As we find ourselves in the holiday season, too many of us find that we are in a time of year when rushing around with too much to do is commonplace. We are working, running errands, dropping off kids and grandkids (even dogs at 'doggy daycare') all the while answering cell phones with computers blinking at us in the background. It's exhausting!
If we listen, life's messages to slow down purposefully, meditatively takes on new meaning during this time of year. Let's use it as an opportunity.
So often, we women focus on everyone else's needs, neglecting our own and being unfaithful, in a sense, to ourselves. Finding and connecting with your spiritual core is both intensely personal to your beliefs, needs and outlook as well as deeply necessary for strength and replenishment. We need to find time every day to stop, detach momentarily from the hectic pace of ticking things off the to do lists, and take part in a relaxing or meditative activity.
With everything we have to do, one might think that finding time for meditation is impossible. Here are three things to remember about daily meditative time:
• It doesn't have to take hours. Try meditation for just three to five minutes at a time.
• You can create your own meditative moments, in the style and at the time that pleases and suits you. This is not someone else's scripted protocol.
• Quiet, meditative time is just as important to your health as good food, rest and exercise.
Where and when you choose to take this time is up to you. I frequently hear, "I can't turn off the chatter in my mind." If a thought or worry threatens to intrude on your few moments of peace, picture yourself placing those thoughts into a box labeled NOT NOW. Remember, your meditation doesn't have to be silent if you don't want it to. Is there a genre of music that helps you connect with the part of your being that is joyful and creative? Try playing it while keeping the volume fairly low and let your mind relax and declutter. Or, imagine (just for 1 to 2 minutes) sitting on a beach alone while you count the waves slowly washing in to the shore.
Women often say flat out, "I can't do this." Some say that they can't shut off the noise in their minds, or that this kind of quiet time makes them feel anxious or perhaps even sad. It may seem a bit scary at first, to take this absolute time for yourself, brief as it may be, to listen to the language of the spirit. Remember that there are no shoulds when it comes to experiencing a meditative time -- simply making the decision to stop for a few minutes every day is healthy and restorative. If you find yourself wrestling with feelings of sorrow or nervousness during a more quiet time, practice simply taking a few deep breaths. Observe what you are feeling without trying to judge the emotion or make it go away.
If you are the type of person who keeps very busy, so much that a few unscheduled moments become unsettling, you may want to take this as your cue that you need more, not less, of this kind of uninterrupted, tranquil interlude.
Meditative time recharges our commitment to our health and renews our focus on the spirit. As a daily habit, meditation allows a reflective, thoughtful, or even prayerful time -- whichever is most comfortable and familiar to you -- that subtly shifts you from rushing around to a more deliberate way of thinking about what you are doing and why. When you meditate, you replenish the well that allows you to flourish in the fullness of all your experiences, both the positive and the not so great.
The holidays can be (and frequently are) hectic with finding the perfect gift for someone else. It's time we consider giving ourselves the gift of learning the language of the spirit -- our spirit. Happy Holidays!
Founder of Full Circle Women's Health in Colorado, Stephanie Bender has significantly contributed to a much larger understanding of women's health through her books, lectures and television appearances. Her most recent book is, "End Your Menopause Misery, " which she co-authored with Treacy Colbert. You can post a comment or read more about Stephanie on her website, by clicking here. You can also follow her on Facebook by clicking here.