I’m taking a Journaling class at The Writing Salon. There’s about 12 students, all women. Frequently, we’ll be given a prompt and asked to write about it. We wrote one on childhood injury or illness. As we went around the room and shared our writing, I thought it would make for a really good This American Life story. I can almost hear Ira Glass’s narration. “In this week’s story, childhood injury or illness. In 12 acts.” Anyway, here’s my story.
I only know that I was severely burned as a young child from the scar on my leg. It goes from my left ankle to my knee. I also know the injury took place because of my mom’s story. I know the story in every detail but I’m almost certain it’s not part of my conscious memory.
I like to pretend the scar doesn’t exist. As though if I can no longer see the scar, others won’t either.
I can only remember three instances where I had to face this scar as an adult.
1. Telling my husband how I got the scar
2. Seeing it in our engagement photo
3. Kimmie asking me
When Kimmie asked “what happened to your leg,” it caught me off guard. You can see my scar…
I didn’t truncate my story (as I normally do). I told the story as it was retold to me. The bursting radiator, the endless doctor visits, my mom asking the doctor “can you use my skin for the skin graft?”
What I don’t remember is the pain. The burn no longer hurts. It’s just a scar. And I remember Kimmie’s response - we all have scars. Wear it with pride.
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Meditation is good for the brain. I think about meditation as exercise for the brain. It’s also a time where I can tune in and pay attention to what’s going on inside my body, my heart, and my soul.
If you’ve wanted to try meditation, here are some tips and suggestions.
How to Meditate
- Sit on a chair or a cushion. If sitting is uncomfortable, you can take any position that feels good.
- Start breathing.
- As you’re breathing in and out, pay attention to the sensation of the breath. You may notice the sensation inside your nostrils, in your chest, or in your stomach.
- When you notice you’ve mind has wandered off, bring your attention back to the breath.
There’s no need to try to clear your brain of thoughts. When your mind wonders off, simply notice and bring your attention back to the breath.
Most mornings, I use an audio recording for a guided meditation. I really like the Mindfulness app, which allows you to choose the length of the meditation from 3 to 30 minutes. There’s also the option of silent meditation with bells.
There’s No “Trying” in Meditation
Meditation is a tool for practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness means to “pay attention.” When you’re meditating, you’re observing the sensations that arise in your body, and your thoughts. In everyday life, we react to our thoughts. In meditation, we’re watching our thoughts like a movie. Simply observe your thoughts without reacting to it by coming back to the breath – over and over again.
Enjoy Taking Time For Yourself
I find meditation to be very relaxing. It’s like a mini spa vacation for the brain. When I’m feeling stressed out and feel like I can’t keep up with everything, I take a 3 minute breathing break.
Initially, finding even a few minutes a day feels impossible. You start the day with good intentions, to meditate and life quickly gets in the way. Don’t be hard on yourself. Just notice the resistance to meditating. What’s the internal dialogue? What does the resistance feel like?
There are so many benefits I get out of sitting everyday but the primary one is that I’m able to be kinder to myself. That feels pretty amazing.
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