Am I balanced?

So you've mastered standing on one leg during a rigorous, crowded yoga class. Perhaps withhold your carb intake to two days a week. Follow each properly chosen detox with an oddly craved retox, then repeat the cycle.  

Between demanding work loads, never ending grocery lists, too smart for our own good 'smart phones', stressful commutes, and unpaid bills - how do we practice balance? Yes, my friends, practice.   

Can we give ourselves a break already?  

We treat our feet to the shoes they live to hate, give our muscles those agonizing deep tissue massages, and savor that second tablespoon of Nutella when our indulgence calls. Do we ever stop to think about what our mind might be craving? What our heart yearns for? What our soul cries for?

A wise man once said the challenge of our life experience is to master the mind. It is both our challenge and purpose to use the mind to find balance in our body, mind and soul together. It's time to make our minds work for us, rather than against us!

As ironic as it sounds, we do this by being quiet. Powering down for a small period of time. From my experience, people typically tend to be either scared or bored by the word Meditation. Let me go ahead and clear up the misconception that meditation aims to clear the mind of thought altogether. Sorry to bust any bubbles. This is actually impossible because the mind must focus on something. Rather meditation is really focused thought.  

"What could sitting alone in a quiet room, when I have a hundred things to get done, possibly accomplish for me," might be an initial reaction. Or maybe "I don't have time," keeps popping up. If this is you, have no fear.  Here's a sneak peak at the benefits of spending a little quiet time with yourself:  anti-aging; increased production of free radicals (those little guys fight disease and cancer cells); improved memory and concentration; stronger intuition; enhanced creativity; inner peace. Any of those sound good?

Dive in.

Find a quiet, comfy place at home - a favorite chair, a rug by a warming window, or even the edge of your bed.  

Set an alarm for 15 minutes from now. You will be most wakeful and alert if your posture is upright and tall.  

Rest your hands on your knees or lap. Close the eyes and soften the space between the brow.   

Take a few full, complete, deep breaths. Try not to force your attention. Rather, take in the experience and relax.

Then notice where your thoughts go. These distractions are totally natural. No need to judge these thoughts or turn them into the enemy. Instead, say to yourself "this is a thought",  just pause, listen to sounds you might hear, then guide your presence back to your breath, relax again.  

Repeat as often as needed.

The most exciting part - you can't fail. There are no wrong answers. As with any practice in life, repetition is key. Try starting this practice towards balance once a week. If you miss a week, don't beat yourself up. There's no one keeping score or record. The more you practice, the more you'll want to come to (or escape to) this special place. Trust me.

Its like drinking a green juice - your body will be happy no matter when or how often. Happy meditating!  (aka: being quiet.)