Insight Timer

Being mindful by meditating every single day with Insight Timer:

After the unexpected success and utter excitement around my Kindness Advent Calendar throughout December, I realised I needed to spend some quality time re-grounding myself. I have a tendency to live in my head, and really have to work hard to stay in a calm healing state rather than a stressed, or even excitable, state.

And meditation has become so crucial to this process.

I’d been trying to meditate for years and years, but was always quick to give up thinking I couldn’t do it because my monkey mind would just not settle and keep quiet. I thought meditation simply wasn’t for me.

monkey mind

I finally got into a regular meditation practice when I stayed in an ashram in India for a couple of months and have managed to keep up a regular practice ever since.

And then a year ago, I was introduced to the wonderful Insight Timer app which helps to inspire me to meditate every single day. My practice has grown stronger and stronger and I’m really feeling the benefit.

Insight Timer

Insight Timer is a really easy-to-use app, where you can choose from one of the thousands of guided meditations by one of the hundreds of meditation teachers from around the world – including Tara Brach, Eckhart Tolle, Mooji, davidji, Vidyamala Burch, Andrew Johnson, Elisha Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, Kristin Neff, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Sarah Blondin, Thich Nhat Hanh.…

Insight Timer Meditation Teachers

There are themed playlists – including Sleep, Sound Healing, Stress Reduction, Gratitude, Relax, Chanting+Mantras, Kids and Teens – so you can choose a meditation depending on what you need.

Insight Timer playlists

I tend to reach for a meditation depending on how I’m feeling and what I’m needing at that moment, whether it’s sleep, welcoming the morning, stress relief, present moment awareness, letting go, or a burst of positivity. There seems to be a guided meditation for most things really and lengths vary from one minute to over an hour.

Or you can also select the timer if you prefer to meditate in silence or with ambient background music. You can choose to have a beginning, interval and/or ending bells or gongs (I loooove the gong) if you wish.

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The app logs your meditations so you can keep track of what you’ve done and for how long you’ve meditated for.

It also connects you to the other 1.5 million meditators around the world, and if you wish you can become friends, or join a group. And one of my favourite features is seeing who’s been meditating at the same time. There’s something really comforting and quite powerful knowing you’re meditating with thousands of other lovely folk all over the world, even though I’m sitting by myself in my bedroom.

Insight Timer Fellow Meditators

And you can send even them a ‘thank you for meditating with me’ message.

I absolutely love this app and what makes it even more special is their mission: to achieve the equivalent of 10,000 years of meditation.

Insight Timer Mission

Meditating daily really does helps me stay grounded, be in the present moment, and have a calmer and more focused mind.

Of course, it’s not always or often easy. I’ve discovered that some days are harder than others in my quest to quieten my monkey mind, but the simple act of gently bringing my attention back to the present moment can make all the difference to my day and how I’m feeling.

Meditation has become an integral part of my healing tool kit and I honestly can’t imagine a day without it.

☆♡☆

If you’re interested in checking it out, visit: https://insighttimer.com/

My meditation buddy

Being mindful while I meditate with my 4 yr old nephew:

My heart is overflowing.

I’ve just meditated with my four year old nephew. The lovely adorable chatterbox he is, I honestly didn’t think he could sit still and be quiet for more than 30 seconds.

But he did.

And it was a heart melty moment.

We’d been on a soul stroll and had had fun fussing Molly – a neighbour’s friendly dog – and Thomas fed her biscuits.

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Then we blew on a dandelion (or two or three!) and wished for everyone to be happy.

Thomas makes a wish

It was then time to find Stick Man. We found him lying beside the brook and carefully ventured down the bank to put him back into the water so he could find his way home back to his family.

Thomas with Stick Man

Mission accomplished, we headed through the woodland area to listen to the birds – and we spotted a robin, Auntie Helen’s favourite. We looked at all the pretty flowers and really loved this stunning waterfall of blooms.

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When we got back home, Thomas asked if we could make a Banana Milkshake, which involves our special ‘Nana Milkshake song and dance. As I was exhausted I needed a lie down first, but Thomas insisted on coming upstairs with me saying he’d lay down with me.

And that’s when I had the idea to try a short, but fun meditation with him.

We sat on my bed legs crossed, with our hands on our knees – and Thomas gently entwined his fingers with mine. On the amazing Insight Timer app, I put on the gorgeous ‘Smiling Meditation’ by Andrew Johnson, who has the most deliciously deep voice and Scottish accent.

The meditation is 5 minutes long and is simply: breathe in, breathe out and smile.

I kept peeking at Thomas and he was doing it so beautifully, I just had to sneak a couple of photos and he caught me in the act!

heart melty smile

At the end of the meditation we are asked to “wiggle our fingers and toes” and Thomas did just that.

We finished with ‘namaste’ and a deeply felt hug.

My heart overflowing, I know I will cherish this precious moment for, as Thomas would say, “a long, long, long, long time”.

☆♡☆

Day 75: Meditating with Oprah and Deepak

Being grateful for Oprah and Deepak’s new 21 Day Meditation Experience:

Meditation has become a sacred part of my morning ritual: I begin each and every day with an Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra meditation, without fail!

I love love love their 21 Day Meditation Experiences, and highly recommend them to anyone interested in meditation. And I’m delighted a new one began earlier this month: Become What You Believe!

This 21 day journey is about:

“Together, we’ll take steps to tap into the power of belief – one of the most influential forces in life that leads you to the person you’re meant to be. You’ll learn how to:

  • discover your deepest beliefs and how they affect you
  • step into your highest potential by embracing your positive beliefs and dissolving the unconscious ones that are holding you back
  • connect to the innate power of your foundational beliefs to start directing the movement of your life.”

Oprah and Deepak share this beautiful gift with their growing worldwide community via a free online stream on their website or app, a few times a year.

Each guided meditation is around 20 minutes long and has a theme: for Day 11 it’s Living From Your Core. Oprah kicks off each day with a beautiful and inspiring introduction and Deepak follows by sharing more practical tips and wisdom.

Deepak then introduces the day’s centering thought: I cherish my true self in silence is today’s, and the sanskrit mantra Sampriya Hum, which means I am perfect contentment.

We are invited to silently repeat the mantra during the 10 minutes or so of unguided meditation time, accompanied by a gentle soundtrack.

BWYB Day 11

If you wish to go deeper, there’s an online journal with reflective questions, for example: “Take a moment to reflect on a time in meditation where you felt that love, self-worth, feeling secure, and feeling whole is possible, easy, and natural. Write down how this feels compared to your daily life outside of meditation.”

I’m deeply resonating with this experience. Our beliefs – conscious and unconscious – are constantly influencing our thoughts, feelings, and behaviour. And it’s encouraging me to be aware of, to think about, and to challenge my beliefs.

I find these meditations such a beautiful, gentle and enriching way to start the day. And what’s extra special about joining the online streams is connecting with over a million like-minded souls around the world.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being grateful for Oprah and Deepak’s new 21 Meditation Experience.

Day 18: Monkey mind

Being mindful of my meditation practice:

I don’t know about you, but I have a monkey mind and it drives me crazy.

Wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, it chatters to me non-stop.  Like a restless monkey jumping from branch to branch, my thoughts constantly swing from this to that, refusing to give me a moment’s peace.

I’ve been trying to tame this wayward creature for many, many years, and I’ve finally found something that is really helping.

Meditation.

The idea of meditation has always appealed to me, encouraged by countless stories of how this wonderful (and free!) tool has changed lives, and how it can help ease stress and anxiety.

I’ve tried it so many times, and have given up as my monkey mind triumphed every single time.

Until I spent a couple of months in a yoga ashram in India.

Meditation was an integral part of our daily routine. Initially I struggled and my monkey mind fought for all it’s worth. But I persisted and practiced every single day.

Then I had a lightbulb moment.

I realised it doesn’t matter if my monkey mind makes an appearance. In fact, I think you’d have to be a Buddhist Monk living in a cave for decades, NOT to have any thoughts enter your mind while meditating!

I discovered that the key is be aware of when it starts to chatter. To not get angry or frustrated or give up in defeat. To gently, kindly, and lovingly bring attention back to the breath.

Even if my monkey mind is quiet for just 30 seconds of a 10 minute meditation, I still feel the benefit.

It all counts, honest.

I wholeheartedly believe my daily practice is doing me the world of good. In general, I feel a lot calmer, more centred and grounded, and because of this, feel I am able to cope with the ups and downs of my condition a lot better.

Now that meditation has finally become part of my daily ritual, I find that if I skip my practice for a day or two I really miss it. I notice the difference in how I handle stress: i.e. not very well!

I try to vary my practice using guided meditation CDs, walking meditation, or by simply focusing on my breath.

Every Monday, I join a few Happier friends from around the world for a virtual group meditation session. There’s something really special about connecting with others through meditation, and it always feels more powerful in some way. I have a deep sense of gratitude for this experience and treasure our Monday Meditations.

With this in mind, my happy for today is being mindful of my meditation practice.