So, words I thought I never would write: Meditation has changed my life.
This life that I am living has become so much more than “not drinking”. It has become less about taking away and more about adding in. Really, I have only taken away one toxic thing and opened myself up to so much more. One of my most favorite add-ins over the last 81 (woohoo!) days has been meditation. I don’t always love the doing part but I love the result part.
Meditation can be sitting and truly be meditating (part 2 post) but it can also be what I call mini meditations where you bring your brain back to a mantra focus multiple times throughout a day.
If you want to get deep like Chopra (deep like Chopra/Deepak Chopra, see what I did there 😉 #momjokes) then the term “mantra” can have several different meanings but I am not that deep so I use the western version, a mantra is setting an intention. I am also adding on to that, a mantra is interrupting a thought pattern.
I love my mini mantra meditations even more than actual meditation. We self-talk all day, whether we realize we are doing it or not. A mantra can change your self-talk and perception with subtle daily nudges that over time change your entire thought pattern and actually create new neuropathways in your brain. You are training your brain to rewire itself the way you want, not the way it has been conditioned over your lifetime.
Is there that one thing that you keep telling yourself over and over that you can’t let go of? Or something that someone once told you about yourself that you have repeated so many times you actually believe it? I dated a guy in college that told me, that he knew I was going to be fat when I got older because he could just tell by the way my body was built (and no, I didn’t break up with him because I was 19 and had no idea what I was doing in life) and almost 20 years later I STILL have that pop in my head. I am fat. I can’t do this. I am a yeller. I’m not good at math. My marriage sucks. I am never going to be that person. I want that other life. I am old. My partner might leave me. My life is too hard. I have to drink because I am too stressed. I’m not pretty enough or creative enough or funny enough or have enough friends. I need to be doing more.
Or maybe you are the one person that has it all together and there is nothing you need to work on and you just want to add more good stuff. With meditation and mantra repetition, you are basically tricking your brain into acting and thinking in the way you want, before you actually believe it yourself. And you know what, you will start to project the mantras outward, your life will change, and your relationships will shift.
I would suggest your first mantra be: I accept myself. I use this one over and over and over because I constantly need to be reminded. You can not have the freedom of change until you have the freedom of self-acceptance. Accept all of it. The you that you let everyone see and the you that stays hidden. The you that just binged and purged, drank in your pantry, loathes your partner, is sick of your kids, hates your job, holds judgment for everyone because you really hate yourself. The you that pushes to be perfect to prove to everyone that you are worthy. ALL OF IT. All of your story. Nothing will change that you aren’t willing to accept. Sit with it and think about the parts of you that you can’t let go of and just let them be. When self-judgment starts popping up during the day, come back to: I accept myself. I accept myself. I accept myself.
P.S. What I do: I make up my own mantras, pick ones out of books, Gabby Bernstein has an app called Spirit Junkie that will send you one a day, or Holly has a 40 Day Mantra program for sobriety. I sometimes use the same one for days or switch it up if I need to focus on a certain thing. I spend time focusing on it in the morning and gluing it to my brain. I also put it as my phone wallpaper and background so I am constantly reminded of it. You can also set a reminder on your phone to bring you back throughout the day if that works for you.