Meditation Notes: Welcome To The Party!
My mid-year resolution is to finish a few books I’ve started this year. I used to be a pro at reading 2-3 books at a time in 2-3 weeks! Of course I used to eat sitting down and wear low-rise jeans BEFORE kids. Things change.
Needless to say I don’t do as much reading as I would like after having kids.
My Amazon account shows plenty of good intentions/book purchases with high hopes of getting back into my ambitious reading habit. The reality is it’s taken three months to read half of two books.
I planned on reviving my reading habit during the hours after the kids’ bedtime, but lately my 10yr. daughter has turned into a night owl, which means random life questions arise at 10pm (technically that’s mom’s time).
Since my daughter is a pre-teen I don’t want to turn her away when she needs to talk, but why can’t the important questions come at a decent hour?
Now you know my reading conundrum!
However, I really made the effort this week to read more and as a result I finished one of my books, “Meditation For Fidgety Skeptics” by Dan Harris. The author is a successful Type A journalist for what seems like every news station. He has a no-nonsense approach to meditation, which I can completely appreciate. Neither him nor I are into the “woo-woo stuff”. Just good ol’ fashioned stress relief and everyday enlightenment please!
One of the meditations in the book is called, “Welcome to The Party”. The author struggles with his inner self-critic. I would venture to say all perfectionists or successful people do; always trying to please the critic in their head. Never quite measuring up. Try more. Struggle more. And even great isn’t good enough. That nasty bastard won’t leave you alone!
Meditation helps tame the inner critic. You don’t have to fight it.
Not only do people become troubled by their negative thoughts or the negative voice in their head, but they make it worse by feeling bad (shame, guilt, frustration) and they struggle some more to diligently stop thinking those thoughts.
Instead, you can welcome those formerly unwanted thoughts as guests.
Welcome to the party!
I used this meditation twice this week and LOVE it!
It was actually fun, because I have a snarky, borderline sarcastic, sense of humor anyway. I’m not going to lie, it was downright satisfying to hear the negative voice in my head or anxious thoughts, and simply say to them, “Welcome to the party” (insert cheesy grin). It was like waving and smiling profusely at a pissed off driver. The best kind of revenge!
How to do this meditation:
> Find your comfy spot or heck even at your desk at work if you can zone out there! Close your eyes (or let your eyes glaze over the computer screen).
>Choose an “anchor”. In meditation, an anchor is attention to one thing like the in and out of your breath or the sensations in your fingers or your belly, even the sound of a fan in the room. When your thoughts wander, bring yourself back to breath, fingers, or fan.
> As thoughts come up (totally natural) just let them come. Keep coming. Back to your anchor. If you notice any of those thoughts are the type you would normally feel bad about or try to push down. Don’t. Mentally say to yourself (and those thoughts) in a jolly-good-natured way, “Welcome to the party”. You are a generous party host! Use this line as a mantra for meditation. And back to your anchor each time.
>Keep going for 5-10 minutes.
Hint: Leave your biases behind too. Every thought is welcome, including your most neurotic judgments and unholy feelings! “So happy to see you. Welcome to the party!”
The idea of meditation, as outlined by the author, is to become less uptight, less anxious (“less of a jerk”, in his words). I’ve always said meditation is the best way to put up with yourself.
The “Welcome to The Party” meditation in particular can really have a powerful effect on the relationship you have with your thoughts, especially the pesky ones! There is no traction for the negative thoughts when they come. You welcomed them. What else can they do? Maybe get drunk at your party and make a fool of themselves? Whatever…
Have fun with this meditation!
Peace and Be Well,
>>>On Thursdays I make note of my personal thoughts and experiences with meditation for the week. My hope is that it gives you a firsthand look at how meditation can be applied to your daily life.<<<