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Just As I Am: Be Grateful

Just As I Am

Today, I am grateful for my Taz-like mind...

I rarely buy magazines, but this caught my attention (Time magazine cover). I had to chuckle when I saw the front cover because I feel that this is the image we create when we think of mindfulness meditation – at least that was my expectation when I first started the practice.

Often times, I find my Taz-like mind to be all over and pretty chaotic (cue image of the Tazmanian devil many of us watched on Saturday morning cartoons as children).

It's quite interesting when I take the time to witness it. I completely understand why many don't stick with the practice when they expect to "find bliss." I've stopped meditating in the past for similar reasons. I was seeking inner peace and when I didn't find it, I thought "this isn't working" or "I'm doing it wrong." Somehow I made my way back onto the cushion... I continued and continue to be open and curious about my "non-peace" and "dis-harmony." I feel like we all want peace in the world, however what happens when we pay attention to and accept our own non-peace?

It's as if the body (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual body) is saying "please pay attention to me"... and when I stop ignoring it, when I pause and pay attention to the "dis-ease" and "dis-comfort" something softens with time.

Sometimes I imagine myself giving it a hug. On days when it's a challenge to practice self-love and self-compassion, it helps me to visualize someone I love or someone who makes me smile sitting with me and sharing the space. Sometimes placing my hands on my heart or holding my own hand helps.. or imagining someone else's gentle touch supporting me.

By recognizing and feeling my own suffering, I feel more alive, more human... and maybe I am able to better recognize and connect the humanness in others.

So, if you're curious about meditating and not having what appears to be a blissful experience like the beautiful woman on the front cover of Time magazine – don’t be discouraged! I encourage you to continue to be curious. She might be having a peaceful experience.. or not... only she knows.

So why practice if it may not be a pleasurable experience? I continue to practice because it helps me get to know and befriend myself – both the light and the dark of myself.

Sometimes the experience can be joyful, sometimes it is humorous, and sometimes it's very mundane.

Other times, I learn something new about myself. I never really know what information may surface but once I am aware of what's being PRESENTed, I get to decide how I choose to relate to it.

Do I ignore it or go numb from it? Do I run from it? Can I allow myself to soften, to really feel it? Maybe I need to reach out to someone? And that's OK too.

"Soften often" is a mantra I use A LOT. I invite you to try it! Some days are easier than others. That's why it's called a "practice."

May we be safe.

May we be happy.

May we be healthy.

May we live with ease.

- Raylen

What are some ways you calm your mind? Share with us in the comments!

Raylen Williams

Raylen Williams

Raylen Williams is a Health Coach with Beebe Wellness and Beebe HealthyBack, programs under Beebe Physical Rehabilitation Services.