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500 Minutes

2019 February 5

Every day in my meditation, there is a step towards the end where you are prompted to let your mind be free. After several minutes of following along with the guided voice, of counting your breaths and doing your body scan and working diligently to train your mind into a meditative state…it is given a moment of respite. A chance to be wild. Untethered. Completely unfocused. You are prompted to simply let your mind do what it wants to do. If it wants to think, let it think. If it wants to wander, let it wander. If it wants to dream, let it dream. 

I have meditated more than 500 minutes now. A goal I am very proud of. A tiny step in what is sure to be a long journey ahead for me because I love the way it has impacted my life, even this early on. And in each one of those sessions (at 10 minutes each, we’re looking at 50 or so) – every single time- when I reach the part in the exercise when my mind is left to its own devices…it does nothing at all. It’s the one point in the meditation, day after day, when it actually settles effortlessly into what I imagine meditation is all about. Complete calm, total clarity, stillness. When it is finally given permission to break out of its box and go a little crazy and be totally free…it does what it really wants to do. And it zeroes in on quiet. 

It astonishes me every time. I prompt it a little at first – go on, go ahead. Keep thinking about those to-dos that were beating their way in while you were counting your breaths. Worry about that thing that kept nudging you while you did your silent body scan. Let that inner voice whisper into your ear a little louder, you can listen now. But it won’t. It’s like it gives me a little smile and it goes into its happy, quiet place and it settles quietly. And stays there. 

I am at a crossroads in my life. I am 40. I have followed the guided journey thus far in life. Went to school, started career, married with kids, bought house, got dog. Check, check, check. And now it is becoming more and more apparent to me – through the conversations I am having and the books I am reading and the things I am gravitating towards – that my life and my heart and my mind want to be untethered a little bit. To be interested in new things, new opportunities, new ideas. To fall out of line. To define a new line. To look beyond the guided life plan and see what pops up, randomly, when you break out of the box and zero in on absolutely nothing. Perhaps my mind will find some quiet there. In the place where you aren’t counting a thing. Where you aren’t ticking off any milestones. Where you aren’t taking guidance from anything or anyone but yourself. Perhaps that’s where the quiet and the calm and the stillness are really laying. Smiling back at you. And staying there.  

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