by Abiola Abrams
You need to feel empowered if you’re going to answer your big calling and change the world, right? Stress is an epidemic among women any time of year. At any given time you are juggling your kids, your beau, your work, your home, your hair, and you life! Add to that the energy of the holidays and this can be an overwhelming time. Inner peace can take a back seat.
Well, the cure for chaos lies in our center, the mind-body-spirit, the breath. However, nothing can be more annoying that someone saying, “Just breathe,” when things are falling apart! I feel you. For years I believed that I was unable to meditate. I had a narrow limited view that meditation had to be me sitting in a dark room, breathing and mentally vacant for hours. I couldn’t sit for 3 minutes without wondering about the grocery list, my new pink stilettos, or trying to take over the world. Then I learned that I didn’t have the whole picture when it comes to meditation.
There’s no need to feel guilty or hard on yourself if you’re not into traditional meditation. I have women feeling the need to apologize to me for not meditating. Do you! If you have peace and calm through other means, work it! No need to jump on any bandwagon ever.
Every religion and religious text includes some meditative form of getting connected to our source. Ministers like Bishop T.D. Jakes and Pastor Rick Warren may refer to meditation as “breath prayers.” As an empowerment coach and advice columnist, I teach meditation as a healing modality because there is nothing more powerful than us getting reconnected to our breath. Yoga is also a breath connection practice.
Here are Powerful Ways to Meditate When You Hate Meditation:
Set your alarm for 15 minutes and try any practice on the list. Light a candle or don’t. Play calming music or don’t. Pipe up the incense or not. Sit comfortably or lie down. Your meditation practice is yours and yours alone.
1. Chanting Meditation.
Remember in “What’s Love Got to Do with It” when Angela Bassett as Tina Turner found peace in the Buddhist practice of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo? That was chanting, which can be found in different forms with different names in churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues.
Chanting “ahhh” is said to be the sounds of creation and the “om” mantra is said the sound of the universe. Research transcendental and Japa meditation for more information. Dr. Wayne Dyer has a book and Japa meditation album called Getting in the Gap: Making Conscious Contact with God Through Meditation” that may offer guidance.
2. Prayer Beads as a Meditation Tool.
People ask the difference between prayer and meditation. For some of us it’s one in the same. Another description is that prayer and meditation is the cycle of us asking for guidance and receiving guidance.
Prayer beads are used in many religious traditions. According to Wikipedia, prayer bead users include Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and practitioners of “Islam, Sikhism and the Bahá’í Faith to mark the repetitions of prayers, chants or devotions, such as the rosary of Virgin Mary in Christianity, and dhikr (remembrance of God) in Islam.”
I have seen people praying with their rosary beads and mala beads in New York City on the subway and even in jury duty. This is proof that you don’t even have to use the word meditating to be meditating. My mala beads help me find a meditative re-connection even on the grocery line. Claim your calm. Reconnect with your power.
3. Singing and Dancing as Meditation.
There’s a reason why praise from every tradition includes us raising our voices and swaying our beautiful bodies in exultation and celebration. When you’re singing, chanting, and dancing, you’re in the moment. You are not thinking of the past or the future. You are right there, raised up in the joy of the second. Ask gospel choir members or the whirling dervishes. This connection is sacred. This is meditation.
4. Food Meditation.
Mindfulness is being present. Self-being is the term I created to describe the state of being powerfully present. For some this is an easier way to access the idea of meditation. Mindful eating is a meditative practice. With every bite think of the hands that have prepared it, the farmers who grew it, the spices and tastes. Be present on your plate, observing the smells and the colors of the meal. Any food can be a meditation from green beans to rich dark chocolate. Yes!
5. Guided Meditation Visualization.
Some of us like the practice of having someone gently guide us through our meditation. Then our minds don’t have to feel like we are focusing on not focusing. Check out life coach Iyanla Vanzant’s meditation series. Reverend Michael Bernard Beckwith offers a free meditation on his site and so do I. (That’s me in the featured photo today!) These are often a combination of meditation and guided visualization. Do what works for you and chuck the rest.
Other practices include Laughing Meditation, Freewriting, Journal Meditation, Walking Meditation, Mandala Meditation, Labyrinth Meditation, Firestarter Meditation, Koan Meditation, Crystal Meditation, Body Scan Meditation, LovingKindness, and Chakra Meditations.
Passionate Living Coach Abiola Abrams is the author of “The Sacred Bombshell Handbook of Self-Love,” nominated for an African American Literary Award in self-help. She gives extraordinary women inspiring advice on healthy relationships, self-esteem and getting the love we deserve. You’ve seen her love interventions in magazines from Essence to Ebony and on shows from MTV’s “Made” to the CW Network’s “Bill Cunningham Show.” Abiola is also the creator of the African Goddess Affirmation Cards. Tweet @abiolaTV.