My First Meditation Experience

med1st

I am someone who has trouble sitting still for long periods of time, am easily distracted and amused, and worst of all I come down with a terrible case of the giggles at the most inappropriate times. Seeing as I had been feeling anxious and antsy all week so I figured I had nothing to lose.

This isn’t my first attempt at meditation, but it is my first meditation class/session. This was the first time I managed to sit still and remain in a peaceful and clear state of mind for more than 2 minutes without a guided meditation (either that or I think I fell asleep for a bit).

Before the class

I had some questions had before going into the class and figured I couldn’t be the only one wondering so here they are + the answers!

Do you have to be buddhist/religious?
Nope. There are mentions of teachings based on certain teachers but in the end there is no need or pressure for you to be religious.

What happens in a meditation session?
Not every meditation session is the same but they involve at least some of these parts: guided meditation, walking meditation, silent meditation, a break, stretching/movement based meditation, and readings/discussion.

What to wear to a meditation class?
Anything you would feel comfortable sitting/walking in for 30 – 60 minutes. Most people come in athletic wear (leggings, basketball shorts etc.) and loose casual wear.

What happens if I want to leave?
No one cares as long as you are quiet. I waited for a designated break time to leave, but if you were to leave quietly during the meditation no one would do or say anything. After all, everyone’s focused on themselves.

What if I’m running late?
There were people in my session who came in late, but they were so quiet I barely noticed, but I did see that it interrupted some of the other people’s focus (yes my mind wandered haha). This might not be the norm for all classes so I would give the organizers a quick ring to double-check just in case!

My tummy gets grumbly and my joints crack, how embarrassing! Should I still go?
Yes! Gurgly tummies and joints that crack are actually pretty normal so other people also had grumbly tummies and cracking joints. I was probably one of the very few who noticed. No one else cared.

I don’t really know how to meditate. Does it matter? What should I focus on?
Make sure the meditation class is right for you! I went to one where no experience was necessary!

Focus on:
1. your breathing – count each in-out cycle of your breath as 1, up to 10 or 15 and then repeat. It doesn’t matter if you lose count, just keep doing it.
2. feeling grounded – feel connected to the earth and aware of you.

How did I do?

I made it through a 20 minute guided meditation, 15 minute walking meditation, and a 20 minute silent sitting meditation. 🙌🏼 Woo! Then I got really hungry and wanted to leave.

The guided meditation was simple enough, but the only issue was that I had a tiny case of the nervous giggles. I just focused on my breathing and listened to the guided meditation.

The walking meditation was surprisingly the hardest for me. I took a step for each in-breath and each out-breath. It was excruciatingly slow. There was no cutsies/sneaky overtaking in this walk. We walked in single file around a medium-sized room. I made exactly 1 lap of the room. 1 lap in 15 whole minutes. 

During the silent sitting meditation I found that my mind wandered like crazy. I basically had a good mental chat with myself and thought about all sorts of stuff like my grocery list, to-do list, and what to have for dinner and dessert (it was actually really interesting). Luckily, this is supposed to be normal – it’s all part of the process. Once I got into the groove of counting my breathing everything got really calm, my anxiety and jitters melted away. The 20 minutes went by the fastest surprisingly.

After

I left during the break and before I left I contributed some money for the class. It’s totally optional so no pressure. I found that the session helped a lot and I appreciated the time, effort, and knowledge the organizers and meditation leader gave.

I definitely would say to give meditation a go! Start at home for 5 minutes with no distractions and just focus on breathing.

*** I feel it’s important to note that meditation isn’t a magical quick cure-all. It can play a wonderful part in your search for physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual clarity/awareness, however meditation alone won’t rid you of suffering (self-inflicted or not). If you feel that you are struggling and need help, please talk to someone who is qualified to give you all the help you need and deserve. This does not mean ‘don’t practice meditation’, but just make sure you don’t dismiss your feelings.

Have you tried meditation? Would you? Let me know!

June Goals

june goals

You’re probably thinking that it’s a bit late for me to post my June goals on the 10th of June, but I’m going to do it anyway haha. It’s pretty much been a full year since I last posted here and I feel like so much has happened, and so much as changed! I really can’t wait to update you all. I have a few travel posts planned from places I’ve visited in the past couple of months and some other fun stuff thrown in there, so be excited!

About my goals this month: I’ve been travelling for a while and I feel like now is the perfect time to get my home life sorted. This means getting rid of things I’ve ‘collected’ over the years (I think I would make some hoarders proud), making my place feel like my home, and getting a routine down. Basically, I want a clean house, lots of good sleep, and delicious food – at least until the next time I’m off again.

Before I end up rambling anymore, here are my goals:

  1. Get a proper sleep schedule going
    – I’ve also banned the laptop from my bed, next to go will probably be the phone…
     
  2. Go for a walk/jog/run at least 2 times a week
  3. Get my space life organized
    – Take down blinds
    – Paint walls white
    – Fix my dinosaur magnets
    – Go through clothes to donate
    – Get a cleaning schedule/system down
  4. Shop at a farmers market and Chinatown (Cheaper and fresher produce!)
  5. Try a new recipe (and possibly blog it?)
  6. Buy someone flowers
  7. Learn to capture everyday on film + enjoy being filmed (snapchat I’m looking at you!)

I think I’m going to make these monthly goals a thing. Then I can visit them the next month and see how I’m doing. It’s like a long-ish short term goal list! Plus putting it out into the world publicly will hold me accountable haha!

I’d love to know what your goals are, so let me know! 

By the time you read this …

Hello!

By the time you read this, I will sitting my final exam or I will have finished all my exams. I originally had planned to post something else today, but I decided this new post reflected where I was with life more accurately.

So. Close…. Yet. So. Far.

I hope everything is going well for you and that you got a good giggle from the video. Have a beautiful day!

How I Study: My “Study Routine”

studyroutine The dreaded exam week/month has arrived. I’ve been finding it hard to sit down and study (the sun is finally out!) so I thought instead of curling up in a patch of sunlight on my floor, it would be interesting to examine how I study.

You’ll notice that I like to make a big deal out of studying. That way I’ll feel like I accomplished something big at the end of the session. Also, I feel that it helps me be less anxious when I have a routine.

Here are the key parts of how I study:

  1. Pre-study. I shake the lazy out of me.
    1. Physical warm-up – Get out of bed.
    2. Wake myself up – Wash my face / a motivational ‘meditation / food.
    3. Voice warm-up – Whine “I don’t want to study” in the language of dinosaurs.
    4. Settle down – Get everything I need (snacks, drinks, study stuff etc.), make my list of goals for that study session and a general timeline guideline.
  2. Rewards System. I always joke that I’m like a pet when I study. I really (really really) need the motivation to study so I’ll give myself treats such as:
    1. Finish reading 1 Chapter = Blueberries/Raspberries
    2. Write-up notes for 1 Chapter = Piece of Chocolate
    3. Study for 2 hours = Dance break!
    4. Finish 1 subject = 1 YouTube video
  3. Actually Studying. 
    1. How I do it.
      1. I skim the material making note of important parts in pencil, then read through it again highlighting the important bits (this means that I don’t end up with an entire page highlighted).
      2. Type them all out and then print it.
      3. Go through the pages with different coloured highlighters for each “thing” (blue = definitions, yellow = key words, orange = examples etc.)
      4. Read through the pages out loud making sense of it all. I try to relate all the points to each other and section them under specific headings.
      5. Memorize it. Sometimes I’ll copy out sections in a notebook, but I mainly talk through all the points out loud and test myself over and over again. My neighbours probably think I’m bonkers.
    2. The Zone.
      I usually try to get ‘in the zone’. There’s that certain place my mind gets to where I’m really efficient. You know what I’m talking about? This doesn’t always work, so I then move onto step 4.
  4. Be Flexible. I’m not good at following a set, locked-in routine so it’s really important for me to know what will work for me at that time and then adapt.
    1. Study-wise – I’ll know that there will be days where taking breaks will distract me, or I’ll just not be into reading 30 research papers but I’ll be willing to write a 5 out of 10 pages of my essay.
    2. Schedule-wise – Some days, I’ll know that after 3 hours of studying I’m done, and on other days I know I can do more. Studying past the point where I am efficient and productive is just a waste of my time. Of course, self-discipline is really important and deadlines usually (always) trump my wants.
  5. Celebrate and Relax. A successful study session should always be celebrated! By actually acknowledging that I had a good study session, I’ll be proud of myself and (hopefully) trick myself into believing ‘that wasn’t so bad!’ so that the next time I study, it won’t feel like such a chore. Time for movies, TV shows, or maybe a bubble bath!

Hopefully reading about how I study didn’t bore you too much seeing as I don’t really have any groundbreaking tricks. If you’ve got anything you do in particular or have any tips be sure to let me know! I’m always excited to try new things.

I hope that life/work is treating you well and have a lovely week!

My Winter Must-Haves: 2015

Hello!I thought I’d put together a list of things I loved this winter. I’ve covered beauty(?) must-haves because my skin is really affected by the weather, and the hundreds of choices out there for each type of product really scared and confused me. skinEucerin: Dry Skin, Intensive Lip Balm This was magic. I had the worst chapped + split lips at the beginning of winter so I finally caved for a not-so-cute medicinal sounding lip product. I put it on continuously for a whole day and once overnight and the next day my lips were pretty much back to their old self. This is now my go to product for chapped/dry lips. I have noticed that after the product is gone my lips do feel a bit dry, but it does the healing part of the process really well. Deodorant: I don’t really have a good suggestion for this one yet. It gets cold here (-20 to -30 regularly in winter) so I get really sweaty (eh?) because I’m wearing so many layers and running to get out of the cold. Plus its always really warm inside. It drives me crazy. I haven’t found a brand that I love yet, so I’m still on the hunt. Let me know if you have any suggestions!

Clearasil(R) DailyClear(R) Acne Treatment Cream. I don’t often get pimples but when I do, they are stubborn. You know those pimples that begin to surface but then decided to take a break so you end up with just a huge red throbbing spot on your face for a week (or longer)? I get them, and this has been helping me get rid of those lurkers.

Bodyshop Pink Grapefruit Body Butter I wanted something a bit more refreshing, less sweet, and didn’t make me need to break out a chocolate bar. This was the one.

Revlon – Colorburst Lip Butter: Cherry Tart #070. I like having a bright lip in winter for a nice pop, and I feel like you can’t go wrong with red. I’m still looking for a dark lip colour that doesn’t intimidate me. I’m not in love with the other colour so I didn’t have much to write about it, but it’s always nice to have a lighter shade too. See this post for my thoughts about the Cherry Tart lip butter!

First Aid Beauty: Ultra Repair Cream – Intense Hydration This was my first really dry winter and I was noticing patches of dry skin. The Sephora magicians suggested this and I ended up loving it. It’s a bit thicker than I would like, but once it’s on it does good. I use this mainly on my face but sometimes my hands, elbows and knees. My skin is all good now. As soft as a peach. Less fuzzy. I hope.

TonyMoly Hand Cream – Tangerine My cousin gave this to me a few months ago in a cute gift set of 4 fruit scented lotions. This smells so good and comes in the cutest packaging (I am such a sucker for good packaging. Anyone else?). I just realized that this list pretty much works for all seasons, so I guess you can start adding things to your shopping list now! Hopefully something in this list will be handy for someone reading this. I know I’ll be revisiting this list next winter 🙂

P.S. If you have really cold hands or get really cold, hot packs are nice. I usually get the Asian brand ones just because I’ve using them since I was a baby. If you’re interested, look up “hand warmers” (they’re pretty much the same thing) on amazon. They have all sorts of hot packs now such as reusable ones and sticky ones that you can stick onto your clothes (inner layers) to keep you warm!