaning in a bit. I had some lavender oil on my feet so I could breathe in a soothing, calming scent while I stretched, and I started to lean forward, bit by bit. The breathing pattern was 4 (breathe in), 4 (hold), and 6 (breathe out). I would straighten and stretch my spine while I breathed in, pause to hold, then release and lean forward over my folded legs. Repeat and repeat.
Then I restarted the session and did the whole thing with the other leg on top.
It felt amazing! I felt really present, since I had to pay attention to counting the breath along with the guide to move my body properly. I couldn’t just zone out. And I felt I was doing something loving and kind for my body, which filled my heart. Definitely enjoyed the experience!
Now, we are at the end of August, which means another monthly check-in.
(Real talk: knowing whether to use “check-in” or “check in” has been the bane of my existence since I started these. I think I got it. However, I am sure this blog is full of misuse of the term. Ah well. English is crazy.)
I can’t believe I’m 2/3 of the way done with this challenge. I can’t believe I’ve stuck with it. The confidence it’s given me in my ability to do hard things is unbelievable. I am definitely feeling more worthy of so much in my life! What an incredible gift.
I’m also proud of myself for studying a language every single day this month. Sometimes, in the past, I’ve used my Duolingo “streak freeze” or spent a few days doing one quick lesson just to keep it up, but I’ve really been studying and practicing this month, spending a lot of time on it! I love learning new languages, but until I became consistent with meditation and this blog, I would just go in spurts. Now, I’ve worked it into a regular part of my every day life. I’m so happy about this!
My goal is to be fluent in at least eight languages and learn very basic vocabulary in as many others as possible (greetings, pleasantries, “where is the bathroom?” etc). Getting there! My newfound discipline is helping immensely.
Ok, let’s knock these out. Lots to do today!
What I’ve hoped to find:
- Increased calm, less anxiety- This has been life-changing. I would say I’m likely living with 50% less anxiety than before, and I’m taking the pandemic out of the equation. Maybe even less. I could definitely use meditation more intentionally and earlier in my day to add to this. Sure, a lot of my anxiety was coming from old ways of living, from expectations I’ve managed to let go of over the past year, but I can’t say meditation hasn’t had a big part in helping me strip away the crap and get to who I really am underneath.
- Better balance & handling of my manic episodes– Undoubtedly. Again, most of these can be attributed to other major life changes as well, but I really believe slowing down twice a day to check in with myself (once to meditate, once to write) has played a huge role in my realizations. RuPaul said “get still and you’ll find yourself.” It’s true.
- Much less reactivity in my daily life– When I’m manic, this is still difficult for me. However, all other times, I’m finding a lot more space and grace. I’m don’t constantly have my defenses up. A lot of this has to do with the people I’ve chosen to let go of or keep further away from myself. So grateful for the strength to do that.
- More empathy- for myself & others– A new realization this month: by letting go of responsibility for people who are determined to self-sabotage, I’m opening up a lot more empathy for the world in general. Trying over and over to understand and empathize with people who are simply selfish, short-sighted, or self-absorbed really drains that ability. Same for people who identify with their trauma and disfunction and refuse to heal. I was bending over backwards trying to make them make sense to me, but I don’t want to do that anymore.
- A better understanding of who I am at my core– Oh my god. I can’t even believe how big a YES this is. I’m really getting down to her, to me. I am not letting guilt and shame and insecurity confuse me anymore. I am not only understanding myself better, but loving myself much more deeply and fully.
- Inspiration, ideas, & solutions– I’ve had some great ideas come to me while meditating this month! Mostly business related, but some creative. (The shower has been good for this, too- a very meditative experience, no?)
- A more direct connection to my emotions– I can’t get a read on this fully. I will say, I’m definitely checking in immediately to see what my emotions mean. What they are trying to tell me. I can almost instantly draw a line between my fear, anger, frustration, etc and its source. Now, can I tap into joy or sadness or anger instantly for my job? I don’t know yet. Can I turn them on and off like a tap? I don’t think so. I’d like to be able to do that. I’d like to be Viola Davis someday.
- Forgiveness– Man. I know I’ve been sending out forgiveness from my heart like crazy, because I’ve worked through so much anger and hurt at so many people close to me. I just spent a full week or so grieving the end of what I wish we had. I feel calm and accepting now. I forgive the people who are meant to love me and support me for their inability to do so. I forgive those who can’t appreciate all I’ve done for them, because I know if they could appreciate it and not lose their entire worldview, or their trauma bonds, they would. I forgive a lot of things that I’ll never get an apology for, most likely. I’m not ready to fight or defend myself and I’m not holding on to the pain of it all. It’s okay. It’s just time for me to shift focus and live my life differently going forward. It feels AMAZING to let go of resentment I didn’t even realize was building up for so many years. What poison.
- A deeper capacity for love and acceptance– See above. Yes.
- More range & confidence as an actor– I don’t know about range but confidence– oh my gosh! I used to think, when I got a big audition, “ok, cool. Obviously I probably won’t get it, the chances are so small, but I’ll try!” And because I didn’t believe in myself I would half-ass it and then prove to myself I was correct- I wasn’t ready. Smaller auditions? No problem. I could nail them. But the big stuff seemed like something for “those people” who “already made it.” Ridiculous. I do not feel that way at all anymore! What do those people have that I don’t? Probably just confidence! They’ve experienced booking a lot of work so they know they can! I majorly leveled up during a pandemic where I couldn’t act anywhere at all except on Zoom, and I’m so grateful.
- An even more loving marriage– Every month when I answer this question I think, “How does this just keep getting better and better?” I wait for things to backslide into old habits. Every month, my real answer is “somehow, even stronger than a month ago.” My husband is such an unbelievably loving and supportive partner, it’s allowed me to do all this work, to figure myself out safely. I was worried some of my big life changes- pulling away from our life and home in the Midwest, letting him take over parenting duties fully and completely, declaring that it’s time for us to focus more on building our future in LA- might scare him. He gets it. He’s excited. He’s completely onboard. (And, true to Steve form, it took him about three days to start thriving, making new friends, reconnecting with old ones, and finding new opportunities out west. He’s amazing.) We still have seven years to go until the kids are fully out of the house, off to college, etc. Just knowing he’s more dedicated than ever to being a great dad while also being willing to shift his energy to meet my life and goals means everything. He’s a superhero.
- Some wisdom, perhaps– Ohhhh, yes. I read recently about how the sensitive people in ancient and native cultures were revered as spiritual leaders, and it hit me so hard. I am proud of my wisdom, as a woman, as a person who overcame a lot and has lived through a lot, as an intuitive human being, as someone who is determined to learn what I can from every experience. I used to try to push it on people who didn’t appreciate it or even want it. I’m so ready to try to help the world at large with whatever wisdom I’ve collected instead.
- Less annoyance at the world in general when things don’t go the way I think they should– Yes, I’d say I’m 30% less annoyed in these cases. I have two conflicting things happening. On one hand, the Type A Me, the logic brain who doesn’t understand why things aren’t operating on correct systems. Why a company whose entire function is one thing can’t do that thing correctly. Why there is a lack of balance or justice in so many situations. On the other hand, there is the Me who understands how incredibly lucky I am, who has perspective. Who gets that a lack of communication that could have so easily solved a minor annoyance in my day is really nothing compared to living in a war torn country or losing my home or being diagnosed with a terrible disease. I still don’t always understand why people can’t just do things the right way it’s not that hard sometimes, but I’m learning that my overreaction to it isn’t helpful for me or anyone else.
- Greater flexibility– To a point. I’m learning I need to control what is most important to me in life (and controllable) so that I can let go when it doesn’t matter. I also need to be more prepared in my “off” time so I’m ready to rev up when I need to do so. Working on this.
- The ability to meditate well– to sit comfortably, to let thoughts pass without grabbing them, to actually get the most out of the practice (with the understanding it will never be “perfect” & that some days will be more challenging than others)– As I mentioned a few days ago, I’ve been phoning it in a bit lately, but I think I’ve snapped out of that now. I’ll have a better answer next month.
- A clear map to that quiet place that lives inside all of us– Actually, I’m feeling really good about this. I feel like I can close my eyes and scan myself better than ever before, I’m happy to say! I’m realizing the more peaceful we feel inside, the more freely we can live in every way. I’m not afraid of anything anymore- no scary emotion, no painful experience. I can survive anything, and come out even better on the other side. I can turn inward and find everything I need. I don’t need to rely on any external validation, on anyone else’s opinion. I can just… be. Beautiful.