On Meditation

January 19, 2017

Words of Gratitude I Meghan Donovan of wit & whimsy

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a mind that races. I first noticed it when I began having trouble sleeping in high school as it was something that constantly prevented me from falling asleep in a reasonable amount of time. My thoughts would bounce around and I’d find myself writing things down on a pad of paper on my nightstand so I wouldn’t forget them.

Nowadays, I’m finding falling asleep easier but staying asleep more difficult and when I awake in the middle of the night my thoughts are back to racing. And sleep aside, it feels like I am constantly wading in a never-ending stream of technology and social media that has my ability to focus on certain days completely shot. It feels nearly impossible to “power off” most days.

Tips for Working from Home

So when a friend told me about a new meditation studio she had gone to, I decided before I left for Colorado for the holidays to try it out.

Inscape promises “immersive meditation and relaxation experiences that reduce distractions through movement and breathing, and using guided meditation and sound, to facilitate optimal meditation and relaxation and foster reflection.”

And…after my first session, I was somewhat hooked.

Since a few of you had asked about my experience, I thought I would share more in today’s post!

As background, last year I tried Headspace but I found myself too distracted and couldn’t find the patience for the practice which is where I think the in-studio experience plays such an important role for introducing you to meditation.

When I arrived at Inscape, I was shown around the space and asked to put all my belongings in a locker. There’s no dress code and the space is extremely tranquil. I’ve only taken classes in “The Dome” but there is another space available as well. You’re given three different seating options in the room and blankets and support blocks are also available to ensure you can set yourself up and practice while being comfortable.

wit & whimsy at homeI definitely understand why they call meditation a practice as every session I’ve done (two in person and multiple via the Inscape app) has been a different experience and a great lesson in attempting to quiet my mind. My thoughts still wander but the guided audio seems to be perfectly timed to reminding me to focus on the present and my breathing. I love the breathing exercises that Inscape uses. (So much so that I’ve been using them on stressful days or on nights I’m having trouble falling back asleep.) They help to center and calm me and have been one of the most meaningful takeaways from this new journey I’ve begun.

I’ve been talking a lot about meditation with friends as a result of my experience and everyone seems to bring up the same thing. “I couldn’t do it because my mind wanders too much” they all say some version of. But what I’ve learned is that it is completely natural for our minds to wander every few minutes while meditating. But what meditation can help do is to allow us to acknowledge what we were thinking about and then get back to our breathing, get back to our focus on coming back to the present. Meditation is a means to train our minds to focus on the present moment and to really practice being aware of how we’re feeling.

Thoughts on Meditation I wit & whimsy

While I’ve been enjoying the free version of the Inscape app of recent, I’m also going to sign up for a new package at the studio for days where I want to really devote time for myself. With everything I have going on between my two jobs, social schedule, workouts and more; the 33 minute sessions feel like such a special respite to take a time out and re-center. The in-person sessions leave me feeling calm and particularly more energized so I have come to really look forward to them. (For someone who has experienced anxiety for over a decade, this is huge.)

Another favorite part? The closing Inscape uses to conclude each in-studio and app session…

“Be mindful as you enter back into the world and travel gently.”

Do any of you guys meditate regularly? If so I’d love to hear about your experience! I’m still very new to it so I would love to hear about your practice.

p.s. on the making of good habits and productivity hacks.

[Bekka Palmer Photography]

5 comments on “On Meditation”

  1. I think meditating in a class is fine but it is stressful running to get there on time and then you are bombarded by noise and stress walking back to your apartment or whatever else you need to do. Personally, if I am going to do something like that, I prefer using Youtube videos. I will put on a ten minute “gentle yoga” video, one of which you can do laying down in bed, before I go to bed, and that will relax me. Also, doing ten minutes of simple stretching after work with some relaxing yoga music on (courtesy of Youtube) has helped me immensely after a very stressful day at work.

    Meditation is really about being in the moment – awareness. I think there are other, less structured ways to practice meditation. Any activity that puts you in the zone will work. When I was training for a marathon, I swore that doing those long runs was the first time I understand how people can meditate for long periods of time. I found myself in this trance like state where I could run for hours and not even realize it.

    But a simpler meditation could be just putting your phone/computer away after a certain time at night and doing something you enjoy that is relaxing. I find Knitting/crocheting/sewing to be very relaxing and literally the hours just fly by. Also reading a real book helps. My friend took up cake decorating as a way to relax and decompress since she runs her own business and it is very stressful.

    The fact that you are waking up in the middle of the night with a mind racing means you are stressed. Just find a quiet activity that keeps you busy, you enjoy, and relaxes you and do that activity each night.

    1. Hadn’t thought of youtube as a resource but it is a great idea! I definitely need to get better about stopping my phone use before I close my eyes. Thanks for the thoughtful commentary and sharing your experience <3

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