What’s Your Anchor?

white and black anchor with chain at daytime

You should try it.

It’s powerful.

No way.

Not a chance.

There is no way I could sit and meditate.

I hate stopping. I’m not good at it.

My mind is the hamster running on a wheel at all hours of the day.

What’s the first thing on my calendar today? Is breakfast ready? Did someone prep snacks? Did that agenda get sent out? What time was the dog last out? I need to remember to order that birthday gift. Oh, and groceries need to be ordered tomorrow night so I can make that meal I planned. Should we have your mom up for dinner? When’s the last time the baby’s diaper was changed? I wanted to revisit our argument from last night… I need to send out that Zoom link. What was that article I wanted to lookup? Should I spin now or tonight?

On…and on…and on…

Seriously. I’d be the worst at meditating! My mind NEVER stops wondering.

Peloton. There are a million and one reasons to rave about it…but let’s not go there.

Aditi Shah: 5 min Basics on Mindfulness.

This session changed my perspective on meditation and continually helps me to navigate my off moments. In 5 minutes, I took away 4 characteristics of mindfulness meditation from Aditi.

  1. Mindfulness meditation comes from an old tradition, Vipassana. Vipassana is the ability to see things clearly by focusing on and learning more about our inner life.
  2. Mindfulness means purposefully paying attention in the present moment.
  3. The purpose of mindfulness meditation is to start noticing our thoughts, feelings, where we may be hiding pain, etc. without getting swept away by them.
  4. Two wings make up mindfulness. 1) Recognition (noticing). 2) Being non-judgmental (accepting). Typically, we notice or feel something and try to justify why we feel that way, create a story rationalizing the feelings, or even just “pretend” that feeling isn’t there.

I’m more aware of my anxious feelings. Anxiousness about heights, getting on airplanes, overnights without my kids, going into the grocery store, and so forth. I continually feel the need to justify these feelings, and more times than not, I say it’s my mom anxiety.

If you notice your mind wandering, it’s ok. You’re not going to get in trouble. Notice it, acknowledge it, and bring yourself back to the current moment. It’s normal for your mind to wander...

Phew. My mind was already wondering…thinking about how I was only 2 minutes into this session and that I was already off-task…

Be gentle with yourself. Notice where your mind went and begin again.

Aditi explains that in mindful meditation you have an anchor. It’s the focus of the session, what you come back to. This could be your breath, a part of your body, your emotions, or thoughts. Whatever you are focusing on, it’s what you come back to when you get distracted. When you get back to your anchor, take a minute and soak in the goodness you feel, and start again.

I would argue most of us have experienced new feelings in the past few months. Some good, some bad, and some we can’t quite articulate.

After listening to Aditi, I tried applying this skill to my daily routine. Starting with identifying my anchor. I spent a week trying to identify patterns in my behaviors. What do I come back to each time my mind wandered off somewhere other than where it needed to be? Where did I go when I was experiencing feelings of fear, or when I couldn’t seem to bring myself out of bed. My kids. Regardless, of what I was thinking, feeling, or experiencing when I gave myself permission “take 5 with my kids” everything felt alright in the world.

I noticed an attraction to their smiles, their hugs, their immediate asks of Mom, done working for the day? Off calls? They calmed me, amid a tantrum. Cooper and Josie ground me in my why, making sure what I do today provides a better tomorrow for them. They are my anchor.

I can’t help but think about the importance of mindfulness right now.

Rather than trying to avoid or bury our thoughts, feelings, and pain in the present moment, I think we should all try to recognize our feelings and emotions in a non-judgemental manner. Identify the thoughts and feelings then come back to your anchor and start again.

I received the following statement from a client this week: This probably isn’t surprising, but we are treading lightly with our very over-taxed staff.

This is a global trend. While educators want to focus and support everyone, we must encourage, and provide space, for personal mindfulness.

What’s your anchor? How are you providing yourself moments to make sure you are connected to it?

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