I want to begin this post by saying I am student of meditation much more than a teacher. Most of what I find to work for me has been through self exploration, journaling, and self guidance. Teachers and peers in my community like Alma Omeralovic, owner of Tiny Space to Breathe, have taught me a lot about how much there is to learn when it comes to meditation, and that it can look like so many things.
It’s our last day in Salt Lake City, and I woke up before the sun. I made coffee and finished packing my belongings. I was determined to sit upstairs in the room with all the windows where we are staying, watch the sunrise, and journal.
And then I remembered I didn’t pack that one thing. I didn’t clean out the fridge. I still had to strip the bed. And oh what about putting the bikes on the car? My quiet morning began to look a little more back-to-back. Still, I was determined to get upstairs and have some peace and quiet, eventually. Every few minutes, as I was shuffling back and forth between tasks, I looked out the window to see a little more sunlight peering over the silhouette of the mountains.
I was hustling to beat the daylight. I was going to enjoy my last morning in silence, if it was the last thing I did!!
And then, all of a sudden, I stopped in my tracks. Mid-layering of new sheets on the bed, I froze. It was mostly light outside, I’d missed my window. A wave of frustration started to brew. And then I remembered something a meditation teacher told me once. Anything you do can be an act of meditation.
Eckhart Tolle said, “One conscious breath in and out is a meditation.”
What was I waiting for? That perfect moment when all the factors are just right, and then I was allowed to find my inner calm? For a second, that arbitrary goal of what I wanted my morning to look like kept me from seeing the forest for the trees.
I took a breath in, and exhaled. In my mind, I shifted the task at hand – making the bed – from the thing hindering me from reaching my goal, to the vehicle for meditation this morning.
I slowed down my movements. I relaxed my muscles. I took some deep breaths in and out through my nose, and I continued to make the bed. The sun was fully up and shining by the time I made my way upstairs, but I felt different. Something clicked. The effects of meditation were settling into my body, even though I hadn’t come anywhere close to taking a seat.
Meditation can look so many different ways. It’s not a bad idea to take a seat and try closing down your eyes, but there are plenty of places in your day that can be an opportunity to shift the narrative from the inside.
Try it out for yourself:
At some point today, you might be doing a task that feels like a chore, a daily thing that just needs to get done. Maybe it’s taking out the garbage. Perhaps it’s going to the grocery store. Deleting downloads on your computer or cleaning up your desktop. Whatever it may be, try thinking the words, “I am present in this moment as I ___ (whatever the task at hand is.” Notice your inhale, and notice your exhale. Repeat the words to yourself, “I am present.” Notice if you start to naturally begin to move more slowly. Observe how your body feels. With each exhale, notice if you can allow some excess tension in your body somewhere begin to dissipate. All of this can be done while you’re still doing whatever you’re doing.
Give it a go today. The experience doesn’t have to be “good” or “bad” – it can just be something different to try today. And who knows, maybe it will be something you want to return to tomorrow, too.
From wherever you are, you can try a moving meditation from a class in my library (give it a try right here! Your first seven days are free.)