If you've been hanging out with me for the past 4 months, you may remember that for the start of 2016 I went against my natural grain and didn't set any big, exciting goals for the year ahead. Instead, I committed to doing 2 little things, which I thought would yield overall improvement in my work and life: one of which was to do a little meditation, each and every day.
Now, after continuously meditating almost every day for more than a quarter :) I'm not quite sure how I made it through life without this practice before- even though, I clearly remember what a different vantage I had not so long ago. Five years ago my friend Rebecca hosted a discussion of the book Wherever You Go, There You Are in her OmGal book club. To wrap the session, she took us through a 5 minute meditation, and in my journal that night, I wrote something like: "Rebecca made us meditate today; it was awful."
So what's opened my mind to meditation since then? It was not, in fact, a lightbulb moment. Before the mainstream and even business world seemed to catch on, I have to admit, Rebecca slowly nudged her higher ways into my cerebral consciousness. She would often repeat this advice in her yoga classes:
It seemed like a small risk to take. And with that, an openness to the idea gradually worked its way into my life. However, I must admit: over the years I've wavered on my commitment to it: frequency, time per day I've allotted it, and how much I'm focus I'm actually giving it. Let's be real here. In other words, sometimes I'm just thinking with my eyes closed.
But my enthusiasm was recently renewed when I heard what Rainn Wilson (yes, Dwight!) had to say about Meditation in his interview with Tim Ferriss:
"I get a great deal of benefit if I even do a 10 minute meditation and out of that 10 minutes, if 4 of the minutes, my mind can be very still and very silent... I get a ton of clarity, and I get a ton of energy from it...It's like taking a power nap, and it helps you through your whole day."
And then came this great account from McKinsey on how meditation makes you a better leader and better able to manage your emails(!!?). With all this mainstream support for meditation, it's great that it's more "acceptable" these days and dare I say it? Perhaps even watercooler conversation.
So if you're interested in giving Meditation a try - it will improve your focus and clarity at work - here are 4 tips to get you started:
1. Use an app. My favorite is Headspace. It allows you to choose a theme (think: Focus, Creativity, Relationships, or my current pick: Stress), as well as the amount of time per session. It then fills your queue with 30 days of themed meditations.
2. Claim your space. I find that it helps me to have a small corner of my apartment sanctioned off for meditating. There's something relieving about knowing you have a space that's all yours, where you can light a candle and settle in with some personal precious items.
3. Meditate the moment you wake up and do NOT check your email first! I give this advice so strongly because I do not always follow it myself, and derailment ensues. Especially since I use an app on my phone, turning off emails when I hit the pillow at night is critical for me to carry through the clarity. These iPhone instructions are probably not news for any 21st century-ites, but in case anyone is in the dark like I was 1 1/2 years ago... Go to:
- Mail, Contacts, Calendars
- Under Accounts, click the email account you want to temporarily disable
- Select the green button to the right of Mail for that account.
4. Lastly, just do it! Don't give it too much thought. As Rebecca's husband wisely advises in Do Your Om Thing: "'Isn't that the deal with anything? Do something... not nothing?'"
Images courtesy of Apt. 34 and my iPhone :)