Meditation for People who Can’t Stop Thinking!

Meditate by Frogarythm on FlickrHave you tried meditation but just feel that you don’t really ‘get it’? Do you sit there searching for a Zen-like calm but within seconds you’re planning your shopping list or analysing the plot of last night’s telly programme?
You are not alone!
I too am challenged in the Zen department!

The Zen Challenge

Although I have a lot of experience with hypnosis I have only got into meditation very recently. In January I began practicing mindfulness with Leo Babauta’s Sea Change program, including a brief mindful meditation each morning. His Zen Habits blog also has plenty of tips and info about meditation. The Sea Change program suggests starting small; meditate for 5 minutes – or 2! But make it a daily habit. I decided to make my habit something I do upon waking up.  I’ve tried breathing, staring at a candle and chanting.
My mind still wandered a little though so then I experimented with listening to guided meditations. Leonie Dawson has a free meditation to listen to here Meditation for Healing.
Then I began going to meditation sessions at my local Buddhist centre. The centre I go to is a big house, not a temple. There is a community of about 8 Buddhists living there. They have a public classroom for meditation and a separate public cafe. The weekly classes include a talk, each one with a different theme. I’ve found it to be very relaxed and informal and it gives me plenty to mull over on the bus home.

Have you got it yet?

Finally, this week I tried using the Headspace Meditation App (a guided meditation and mindfulness app.) Take10 is their free meditation programme that gives you a taste of meditation in just 10 minutes a day for 10 days. Andy from Headspace says, “That’s less than 1% of your day, so even the busiest person can squeeze it in.” The important thing that I learned from this app was that I was trying too hard to meditate. I was sooo concentrating on getting it right and achieving something and doing it correctly – my mind wasn’t relaxed at all! So the blue sky animation really helped me to understand that even on a cloudy day – the blue sky (clear mind) is still there… “Rather than trying to create blue sky, a state of happiness and calm, it’s more a question of sort of setting up a deck chair in the back garden, just sitting back and waiting for the clouds to pass.”

Why bother?

Yes it’s something you learn slowly and progress with over time. So is it worth the effort? I stumbled upon this article Should Meditation be included in the Education of Our Youth?

“Now these students are doing light-years better. In the first year of Quiet Time, the number of suspensions fell by 45 percent. Within four years, the suspension rate was among the lowest in the city. Daily attendance rates climbed to 98 percent, well above the citywide average. Grade point averages improved markedly.”

Meditation is not a quick-fix for my whole life, it is a new habit that I’m forming. But after years of not really ‘getting it’ I think it was Andy at Headspace who finally made me understand.

“Remember that idea of the blue sky, nothing to achieve, nothing to create, it’s all about stepping back and just allowing the mind to unwind, in it’s own time and in it’s own way.” Take 10 programme, from Headspace

Trying too hard

Are you trying too hard? Do you need to let go and just ‘be’? Who’da thought that chilling out could be this difficult?! What have you discovered when you tried meditation? Let me know in the comments below.

PS. I am not an affiliate of Headspace. I just like it!

Thanks to Frogarythm on Flickr for the meditation image.

Learn a quick and easy technique for appreciating the little things in life with this free 10 day e-course.


Do you know who I think I am?

IMG_1382I must confess that I am afraid. I am lost. I know that I want to start a new business, one that helps people in some way. I know that I need to write on this new blog that I have created. Because for years I blogged at The Real Life of a Narrowboat Wife but now I’m no longer living on a narrowboat. I’ve lost my identity. I need to reinvent myself. But I don’t even know what I’m going to reinvent myself into. At the moment I’m ‘in between’ my selves. I’m in my chrysalis.

However, I do know that if I wait around for my blog idea and my business idea to be perfect I will never get it off the ground. So, I bravely and honestly present myself here: Completely as yet un-invented. I’m at the in-between stage between Narrowboat Wife and The New Me.

I don’t know what to write.

So what if someone came to me now and said, ‘I’ve started a new blog and I don’t know what to write?’ I suppose I would ask them why did they start that new blog? And if she were honest then Scared Me, (also known as Other Me) would reply,

Because blogging is what I do. It’s woven itself into the fabric of my life. For the last three years I have absorbed like a sponge every bit of blogging information and advice that I can. I’ve been to blogging conferences and done blogging courses. I’ve become a professional blogger. I’ve always loved to write. It would just seem odd if I wasn’t blogging.


I started blogging at The Real Life of a Narrowboat Wife because everybody was always asking me what is it like, living on a narrowboat with kids? It was difficult and beautiful. There was plenty to write about. We were always having adventures. There were always interesting challenges to confront.

And now? What are your challenges now?

A lack of self-confidence and a lack of identity.

Who do you think you are?

I do know who I want to become. I want to be more confident, and improve my self-esteem. I want to get my driving licence (literally) and get in the driving seat of my own life again (figuratively). I want to take care of my body and my mind with yoga, meditation, self-hypnosis, swimming and running. (Maybe not all at once – ha ha!) I want to become healthier; drink more water and eat more fruit. I want to finish writing my book and send the first draft to a publisher. I want to offer personal development e-courses that help other women to find their own true purpose in life.  I want to live in a character cottage beside the sea. I want to run a business that makes other people happy, inspires people and gives other people the confidence to be themselves and achieve their dreams.   I want to be a calm and confident parent. I want to go on foreign holidays. I want to go on a hot air balloon ride! I want to take up drawing and painting again. I want to grow old gracefully and become wise.

So look at me now, in my chrysalis: And see my dreams. Somehow I will reinvent myself. And while I work out how to do it I will blog about it.

What are your dreams? What are your challenges? Are you in a chrysalis? What will you be?