By M the Writer
Help. I have a monkey inside my head.
No, really. As artfully described in detail on the Wait, But Why? Blog, procrastinator’s brains work differently - because we have an obsessive monkey inside our heads that hijacks all attempts at productivity and creativity. Give it free rein, and it will have me mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds, drooling like a lobotomy patient on my couch for weeks. Theories aside for how this squatter moved into my prime mental real estate (overnight alien abduction and laser surgery? Or perhaps I was born with it, and I made the grave mistake of eating too many pints of Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream?) it can be a real problem when it comes to me getting writing work done, not to mention maintaining a general status quo of sanity.
As any active or aspiring creative professional knows all too well, working requires a certain mental state of ‘feeling inspired’, on top of a commitment to sit the f*** down and do it. Often, that can feel like a tall order. I want to take a moment and share a tool that has been extremely helpful for me in this area - meditation. Meditation helps me master my monkey mind so I can show up and create, from a place of true inspiration. But first, a little history.
I grew up in my mom’s yoga studio passing out scented eye pillows and practicing Savasana, or corpse pose, where you lay down and rest with your eyes closed at the conclusion of the practice. This was always my favorite part. I loved it when, after a particularly hard practice, I’d lay down in Savasana and my brain would go dark - not sleep, but something different. It was a separation of mind and body for a few blissful minutes. After taking more than a decade-long hiatus during my teens and twenties where my day-to-day went something like coffee, work, bar, sleep, feel like crap, repeat… I came full circle and started a daily meditation practice in 2017 during a period of intense change in my life.
At first, I could only manage to sit quietly for about 5 minutes. It was uncomfortable facing my racing thoughts. But I stuck with it. After about 6 months of attempting meditation pretty much every morning, I found a routine that worked for me and began to see some results. Today I do silent meditation for about 30 minutes every morning. I also use it on the spot to help me get “in the zone” before starting a writing project for a client.
I’ve developed a sort of ritual around my meditation,
which goes something like this:
I light a candle or incense, and turn on my essential oil diffuser - I like using lavender or orange oil. (Bougie, I know.)
I set a timer, and put my phone on airplane mode, so no one can disturb me. I also make sure to shut and lock my door to prevent being interrupted. Privacy, and feeling safe is essential to be able to fully relax.
I lay down for meditation, and use a blackout eye mask so I have complete darkness. I use the MindFold, which my Reiki Practitioner turned me onto.
I take a few deep breaths and focus on relaxing my body part by part, starting with my head and working down to my feet. I lay on my back, feet and arms splayed out comfortably.
I set an intention for my meditation. It could be to simply relax, gain inspiration for a specific project I’m working on, or seek clarity around a problem or conflict that’s bothering me.
Finally, I start the meditation.
At first, I just let my mind go to town. What I’m going to eat for breakfast… if that cute guy is thinking about me… if I’m going to be able to pay my rent this month… if North Korea is going to nuke us...
Some days, I’ll just lay there and watch my thoughts. Other days, I’ll try to focus back on my intention. Visualizing a beautiful place, real or imagined and placing yourself there can be cool too. There really isn’t a wrong way, in my opinion. I will admit that I'm not a big fan of guided meditations. In my experience, they don’t help you face your monkey mind head-on. If you really want to get relief from your obsessive thoughts, I feel like silent meditation is the best option, which is why it’s the most difficult.
Another tactic that helps me go deeper in meditation and get free of my thoughts is to focus on another energic center of my body - the heart. Tuning into the energy centers of my body, something I’ve become more aware of since getting regular Reiki sessions since early 2018, has helped me take my meditation to the next level.
For me, meditation is part of my personal spiritual practice. I’m not religious, but meditation is a way for me to recharge and connect to something greater than myself. This is coming from a former rabid, basement punk show hopping atheist, by the way. It may sound like crazy talk, but on days when I have a really great meditation, I feel this incredible, euphoric sensation of energy flowing through my body. Sometimes I’ll get an intuitive message or flash of inspiration that pops into my head. Some of my most creative writing ideas have come through this way. I don't fully understand it, and I don’t need to.
I’m stoked I found my way back to meditation. I don't always get to that euphoric state, but the days I make time for meditation, its me, not the monkey that has the upper hand.
Do you meditate, or want to start? Do you think I’m bat-shit crazy? Either way, I’d really love to hear your perspective. Drop me a line at email@example.com
M the Writer
Is a content writer based in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. She uses the power of words to help entrepreneurs reach their dream clients by telling their story in a creative way. She offers content writing for websites, landing pages, blog posts, as well as editing and proofreading services. She loves working with people in Hawaii and around the world. Need help telling your story? Feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.