Something magical happens when I’m making jewelry or doing any kind of crafty activity, really that shuts down chatter, and slows my heart rate and breathing, and narrows my focus to the here-and-now in a way that feels truly spiritual. It started with beading in my very early twenties after a nasty heartbreak, and has been a feeling I’ve retreated to whenever things got really bad or inspiration raised its whisper to a scream. It’s not something I’ve been super consistent with though, until recently when things hit another stressful skid. Finding my way back to it has been absolutely ambrosial and has changed my mental, physical, and spiritual health so much that I see the difference it’s made in a mirror. Hard lines are softer, my eyes are relaxed, I hold my neck and shoulders differently. It’s almost like I just got back from a spa vacation after a visit to a Zen monastery. There’s a reason for that.
I learned how to meditate over the course of a couple of years after a period of chronic illness. I’d had a form of drug resistant pneumonia in 2012 that hung on for six months and left multiple doctors baffled. I took leave from a very high stress job to recover and after I’d caught up on sleep and episodes of Supernatural, did I get hit with a case of cabin fever! I started re-reading my aromatherapy books and was sent down the rabbit hole of natural health resources until I started pulling up YouTube videos and using guided meditations to teach myself how to manage stress. I knew the tension and anxiety from my job had contributed in a big way to the illness I was experiencing, and slowly, with clean eating and other practical knowledge added to my arsenal, I got better. It was a pivotal moment for me, because it started me on a journey to become a Master and Teacher of Meditation a couple of years later. That feeling of peace and joy after a good session, though? I never could shake the total familiarity of it. I’d done this before, and not as déjà vu, but as a tangible experience. I’d been in “the zone” a handful of times and I’d either had a paintbrush in my hands or jewelry supplies strewn about while deep in a place of blissful creation. You see where I’m going with this. I’d been meditating for years, I just didn’t know it.
I had a conversation with my mentor and friend one night about what meditation is and we both listed examples of activities that looked nothing like navel gazing in quiet contemplation. We talked about washing dishes and getting lost in a piece of music as though they were sacred, because they are. I have a theory that people are afraid of meditation because they think it requires a steely focus and the ability to sit still for an hour, and some forms do, but if they knew they could get there by taking a nature hike, or cooking a gourmet meal, or by getting in “the zone” of any activity that turns them on in a creative or blissful way, then baby, they’d meditate all the damn time! I’m not about to ever knock traditional forms of meditation. I’m deeply in love with the practice in every form it holds, but if you don’t think you have it in you to quiet your mind in lotus pose, that doesn’t mean you can’t use this powerful tool to manage stress in your life. Maybe you just need to make some jewelry. <3
Wishing You Total Well-Being,
P.S. I want to hear about all the activities that feel meditative to you. What really puts you in a place of peace and beatitude? Leave me a comment and let’s discuss! You never know how your words may remind someone of a favorite pastime or treasured hobby that could set them on a path of ease and balance.