"Amber when did you become a new age guru?" When my body gave up on me and I died inside. So since I was born. Hey ohhhhhhhhh.
Kidding. I've been "meditating" for almost three years and I've found it helps me in my daily life and on the platform. The most important part of lifting is the mental aspect of it. It can make or break an athlete let alone a single performance.
You don't have to make your own granola, burn incense, and go to a temple to meditate. Let me share my meditation practices and you can see how easy it can be. Bear in mind I'm not a meditation expert. I'm just a girl who makes videos of herself doing weird things, dresses up her catdog, and will fight you if you disrespect Lady Gaga.
See A Movie In A Theater
I love any excuse to see a movie. The smell of popcorn, the delicious Blue Icee, and a $5.50 Kiddie Pack (popcorn, drink, AND fruit snacks?!) are my favorite part of the movie experience because let's face it: I'm a perpetual fat kid. And apparently cheap as balls.
But what I love about seeing a movie in a theater is the fact that you become fully engrossed in it. It's not the same watching a movie at home. I don't know about you but aside from NOT feeling 22 (whaddup T-Swift) I get distracted at home. Or I feel like I need to be productive and working.
When I've paid money for a ticket, I'm forced to put the cell phone away and just watch the screen. I'm transported to whatever activity is on the screen. It's one of the few times I am completely still and my mind is quiet.
Guess what? A still mind is meditation. I like to go with friends but more often than not I go alone. Why? For starters I tend to be the only person who wants to see the film. I also like to go on cheap days (Sundays and Tuesdays are half off in Jackson at Regal Theatres). But most importantly it's "Amber time". Plus, you don't have to share your snacks.
Take A Hike
Why? I get to see birds (have I mentioned I've been to bird watching meetings and checked out field guides from the library?), squirrels, random bugs. I get to see the flowers and shrubbery. The sky. I can focus on smells and sounds regardless of whether it's hot as hell or it just rained.
Another plus? No cell phone usage. You're focused on your surroundings and being in the present. Your mind will wander but you'll be present in those thoughts.
Some folks prefer to run or bike. I don't run because, uh, MURICA but I bike on occasion. However if I'm biking, it's going to be on a mountain bike trail and my mind is focused on not eating dirt or bark. It's fun but not relaxing.
Walking forces me to really focus on what's around me and not on how fast I'm going to get there.
Ditch Your Electronics
The main take away for a good meditation (in my opinion) is to disconnect from electronics. Ditch your phone and your social media. Don't worry you can always take a picture of your meditation practice and post it later with some really original and cool hashtag. You can listen to music but it shouldn't be your main focus. I prefer the lights off and maybe a candle if I'm going old school. Even an essential oil diffuser is cool.
Meditate Your Own Way
While there's no right or wrong way to eat a Reese's, there's also no right or wrong way to meditate or find peace. Do what works for you, boo. Your mental game on and off the platform will improve. Don't stress about it. It won't be perfect but it will be something you'll benefit from.
Here are some ways I like to meditate. Some are conventional. Others, not so much. Some days it depends on what kind of peace I need. Do I need to zone out completely? Do I need to dig deep? Is crying allowed? What about singing? Seriously.
- Conventional meditation: Lights off. Candle blazing. My hippie oils diffusing (sidenote I love aromatherapy). And sprawled out on my back on an old Simpsons blanket. See? It couldn't be THAT conventional if I'm doing it. Yoga mats make me feel restricted but I do like the space of a blanket. I close my eyes, focus on my breath, and let my mind wander where it needs to go. I usually end up talking to God in my head. And going through my feelings and why I feel that way. But I have to breathe and focus on clearing my mind before that can happen.
- Shower meditation: I try to only think about the cleansing aspect of the water when I shower. Focus on how it smells. Focus on how it feels. Focus on the noises. Just be present. Hippie and weird but it works for me. Sidenote: my showers are super fast. Because thinking is hard. And also we ain't got time to waste gallons upon gallons of water y'all.
- Talk meditation: Ok, this is where I'll lose some of you. If I'm having an irrational feeling or just can't understand WHY I feel some type of way (hello old internet phrasing), I talk it out. Out loud. To myself. Sometimes I film myself. Sometimes I voice record. Sometimes I just talk. I say things like "I feel insecure. I feel insecure because I was rejected. I feel rejected because Johnny Tsunami didn't call me back. Johnny Tsunami not calling me back isn't on me. That's on him. But I feel this way. I shouldn't feel this way. Why shouldn't I feel this way? Because I have XYZ going on for me, people don't validate me....blah blah blah...and then somehow end up at EFF EVERYONE I AM AMAZING SUCK IT HATERS."
- Singing: Horribly. To songs no one else likes. And record them and just say it's some kind of karaoke. For me, it's just fun. And freeing. It also instantly improves my mood.
- Listen To Thrash/Speed Metal: Head banging and "dancing" is an out of body thing for me. It's just something I do. Randomly. Or while listening to music. I HATE dancing in public but put me at a metal show and it's game over. I think it's just something about the noise. Fight me but metal is the new classical.
How do you meditate? Have you tried it before; did you like it or was it pointless for you?