Today was one of those days This has been one of those WEEKS where it just felt like the world kept piling on. The difficult encounters, challenging assignments, things to do and the incredible heat that pressed down on me all week was beginning to bubble out of my ears and spew from my mouth as hurtful, negative babble. As it often does.
I came home from work exhausted. Partially from keeping long hours, and partially from walking home though the heat (which a friend described as “living inside someone else’s mouth”). I grabbed my mail on the way in, happy to find my monthly Elle and Vogue, and headed upstairs to the semi-relief of my window unit ac.
After pacing back and forth for a while trying to decide which of the seemingly important tasks I should tackle first (packing, unfinished work, emails, packing), I finally cleared the half packed boxes and strewn clothes from my bed and crashed with my magazines.
Now, I may have been ripe for the intrigue, but I found myself fascinated by two articles.
The first (Hey- Wanna live forever? by Joseph Hooper, ELLE August 2011) described the discovery of, and current research on the enzyme telomerase. Shout out to UC Berkeley where the researchers who identified the role of the telomerase enzyme hale (and my home turf).
The job of telomerase (from what I understand), is to protect the chromosomes in our cells from damage. Particularly our reproductive cells. It was not the possibilities of harnessing the enzyme for a magic anti-aging elixir that grabbed me, but the statement that “A fast growing body of studies tells us that shorter-than-average telomeres are associated with a far greater risk of dying from heart disease or cancer”. The article also seems to suggest that, like with many other aspects of health, there are lifestyle factors that effect your telomeres length. This reminded me of what I’ve learned about the effect of high levels of stress on health and wellness, i.e. bad for you.
The second article (Soul Provider, by Rachel Rosenbilt, ELLE) was about a young New Yorker named Gabrielle Bernstein who is gaining a following for her “post modern spiritual” coaching. While I was drawn to some of the messages expressed in the article, and a few quotes from miss Gabrielle, I wasn’t sold on her as my personal role model.
What I did really like about the article, is that it reminded me of what I’ve been planning to do since I left California for grad school 2 years ago, to learn and adopt the practice of mindfulness meditation.
OK, so at this point it may be obvious to you how these two articles are connected. The ELLE editors likely devised it this way intentionally when planning the issue. But, for me they couldn’t have come at a better time.
My mother said (probably many times in my life) that when the world wants you to see something it will keep introducing it to you until it gets your attention. Well, I guess I’m ready to start paying attention.
I am a serious worry wort. I don’t just mean about realistic stuff (I didn’t get the nickname Worst-Case-Scenario-Sarah for no reason). I’ve been concerned for some time about the effect that my continuous hyper-concern, exhaustion, and self-imposed pressure is having on my health and longevity. I even started trying to take action at one point to battle my anxiety (which sometime bubbles into venomous internal rages at people who stress me out). After one all day retreat at Spirit Rock in Marin County, CA, I fully intended to take what I had learned about mindfulness meditation and mold myself into a centered, organized, unbreakable powerhouse of zen… and two years later I’m ready to take this challenge on.
I’ve thought about trying to ease meditation into my life… but as a worry-prone planner, I think it’s best I try this in an organized way.
So, what’s the plan?
I am going to find three guided meditation videos on YouTube. One for morning, one to do during my workday, and one for in the evening. I figure by planning guided mediation breaks into my day this might actually catch on.
Video 1, Morning Yoga Meditation with Elena Brower – YogaEarth
Video 2, Mid-Day : 10 Minute Guided Body Scan (uploaded by MeditationCoach)
Video 3, Evening: Guided Meditation – Breathing Meditation (uploaded by OnlineMeditation)
I’m going to start this tomorrow morning and will do my best to keep it up for a month. I’ll check back later with updates. Best of luck to me (and any future reader I might acquire who decide to try this too)!