[7 minute read]
Life is hectic, it can be stressful and sometimes trying to find peace of mind can be hard. Trust me, I get it.
With my work – the most consistent thing I’ve got going on is inconsistency. My schedule changes from week to week with contracts, photoshoots, travelling, media events, etc. It’s very easy to slip into a downward spiral of not creating a routine and prioritizing healthy habits.
Excuses are a b*itch – and honestly, I am the queen of them. It’s SO easy for me to say that I can’t find balance in what can feel like a 24-hour workday. “Busy syndrome” – amiright? But, one thing that I can say I struggled with for a while is the guilt of relaxing. There’s always something else to do and when I’m constantly working – and sitting down to stop would send my thoughts on a wild ride…
“Is there something else I need to do?”, or “I should be doing X instead of this”. It’s like SHUT UP BRAIN LET ME LIVE AND BINGE WATCH MY REALITY TV SHOWS.
The second thing that is majorly consistent for me is anxiety. And, until a couple of years ago, I felt like there was nothing I could do to get that under control. My brain would just not stop, and when I paired that with living under a dark cloud of depression – getting out of bed every morning was a challenge. With the help of a doctor, a big support system and some positive lifestyle changes, managing days became easier and easier. A big help with that was Transcendental Meditation (TM).
Here we go. The meditation talk. The talk where most of you will roll your eyes at hearing the buzz word one more time…
I’m going to be real for a second: prior to me learning the TM technique, I’m unable to recall if there was a single thing that made my blood boil more than meditation. Actually, that’s a lie – when people chew with their mouth open, I want to flip the table. But aside from that, meditation really pissed me off.
Sitting there for 20 seconds felt like 57 minutes. I would find myself angry, anxious, uncomfortable and squirmy, and my brain would NEVER shut off. At the time, I thought one could only “win” at meditation if you sat there like a Buddhist monk, completely at peace with zero thoughts going through your head. That was unattainable for me, so I quit – because I’m really going at not doing things that I’m not good at.
You feel me?
Rewind to an old friend of mine. I was jealous of the way he carried himself. I feel like the right thing to say is that I admired the way that he carried himself – but no. I was straight-up jealous. I could never wrap my head around how a person who struggled with so much anxiety could be so calm, composed, patient and loving. Like, wtf are you hiding?! Spill the beans damnit.
It wasn’t the first time I had heard of it. For a while, it was a buzzing topic from Hollywood stars. But after seeing first-hand how it was such a positive in his life – I decided to pull the trigger and sign up.
I walked into day one of my weekend at the TM centre. I talked with my teacher for a while, she gave me an overview of the practice and we dove right in. She sat me comfortably in a chair, burned an incense that smelled like it was made in heaven, gave me my mantra and had me repeat it a few times out loud. Then softer. Then in my head…
When she asked me to stop, I was shocked. Where did I just go? What just happened? How long was that?!
NO. WAY. For the first time in my life, I felt like I could meditate. But more importantly – why the heck did I feel so good?
What is transcendental meditation?
Transcendental Meditation was popularized in the late 60s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The whole purpose of TM is to allow people to be themselves. The state of simply existing in your truest form is the whole intention of transcendental meditation.
Through the technique, you can find a sensation similar to deep rest. The method of centering yourself and coming back to your natural state has a similar effect to sleep in that you’re encouraging your mind to go inward and switch off from the overstimulation of simply being alive.
The meditation technique requires a specific technique that is taught by the Transcendental Meditation organization. TM involves silent mantra meditation that is assigned to you during your weekend at the centre. It is recommended that you practice 20 minutes, twice a day.
How has it changed my life?
After using the technique for a good while now, I have a better understanding of what my triggers are for stress and how I can use TM as a tool to reset. We all compile our own tools for success, and this is a huge one for me.
TM slows me down – but not in a way that is counterproductive. Thoughts about work and expectations have become ordered and organized. I no longer had to feel like a prisoner to the constant thoughts swimming through my own head. I am now more present. My mood is lighter.
Life is no longer something that happens to me – it is something I am actively involved in. I understand my actions and reactions have an impact on the world around me. I now have the skills to work on my commitments with ease and mindfulness.
Once I got used to the technique, I started to look forward to my meditation sessions. I would actually enjoy them – and I still do. The technique is like a warm bath for the mind: cleansing, relaxing and peaceful. I can meditate every single day and it now feels like part of my routine: just like a good skin care regimen.
TM allowed me to have a break from the outside world while helping me to develop the ability to better understand myself. I can now identify and acknowledge particular emotions – whereas before I couldn’t tell what I was upset about or even if I was upset.
Change takes time
For some, TM can make a difference in their life from day one but for others, it might take a while to become accustomed to the practice.
For me, I know that TM is now a useful practice in my daily life to give me the space to deal with the chaos that is the modern world. I can find time in my travels and workday to just be with myself and my mantra. I can re-centre myself without being dependent on someone or something else. TM has really changed my life and more importantly, my approach to life. I can walk into new experiences knowing that I can handle it without panicking.
I can’t recommend the technique enough to anyone struggling to find balance. Especially because I know we all have 20 minutes to spare!
How do you practice mindfulness? Drop your thoughts or questions in the comments below.
This blog is not written in partnership with TM. All views are my own.