How many times has it happened that we go to pay for a small item, and find that we don't have that cash on hand we thought we did?
Similarly, when cooking, we go to look for that ingredient we just knew was in our pantry, but discovered we had used it up?
Calmness is like that. We are in a stressful situation and need to call on our higher selves to rise above an emotionally charged reaction. Or we really need to get some sleep, and our mind keeps reeling despite our best efforts to try to rest. What can we do to be calm when we need it most?
I could go on endlessly about neuroplasticity (our brain's ability to change,) or the benefits mindful practice has on our minds and bodies (have you read the research? Amazing!) but I will just simply say that our minds do what we teach them to do. How do we learn anything new? We practice! What spills out of an overturned basket? What we put in it!
What if we don't have access to 30 minutes of daily meditation? That's okay. What if I can't meditate without looking at the clock after 2 minutes? That's fine, too. What if it feels like I'm doing absolutely nothing worthwhile while being still and quiet? Yup, those thoughts will pop up for sure.
Perhaps we can begin with changing our mindset from "All or nothing" to "All or something." (Heard this, not sure of the source. Here's one: https://www.alifeinprogress.ca/all-or-something/.) We can begin the process with something. When we're waiting in line at the grocery, pay attention to the breath. At a stoplight, purposely focus on gratitude. If we can't walk for a half hour, walk mindfully for 5 minutes, or 10. The result will be not the basket being filled quickly and easily with big, giant grapefruit-sized amounts of calm, but many, small but still powerful blueberry sized nuggets of peace. The changes will be subtle, but the brain will begin to slowly choose the path we tell it to choose, and what we practice to choose.
It can happen. It will happen. If you've made it this far in this blog, guess what? It's already happening.