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Japanese Tea Garden in San Fran

Earlier this summer I took a vacation to California with my friend Kat. We had such an amazing, stress free, fun time driving from San Diego to San Francisco! Halfway through the trip I noticed my Crohns wasn’t giving me any problems. It was wonderful! After I got home and added the normal daily stress back into my life, my stomach started acting up again. In the past I had assumed stress was a trigger for me, but this made me 100% positive.

During my last month of graduate school I remember sitting on the couch, working on my final project and feeling my stress level walk up steps in my body. I knew right away that I had let stress win over my body and that it wasn’t going to be a pretty sight. Sure enough that night the blood in my stool had returned with a vengeance, as did my frequent bathroom runs. I knew I did it all to myself because I wasn’t able to control my stress level. I was talking to someone about these experiences and they suggested I try meditation to help me manage my stress levels.

Granted right now I have basically zero stress in my life but that doesn’t mean it won’t be helpful to start practicing. I’ve been reading a book called Mindfulness in Plain English and it stresses over and over again that meditating takes forever to master. A sign from the meditating gods invaded Facebook yesterday and lead me to my friend Alicia’s post that said she had signed up for a 21 Day Meditating Challenge from the Chopra Center. (Everyone should totally check out Alicia’s blog, Butterfly Wellness Coach, for amazing tips on eating healthy, living healthy and general health knowledge that we should all know and incorporate into our lives. It’s a great read, I promise!) It seemed perfect for me, so I signed up too! It’s all guided recordings that I can listen to anytime during the day in my own apartment. How perfect for a newbie like me!

Today was the first of the 21 days and went something like this for me… Ok I think I’m shutting off my mind. Yup I’m doing it. Focusing on my breathing. Hmm what am I going to have for dinner. Crap, no focus on your breathing. Focusing, focusing, focusing. I wonder if the guy in this recording is going to talk again. Oh my goodness I hope he talks again. Maybe I’ll just sneak a peak to see how much longer this is going on for. No, no, no I can’t do that. Resist the urge. Please resist the urge. Focus on your breathing. Focusing, focusing, focusing. Oh he’s talking! I think that means it’s over!

So, errr, my first attempt didn’t go exactly as I had imagined. But at least I didn’t open my eyes! It’s only 15 minutes a day. I mean really, I can do anything for 15 minutes a day, right? I’m actually pretty excited to see how this whole challenge goes. I’ll be sure to keep you in the loop!

Here’s a few pictures from my Cali trip 🙂

Hiking to the Ocean View in Muir Woods

Muir Woods

Golden Gate Bridge

1,000 Steps Beach

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