Part of my wellness journey includes prayer and meditation. I’ve prayed since I was a little girl reciting “Now I lay me down to sleep…” In recent years, I’ve found myself praying what I call a “genie prayer.” You’re probably familiar: “God, I need a lottery win, a house and a good vacation and all will be ok. Please answer my prayer.” While all those things may be true and/or awesome, the reality—at least for me—is God isn’t a genie. Prayer (again IMHO) really should be more about peace and less about things. Don’t get me wrong—I still pray for miracles, health, prosperity—whatever that means, and for friends and family struggling with things, but I also pray for peace in the event the things prayed for are not to be. I use prayer as a moment to lay my burdens down. I try to pray and release. In other words, I try not to lay a burden down, say “Amen” and spend my day picking it back up and obsessing about it.
Before I got into this whole wellness journey, I noticed I’d shifted to lazy prayer. I’d say the Lord’s Prayer in the morning only to doze off in the middle of it. I’d pray at night after I’d watched all the TV I wanted and was in bed, covered up and comfortably smushed into my pillows. Guess what happened next. Dear God, Zzzzzzzzzzzz. Since prayer is when I get some peace, I knew I needed to make a change. I started going back to church and am working on little prayers for peace and a grateful heart throughout the day. Sometimes that translates into “Thank you.” and sometimes, it’s a bit more involved. The point is I’m making time for my personal spiritual growth.
My other tool for peace is meditation. I’ve done so many 21-day meditation challenges at this point, I could record a guided series. The problem lately is I don’t take the time to meditate and if I do, I spend it focused on the traffic racing through my head. I thought about going to a meditation retreat but I decided I’m not ready to spend 5 or more days of vacation time in silence yet (and maybe I won’t ever be). I did take some active steps to get focused again though.
I finished Dan Harris’ 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge and Found Self-Help that Actually Works—A True Story. Mouthful right? I featured the book on a Love List (Meditation Edition) earlier this month. I can honestly say it was the most refreshing approach to meditation. The point wasn’t buried in hard to understand prose. It’s one man’s journey with some expertise and scientific research that’s summed up in plain English. If you’ve ever been frustrated while learning to meditate, this book is for you. You’ll find Harris totally relatable walk away with a sense that you don’t have to buy into the business of guru-ism to find peace. You can sit right at your desk or on your couch and get effective meditation done in just a few minutes.
The book couldn’t have come into my life at a better time. After I finished, I needed more so I found Harris’ talk to Google about meditation. Through that, I was reminded about Headspace, which I’d heard of a while back but never downloaded it. I finally have it and have completed my 10-day intro journey. Not sure if I’m doing the paid service yet but in the 10 days, I formed a great foundation and towards the end, I’d finally learned to get my racing thoughts under control. I plan to continue beyond this wellness journey.
What is your spiritual practice? How do you stay focused and make sure you dedicate time to that practice everyday?