#MeditateInMay Meditation Challenge

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

May is National Meditation Month! As I’ve mentioned many times, having a meditation practice is one of the top ways I’m able to find my calm on a daily basis, which is why I’ve creating this challenge.

Every day, I’ll share a quick and simple meditative technique that will allow you to find your inner peace, calm, and harmony. To keep with the day’s practice, be sure to follow Black Mom’s Guide to Calm on Instagram and Facebook (I’ll send a weekly reminder via email as well). Here’s the official calendar:

Additionally, here are a few useful resources/tips for the challenge:

Meditation/breathing tips:

  • Do the exercises in a quiet, distraction-free space, if possible. Sit in a comfortable position with a straight spine.
  • When inhaling, breathe through your nose, filling your belly with air like a balloon. When exhaling, breathe through your nose or mouth, bringing your belly button back towards your spine.
  • To help you focus on meditating instead of the amount of time that’s passing, use a timer or an app like Calm.
  • If you find your mind wandering, bring your awareness back to your breath/the present moment.

Equal Breathing

  • Inhale deeply through your nose, allowing your belly to expand while counting to 5.
  • Exhale fully through your nose while counting to 5, allowing your navel to go back towards your spine.
  • To help keep each breath equal, count in your head. And if/when your mind wanders, bring your focus back to your breath/counting.
  • Repeat for 3 to 5 minutes.

 Alternate nostril breathing can:

  • Give you an energy boost.
  • Increase your focus and concentration.
  • Bring you calm and help you relax.

Here’s how to do it:

1. Make a gentle fist with your right hand. Extend your thumb and last two fingers, leaving space for your nose.

2. With your thumb, close off your right nostril, and exhale through your left. 3. Fully and deeply Inhale through your left nostril.

4. Close your left nostril with the last two fingers, and exhale fully through the right nostril.

5. Inhale through your right nostril. Close it off then exhale through the left.

6. Repeat steps 2-4 for one minute.

Visualization Meditation

  1. Find a quite, distraction-free space (if possible), and sit comfortably with a straight spine.
  2. Inhale fully and deeply, filling your belly with air. Exhale fully, allowing your belly button to go towards your spine.
  3. Continue breathing deeply, and imagine yourself in a beautiful location, like a beach, mountains, or garden. See yourself as calm and relaxed with everything as you want it.
  4. Focus on what you can see, hear, feel, touch (e.g., hear the waves of the ocean, feel the sun on your skin, etc.).
  5. Keep visualizing for a few minutes and/or until you feel more calm.
  6. When you’re ready, gently bring your awareness back to yourself and the present moment, then open your eyes.

Here are the links for the guided meditations (on the 15th, 19th, and 30th):

Guided Meditation to Get Grounded

Guided Meditation for Self-love and Self-worth

Everything is Working Out! Guided Meditation

 

This post will be updated frequently, so be sure to check back for more tips and resources!

#MeditatingInMarch: 4 Ways to Meditate On The Go

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

Welcome to week four of the #MeditatingInMarch series! This week’s focus is on how you can meditate pretty much anywhere you happen to be.

Of course, as you probably know, I’m a big fan of sitting in silence to meditate, but hey, maybe it’s not your thing. Or, maybe you’re curious other methods you can use while still getting the same benefits. And best of all, like I mentioned, you can do these practices basically anywhere:

1. Focus on your breathing.

Concentrate on the sensation of your inhalations and exhalations, and breathe slowly and deeply. When you breathe in, allow your belly to expand; when you breathe out, allow your belly button to go back towards your spine. Do this for a few minutes and/or take 5 – 10 deep breaths.

2. Do a body scan.

With this exercise, you start from the top of your head, and bring awareness to parts of your body/your muscles to release any tension you’re holding on to (which you probably don’t realize you’re doing). Unclench your jaw; relax the space between your eyebrows; bring your shoulders away from your ears, etc.

3. Ground yourself.

Here’s an exercise for when you feel anxious. Find:

5 things you can see.

4 things you can touch.

3 things you can hear.

2 things you can smell.

1 thing you can taste or 1 emotion you feel.

4. Practice mindfulness.

This means simply allowing yourself to focus on one thing — what you’re actually doing — and being completely present with it, whether it’s your work, cooking dinner, or having a conversation. Allow yourself to be wherever you are, concentrating fully on what you’re doing.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this series on meditation and that it’s helped you see how you can begin and/or become consistent with your own practice. Share your thoughts, or ask questions, by contacting me here.

 

#MeditatingInMarch: Start Your Home Practice

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

Welcome to week 3 of #MeditatingInMarch! This week’s focus is on starting your meditation practice at home:

1. Find/create space. Having a space that inspires you and/or makes you feel peaceful will likely motivate you to actually meditate. If you don’t have an entire room you can use (I don’t), no worries! Just use what you have and get creative. You can use a corner in your bedroom or put your items (like crystals, incense, candles, etc.) on your nightstand or table.

2. Make time. To become consistent with your practice and experience the amazing benefits of meditation, you must make time for it. Ways to do this: 

  • Write it in your planner.
  • Put a reminder in your phone.
  • Schedule it in your calendar.

3. Start small. If you’re just getting started with meditation, you don’t have to start with an hour, 30 minutes, nor even 15 minutes a day. Begin with 2 to 5 minutes, then work your way up to longer times as your practice continues.

4. Be gentle with yourself. If you remember nothing else, please remember this: Meditation is a practice. There will be days when your mind won’t stop wandering; there will be times when it feels like it’s not working. Just remember that the more you do it, the easier it becomes (most days). And the more you keep at it, the more often you reap the benefits.

Learn how the Create Your Calm Meditation Experience can help you begin your practice. Or, contact me to learn more about booking a 1-on-1 session!

#MeditatingInMarch: How to Meditate and Types to Try

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

This month, I’m doing a weekly series to help you get started with (or continue) your home meditation practice.

Welcome back to #MeditatingInMarch! This week we’re focusing on how to meditate and three types to try. One of the most common things I hear from people is they want to meditate (or at least attempt to), but they don’t actually know how to do it. If this is you, here are the very basics:

  1. Find a quiet, distraction-free place if possible. If you can’t, no worries; consider using headphones to drown out any noise.
  2. Sit comfortably with a straight spine. You can sit in traditional meditation style — each foot under the opposite knee, with your feet flat on the floor (if you’re in a chair or on the bed), kneel, or with your legs stretched out in front of you.
  3. Place your palms up or down on your thighs, or bring your palms together at your heart.
  4. Breathe fully, deeply, and slowly. When you inhale, fill your belly with air like a balloon. As you exhale, allow your belly button to go back towards your spine. Note that it takes practice to learn how to breathe properly, so be gentle with yourself and give yourself time.
  5. Release your thoughts. Something else people tell me regarding why they “can’t meditate” is that they can’t quiet their minds. Learning how to let go of your thoughts when meditating takes practice. And even when you’ve been meditating for years, you’ll still have to work at this. Again, be gentle with yourself.

3 Types of Meditation

Now that you know the basics of meditation, here are a few types you can try to see which you prefer:

1. Concentration.

With concentration meditation, you focus on a single point, like a word or mantra, a non-moving object (like a candle or figurine), or your inhalations and exhalations, counting to four when you inhale, then again when you exhale (for example). The idea is to focus the entire time, but you’ll likely find that your mind wanders. When this happens (and it will, no matter how much of a seasoned meditator you are), gently bring your awareness back to the chosen object of attention and let the thoughts go.

2. Mindfulness: 

Mindfulness meditation encourages you to observe your wandering thoughts as they drift through your mind. The intent is not to get involved with the thoughts nor judge them, but to simply be aware of them, and release then, letting them float on by without giving them too much of your energy or attention.

3. Affirmation: 

I’m not sure if this is the official name, but affirmation meditation is just as the name suggests: using affirmations while you meditate. You can find/choose affirmations for whatever you’re working towards in your life, like creating calm, joy, abundance, etc.

Here are a few tips for creating your own:

  • Begin with the words “I am,” and/or the present tense. Speak your desires/intentions as if they’re happening now.
  • If you’re having trouble believing what you’re saying, start your affirmation with, “I believe it’s possible to…” or “I give myself permission to…”
  • Make it positive. For example, instead of saying, “I don’t let people disturb my peace,” say, “I only allow positive, peaceful people around me.”

Enjoy these tips? Found this post valuable? Please share with your people who need it!

Also, if you need assistance in beginning and/or becoming consistent with your meditation practice, join the Create Your Calm Meditation Experience here.

#MeditatingInMarch: What Is Meditation?

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

This month, I’m doing a weekly series to help you get started with (or continue) your home meditation practice.

This first week, we’re focusing on what meditation is and why you need a meditation practice.

What Is Meditation?

According to YogaInternational.com, meditation is “a precise technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state.” It’s a way to understand the various levels of ourselves and ultimately experience the  consciousness within. And contrary to what you might have heard or believe, meditation is NOT a part of any particular religion nor does it have anything to do with witchcraft or “devil worship.” It actually has been scientifically proven to produce results.

Additionally, meditation can be a way to find your calm and a way to train your mind so you’re not constantly caught up in your thoughts.

It’s super important to remember that meditation is a practice. When you consistently meditate, you’ll really notice all the benefits that come with it, and your practice will become easier.

Why Should You Start (Or Continue) Your Practice?

Meditation:

  • Helps you create a more positive mindset and helps you control your thoughts.
  • Develops your intuition.
  • Decreases your tendency to worry and overthink.
  • Helps you keep things in perspective and focus on what really matters.
  • Brings your mind, body, and spirit in harmony.
  • Reduces stress.
  • Improves your concentration.
  • Helps you live in the moment.
  • Strengthens your immune system and can reduce chronic pain and cardiovascular issues.
  • Creates a sense of inner peace and calm.

“The more regularly and the more deeply you meditate, the sooner you will find yourself acting always from a center of peace.” – J. Donald Walters

Next week, we’ll be focusing on the types of meditations you can practice. If you want to make sure you don’t miss it, sign up for emails from Black Mom’s Guide to Calm (and get a free guided meditation!).

P.S. — If you want to begin now, get my two week meditation program here

How to Stay Motivated to Find Your Calm

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

I’m sure you’re well aware that the journey to being a more calm mama can be a challenging one. That’s why you’re here, right?

You want to know exactly how you can manage/lessen your stress, overcome your overwhelm, and find calm in your daily life.

I get it — with all you have going on, it can be hard to create calm. And feeling like you have the time to do so can be harder.

There are going to be times when you feel like you just can’t deal with the ups and downs of trying to stay in a peaceful space.

  • You’ll want to just lie on the couch, binging on Netflix, munching on chips and ice cream (which, by the way, won’t actually do anything to lessen your stress in the long run).
  • You’ll want to hit snooze and stay in bed that extra 10 minutes — even though you know that time is essential if you want get centered and grounded for a positive and peaceful day.

Yeah, the journey to staying calm most of the time will get challenging. So, how do you make sure you don’t give up?

What’s Motivating You?

It’s all about focusing on why you want to have more calm in the first place. And everyone has different reasons:

  • You want to improve your physical health (lower your blood pressure, for example).
  • You want to be more balanced and harmonized.
  • You want to feel better mentally and emotionally.
  • You want to feel less anxious and depressed.
  • You simply want to feel less stressed and overwhelmed (because that’s a sucky feeling to have ALL THE TIME).

Whatever your reasons, they have to be good and you have to keep them in mind.

So, the big question is: What’s your why for wanting to overcome your overwhelm and find your calm? What will finding calm do for your life?

Many times, we think just wanting the thing we want is good enough, but if our reasons aren’t compelling enough, it can be hard to keep the faith that we can actually do it.

Here’s a quick to-do for you: Grab a post-it note or sheet of paper and write this down:

I want to find my calm because ______.

Look at it whenever you feel too overwhelmed or tired to continue with your calm practices.

A few other ways to stay motivated when the process gets really challenging:

Know that you deserve it. As Black women (and moms in particular), we’ve been taught that we just have to “deal with it” when it comes to stress and that we have to put our wants, needs, and well-being on the backburner — if we even deal with them at all.

If/when you feel like taking time for yourself is frivolous and unnecessary, remind yourself that inner peace is something we all deserve, including — and especially — you.

Remember that you’re setting the example for your child(ren). Our children do what we do, not necessarily what we tell them to. So, if you want them (especially your girls) to practice self-care and be able to stay calm in the midst of life’s challenges, you have to model that for them.

Remember it can make your entire life better. How? Learning to find your calm and live from a space of peace allows you to worry less, relax more, hear your intuition so you can make the best decisions in your life, and create more positive energy.

Of course, I also have your back in this process.  Black Mom Calm Monthly was created to guide you in going from chaos to calm. Support is also a huge contributing factor in creating more balance and having more peace. If you want to stay focused, and keep moving to your goal of more calm together, subscribe here.

 

Guided Meditation for the New Year

2019 is here and well underway. And it's still a great time to get excited about the magic of what's to come and set (or remember) the amazing intentions for this year. 

In this guided meditation, you'll be able to do just that. 

My Theme for the New Year

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

One thing I’ve done for the new year for the past five years is come up with one word or theme to focus on. I don’t remember where I first heard about doing this (maybe Happy Black Woman?), but I really like the idea because it gives me something positive to focus on and is basically a goal or practice for the year.

With that said, My theme/word for 2019 is self-love.  This year, I meditated and slept on what my theme should be, and this is what ultimately came up. While I’ve been doing a lot of healing work the past year and a half or so, self-love is something that I’m still working on practicing, especially as it relates to my own inner dialogue.

If you’ve never done this before and want to create your own word/theme (or even phrase) for the new year, here are a couple of tips:

  1. Ask Spirit what your word should be. If nothing comes to you immediately, take a few minutes to meditate or sleep on it with the intention of it coming to you.
  2. Another option is to make a list of words that resonate with you and choose one. Maybe it’s something you know you need to work on, a goal you’ve had, or something you’ve been thinking about lately. You can also think about how you want your year to be and/or how you want to feel this year.

Some ideas for words/themes:

Abundance

Prosperity

Health

Thrive

Success

Peace

Focus

I got this.

Self-care

Move forward

Ways to use your word

  • Make a graphic for your lock screen or computer background.
  • Create affirmations around your word.
  • Write down what it means for you.
  • Make a vision board about it.

Have you come up with your theme for 2019 yet? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below.

Resource used: alwayswellwithin.com.

5 Ways to Find Calm During the Holidays

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

The holiday season is here, which can bring an added layer of stress and overwhelm to our already chaotic lives. Fortunately, there are things you can do and methods you can use to bring more joy (and peace) to your world:

1. Use calming practices daily.

Practicing yoga, meditation, or just taking a few deep breaths and saying some affirmations can go a long way when it comes to beating holiday stress (and stress in general, of course). Taking just 5 or 10 minutes in the morning and/or before you go to bed can work wonders.

2. Listen to your body and practice self-care.

If you feel yourself becoming more fatigued or feel like you’re about to get sick or burn out, listen to your body’s message and slow down or take a break. Even better: Take care of yourself before you even get to that point. Some suggestions:

  • Try to get seven to eight hours a sleep a night (or take a nap).
  • Try to eat well, and stay hydrated.
  • Schedule some downtime in your planner/calendar.
  • Spend some time by yourself.
  • Unplug from social media for 30 to 60 minutes (or a whole day!).
  • Put space between things. In other words, instead of rushing to the next task when you finish one, take a little breather. Then focus on what’s next.

3. Do your best.

Don’t allow people, consumerism, social media — or even yourself — make you feel like you have to buy your children dozens of presents or the latest gadgets to be a great parent. Also, don’t feel like you have to be the most creative Pinterest mom or like you need this grandiose, picture perfect Christmas morning.  Do what you’re able to do, and be at peace with that. I promise, everything will be amazing regardless!

4. Participate in fun family activities.

Since you’ll likely be spending more time with your children because they’ll be out of school, this is a great opportunity to not only have fun and spend some quality time with them, it’s also a chance for you to unwind a bit. You can:

  • Take a ride to look at the Christmas lights.
  • Watch some of the Christmas movies you loved as a kid.
  • Make ornaments or a gingerbread house.
  • Bake cookies or make hot chocolate.

5.  Be present, go with the flow, and be grateful.

No matter where you are or what you’re doing, do your best to be mindful and in the moment. Don’t let your to-do list keep you from enjoying whatever is happening. Also, choose to focus on the positives and all the moments and memories you’re creating.

How do you maintain calm and peace during the holiday season? Leave a comment below!

Be Where You Are

Black Mom's Guide to Calm

Confession: I’m not the most patient person in the world; I’ve had to teach myself how to be more relaxed.

By starting my calm practices (yoga, meditation, crystal healing, etc.), I’ve discovered how to stay calm and present and how to release control (or feeling like I can or should control everything).

Of course, it’s pretty easy to do this when things are happening the way you think they’re supposed to be. The challenge comes when things are not going the way you think they should, when you’re wanting to be somewhere other than where you are now, or feel like you’re not where you’re “supposed” to be.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been noticing that I’m ready to get “there,” feeling anxious about the things I’m intending to manifest in my life. As many of you know, I’m currently back home due to separation/divorce and trying to build myself back up after all I’ve gone through. It’s been a little over a year now, and I have times when I “should” on myself (as Iyanla Vanzant says) — like I should already be further along or I should already be where I want to be.

When I have these moments, I remind myself that even when it doesn’t feel like it, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be and where I need to be. I might not understand why things are unfolding the way they are or how things will work out, and I don’t have to. I also have to remember to stay in the present moment, not only so I can be more calm and content, but also so I can take action from a place of inspiration and peace.

Here are some ways I bring myself back to the present moment when my thoughts become overwhelming:

1. Pause and take a breath (or breaths). Also, I choose which thoughts I want to keep (the ones that serve me) and which ones I want to release.

2. Allow myself to be present and in the moment. Sometimes, I literally tell myself to focus on what I’m doing at the moment, and I when I start having thoughts that cause me to worry (and notice it), I am intentional about releasing them and bringing my awareness back to the moment.

3. Remember that it’s not my job to figure out how or when something is gonna happen. My job is to set my intentions, take inspired action, and let Spirit handle the rest.

4. Don’t compare my path to anyone else’s. Everyone is on their own unique journey, and I don’t know what they’ve done, or even gone through, to get where they are. Also, I remind myself that everyone gets to their “finish line” at different times; I’m not in a race or competition. Therefore, I shouldn’t feel like a failure just because it’s seemingly taking me a longer time than others.

5. Know that there are different seasons in life. The Earth has different seasons on this planet, and we do, too. There are certain times of the year when we plant seeds and other times when we reap the harvest of what we’ve planted. Both are necessary — and it’s important to remember that.

“Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” – Eckhart Tolle