Someone told me recently that I need to meditate. Meditate? I barely have time, I thought, to fit in exercise, time for my kids, work, and commuting. When would I find the time to sit on the floor in a cross-legged position to ohmm? But those words have been in the back of my head for weeks now: I know, though, for my health and long-term sanity, that I need to find quiet time in my busy days: we've always said in Shape that relaxation time is key to de-stressing, getting a better night's sleep, and--in the long run--disease prevention. But in learning more about meditation (I bought an audio CD, Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn, which was helpful), I realized you don't have to be sitting on the floor chanting to be meditating; you can find quiet time in your day just to be in the moment--and that counts. So this week, instead of driving every morning to catch the train (often with minutes to spare!), I left the keys at home and walked 15 minutes to the train instead. And what a difference this made: I had time to drink in the grass, trees, flowers, people running or biking--and the fresh morning air. I got to the train much calmer...and I found my days have been a bit more balanced. Now, I call it my walking meditation. (See the picture of my morning path below.)
One daily change: Find time in your day just to breathe--without the phone ringing, computer inbox demanding your attention, or kids clamoring for you. This could be a brief mind-clearing walk around the block or just a quiet teatime in the morning before everyone wakes up.