Meditation’s goal is to assist me in getting my mind to a place of clarity and calm. Not only do I try to focus on the pace of my breathing, I also use some inner visual techniques.
When my therapist first starting working with me she needed to get the root of some of the heavier issues that needed attention. The most effective way to do that was through meditating. In order to get me started, she asked me to visualize a place that gives me incredible pleasure and peace.
I immediately think of a sandy white beach in Florida in an area of Sarasota called Siesta Key.
My family has been vacationing off and on there for several years. My wife and I first went there a few years before our kids came along and we fell in love with the area. It is laid-back, not overly developed and has close proximity to all the amenities we look for, including great places to eat and shop.
In fact, I have such an affinity for Siesta Key, that one year, when we were leaving, I actually got emotional…mostly because I was coming back to a lot of challenging stuff that I knew would be difficult. Siesta Key is my place to escape.
I am especially looking forward to the trip this year because I hope to not only keep up my yoga practice, but also to be able to meditate on the beach.
Why do I love Siesta Key? Mostly because of the beach and the Gulf of Mexico. Crescent Beach is supposedly one of the nicest beaches in North America. Its consistency is that of flour and because the beach front is so deep, flat and without crushed shells, you can go for long walks on the water’s edge.
We usually stay within close proximity to the Public Beach. Because our sleeping arrangements are fairly tight in the place where we stay, I usually am either on the couch or the Lazy Boy (I kid you not! One year I was on the Lazy Boy for 12 nights in a row). My chiropractor is the first person I see when I return home!
I am one of the first ones to get up in the morning and I usually put a pot of coffee on and go for a walk either on the beach or the road that runs parallel to the beach to get my daily dose of exercise, to pick up the paper and to be on my own for a little while. Sometimes, my wife joins me and we walk to the nearby village and stop for coffee.
This year, I plan on crossing over to the public beach to find a quiet place where I can feel the cool sand between my toes and the expanse of the Gulf of Mexico before my eyes. I look forward to the smell of the beach and hearing the sounds of the gentle surf, panning from left to right and right to left, which will lull me into a peaceful and calm meditative state.
As I continue on my journey searching for a career path that better reflects who I am as a person and dealing with ongoing financial pressures of big city living, I am optimistic and encouraged by the possibilities that meditation will provide me.
Being fortunate enough to spend ten to twelve days of beach time will allow me to go back home revitalized and rejuvenated, complete with fresh visual imagery that I can draw from for the other 50 weeks of the year until we are hopefully able to return to my own little paradise next year.
When life is stressful, what do you do to gain some sense of calm? Where is your own “special” place? Can you visualize it?