Meditation isn't all Incense and Om

There are many things that I did before I owned a business - practice yoga, burn incense, walk Max. But since I’ve started my business (chugging furiously along into year two), I have found that these things have become the sanity of my “off hours” and have therefore grown exponentially.

Essential oils have entered the picture (Peppermint to stave off a headache. Bergamont for creativity). Jaw massages when I’m sitting at my desk, and a tennis ball massage after a long conference call. And since the New Year, I have tried to set aside time for meditation. Not the meditation that I get in savasana at the end of yoga, or the quiet reflection while walking Max through our neighborhood. This is the full blown, sit on a cushion, finger and thumb together, eyes closed type of meditation.

It. Is. Painful.

And. I’m not giving it up. It’s not easy to cut off from work when you’re super busy, and it’s especially hard when you work from home and your office is in your house. Sure, I can walk out of the room and shut off the lights, but I’m never really separated from it. So I began setting an alarm on my phone at 5:15PM as a reminder to meditate. And that reminder stays on my phone until I am ready to actually do that task. Sometimes it’s a few minutes after the alarm goes off - sometimes it’s 2 hours. But the hope is that it will happen because, like everything else in my life at the moment, it has been scheduled.

The purpose of my beginning meditation has been, truly, to create a pause between my work life and my home life. I found myself skipping longer walks with Max especially as the days got shorter. Then yoga was getting pushed to the side, “I can always do that in the morning!,” I tell myself (guess how often it actually gets done in the morning?).

But sitting? OK, even I can’t give myself a good reason not to do that one.

So I sit. At first it was for 7 minutes. Then 10. Now, it’s 15. And I’m starting to look forward to it. Because it forces me to not think. Oh, the thoughts keeping popping up for sure: brainstorming for that one client story, a mental note to email that person , double checking on the status of a project. My brain insists upon flooding me with all the thoughts that a natural day brings, and I am practicing for those 15 minutes to shut them up. Just breathe. Be quiet. Just be.

When I open my eyes, I almost always feel more relaxed, but more importantly, I feel like a weight has lifted. My chest is a little lighter and I can transition into the rest of my evening to cook dinner, call my mom, and maybe read a (non-work) book.

I know the life of the entrepreneur is usually glorified as working, and thinking about working, and struggling to find more time to work 24/7 but that just ain’t happening with this girl. My cup is better shared when I am filling it myself. And meditation is a start to that floodgate.

Cassandra D'Alessio