I’m a daughter of a genius mother who was always into alternative forms of healing and a father who praises Western medicine over anything. I was always drawn to my mother’s ideas about medicine and my sister was always drawn to the pharmaceutical, over the counter medicines available. I ended up working in marketing and my sister ended up as a pharmaceutical sales representative. Go figure- we are a product of our upbringing!
I’m 29 years old, single in the city with a great paying job. Sometimes I feel like I’m on top of the world and other times it’s all falling apart quickly. My biggest culprit is stress! I’m your classic type A personality. I don’t sit still with any sort of talent and I’ve often been told that I accomplish more in a single day of my average life, then many others attempt to accomplish over the period of a week. I’m not sure how this happened to me, but I have this condition, I really want to be in charge of my life- but sometimes it’s exhausting. Being in charge is this long list and I don’t even have kids yet. I look at new moms with an admiration these days that even I find surprising. How do they do it?
Just like so many of you I’m sure stress is just part of life. I love what I do beyond words but this job will never be void of stress. So I’ve been more open lately, to finding a solution that I can incorporate as a habit into my daily life that may help ease the daily high intensity life I lead.
So low and behold one day as I perused Facebook, I found a very interesting post on Deepak Chopra’s wall. There was a 21 Day meditation challenge starting just three days later. I signed up for the 21 day meditation challenge. I almost talked myself OUT of doing it, but let me tell you; this was one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life. I know what you’re all thinking! Who has time?
I started the challenge with a sense of anxiety over disappointing myself and not actually seeing it through. The first night I dedicated a whole thirty minutes to it; I dimmed the lights, lit a candle, put on my cute yoga gear and just sat and listened. I marked a calendar every day I made my meditation appointment and over the 21 days, I only missed three. The days that I missed the challenge, I actually felt like something was missing.
What used to be the part of my day I couldn’t really remember- now became the best part of my day. I felt during meditation like I was allowing the little girl in me to be creative, to come forward. I work in a creative but demanding career and sometimes the hardest asset to come by, is creativity. Like many creative people know, creativity is something that can’t just be called on. It comes to me when I’m most relaxed and inspired. I think that meditation helped me handle one of the most stressful months of my career with a kind of confidence I’ve never had. It also helped me bring forth some home run creative ideas that I had longed for.
I noticed I took deeper breaths throughout the day; I also slept better. Something that really stood out for me was the quality of the sleep and that for 21 days I woke up before the alarm clock. For anyone who knows me, this is a complete anomaly. I usually need three alarm clocks to wake up. People commented on my state, saying I seemed like I might be in love. Imagine that? Meditation made me sleep better, handle my stress better and glow like a recently smitten version of myself.
If you’ve never tried it, dive in. I loved doing this 21 day challenge and found each of these 15 minute segments just long enough for a newbie like myself. But in this noisy world, full of all sorts of sound and music this was such a retreat. I see silence with a new respect now and I observe my heartbeat as if we’ve just met.
I’m 29, single in the city and I’m always trying new things. After all, this life is meant to be experienced and I’m hoping by the time I have my own kids, I’m just like my mom. Showing them ways to heal that don’t involve anything but their brilliant minds. As I write this, I can honestly say I feel amazing. This isn’t the end of meditation for me; I’ve found something in it that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else. I found a part of me. I hope you try it; you have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
Niki Papaioannou is the winner of Round 1 of the Tonic Writing Contest. She won a dollar for every Facebook like this article received during January. The winning article for Round 2 will be published next issue. Round 3 is open for voting during March. tonictoronto.com/Contests