About a year ago, I started a podcast. My Dad had passed away and I needed something to distract me and focus my energy in a positive way. Because of the nature of the work I do and my love of and interest in positive psychology, I decided to create a new way to spread positivity. I took a class on how to develop a podcast and was lucky enough to have a husband who understands technology and post production work. My podcast is called Brighten Your Day. Recently I interviewed my college roommate, Jenny. We met over 25 years ago and have stayed close friends. She was my maid of honor and I am her second son’s godmother. In our interview I asked her if she could travel back in time, what message would she give her 25-year old self? Without much hesitation she said, “I’d tell her to relax, it’s going to work out fine.” She was so worried about things working out just like she’d planned, that she missed out on a lot of the joy. She was so busy doing everything she could to get what she wanted, she spent too much time worrying and stressing out. Interestingly, that’s almost the same thing I would say to my 25-year old self. Stop, pause, be still. Look at what’s around you. Take a moment to reflect on what’s working and what’s making you happy and on what you’d like to do next. I was go, go, go. My nicknames in college were flash, turbo and triple shot (the caffeinated kind). Even now, the hardest thing for me is to stop and pause, be still and reflect. I would rather run three miles any day than sit and meditate for three minutes. Yet when I do stop and am present with my breath, I tend to have breakthroughs and gain new perspective and inspiration.
I recently learned of a sitting meditation called zazen. It’s a meditative practice that’s meant to give you insight into your true nature of being. The person who introduced it to me knows I have a hard time sitting still, so she told me to just focus on breathing in and out. All I have to do is inhale and exhale. That’s one. Then inhale and exhale again. That’s two. Keep track all the way to 10 and then start again. It has been incredibly valuable for me to practice this meditation. I have been able to calm my emotions and just be present. Afterward I feel energized and I’m better able to focus. I have found new creativity and insight where I had felt myself becoming bored and disengaged with some aspects of my work. I’ve learned that to practice zazen you can sit on a zafu, a special round cushion. I found one I like on Amazon and ordered it! I keep it in my home office.
Epilogue: Like mother like daughter
Last night we were teaching my daughter, Aria, how to play 21. She had learned about it in her after-school program. As my husband was dealing the cards, Aria immediately turned hers over. My husband said, “Not yet! Don’t show your cards until the dealer’s done.” Of course, I immediately started singing…
“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done.”
Relax, daughter. Be still.