Hello dear friends!
I had dabbled in meditation and mindfulness for a couple of years (mainly in tandem with my yoga practice), but it wasn’t until my relapse that I started taking it seriously. Once my world shattered into a million pieces (again), I was suddenly thrust into a place where my days were empty but lacking the serious questioning that my illness onset had. After all, I knew what was going on- I’d been sick for 3 ½ years already- but was now stuck with the new and harrowing knowledge that whatever this was that I had was capable of rearing its ugly head whenever it wanted and with little warning. To say it was terrifying and humbling would be an understatement.
With this new reality fresh in my brain, and a newfound unemployment, I knew I needed to get serious about making consistent efforts for healing. Yoga was, of course, at the forefront of my mind, but I knew that my physical limitations were even more severe than before. I could barely finish a ten-minute practice without crumbling into a ball or bursting into tears, so I knew I had to find some other modality that could bring peace and balance to my upside-down life.
So then came meditation.
In my searching of guided programs, I came across the wonderful amazingness that is Headspace and immediately signed up for the free 10-day course. It was straightforward, accessible, and was lacking in the “woo-woo” factor that many other meditation programs were saturated in. Plus, the Andy’s voice was soothing and friendly without being wispy or weak, so that didn’t hurt.
So I propped myself up in my bed for ten minutes every day for ten days and allowed some newfound awareness to peek into my psyche. Yes, it was a challenge and yes, I still find daily meditation to be a challenge, but the lessons I’ve learned and the insight I’ve gained has been well worth the effort. And one of the things I loved the most about the Headspace program were the awesome animations- not only did they tickle my design geek side, but they presented very deep and esoteric concepts in a light and understandable way. Many of them have stuck with me, but none more than the Blue Sky analogy.
Think of your mind as a bright blue sky- a place where thoughts, feelings, and emotions appear (as clouds). And there are times when the clouds are so dark and thick and stormy that we lose sight of that blue sky, but in reality it is still there- it’s just obscured. It’s just like the idea of trying too hard to accomplish something or get somewhere- the things we want or are striving for are already there, but what we focus on are the things blocking them. We don’t need to actually reach for that thing itself, we need to remove what’s standing in the way. Or in the case of this metaphor- seeing past the dark clouds and remembering that the blue sky is there, waiting for us to enjoy it. To borrow Andy’s words:
Sometimes we get so obsessed with the clouds that we forget about the blue sky altogether. But it’s still there…
It’s easy to forget that what we’re looking for is already here.
-- Andy Puddicombe
Take a look for yourself!
This is an image that I like to keep in my pocket and pull out occasionally, especially on those dark and cloudy days when I’m exhausted and dizzy and in pain. My thoughts, feelings, and emotions behind what I am physically experiencing are just clouds- obscuring my own blue sky. And while that visualization doesn’t cure my ills, it sure makes me feel better to know that that blue sky is right there, still above me like always.
What did you think about the animation? Next time you’re having a bad day, come back to that image of the blue sky and it’ll help you identify the clouds that are cluttering up the view.
If you want a little help getting the hang of meditation and incorporating mindfulness into your life, check out my health coaching services. This practice has changed my life, and I know it can change yours too!
~ Hoping you feel as well as possible ~