Hello From the Outside

Hello From The Outside

Don’t worry, I’m not about to go on a diatribe about how to get back in touch with an ex; I’m just absolutely in love with Adele, and also my husband for that matter. When I listen to that song, it makes me think about reconnecting with myself, rather than someone else.

One challenge I think most people can relate to is maintaining focus. This problem was pointed out to me while my boss was going over some upcoming events with me. I was sitting at my desk, while he was standing and letting me know what I needed to do. Over the course of 10 minutes, he had witnessed me open three new tabs on my already cluttered computer to start three new tasks, while not finishing any. He finally called out, “Squirrel!” when I started to sign a birthday card I had just noticed on my desk.

It was his light-hearted way of pointing out that I was all over the place that day. It wasn’t the only area I started losing my focus. I noticed at home my kids would point out to me I was using my “ignoring voice”. Talk about a knife to your heart, and it was absolutely true. They would be trying to tell me about their day, and I would be answering an email, trying to work on dinner, and thinking about bills. My husband would want to spend quality time with me after the kids were in bed, but I would be exhausted from my day. The exhaustion was also happening due to my horrible sleeping habits. I would wake up at 2:00, 3:00, or 4:00 in the morning, running over the lists of things I needed to do the next day. Sleep deprived, I would start each day off behind, not able to give my work, family, or self my full attention.

Something had to give, so enter my working on the new me goal: meditation.

I know, I know. Meditation is maybe a little trendy, and a little easy to claim to start doing, but let me tell you, it has been life changing in the smallest, most impactful way. I am only 27 days in, and it is something I will try to do for the rest of my life. I will not lie to you; it absolutely not easy. I started by googling meditation for beginners, and I read an article that said to simply find a place where you can sit upright, feet planted on the ground, and your back straight. The article suggested to start with five minutes, which I thought would be no problem, and to just focus on breathing in and out. If at any point your mind wanders, just refocus on your breathing. This article said to start your timer over if you lost your focus, but as I beginner I just decided to stick to five minutes a day, first thing in the morning before anyone is awake. Regardless if I lost my focus on my breathing or not, I would just stick to 5 minutes.

My first meditation went something like this:

Breathe in 1, 2, 3… breath out 1, 2, 3… breath in 1, 2–I think someone is coming into the office today, who is it? Was it a client? Yes, I think I am supposed to order lunch, oh wait! Breathing!

Breathe in 1, 2, 3… breath out 1, 2, 3… My boss will be out today, he is going to Texas; do I have his travel plans in his tripit account? I better double check that when I am done. Oh right….

Breathe in 1, 2, 3… breathe out 1, 2, 3… breathe in 1–was that Brooke coughing, please don’t tell me she has a cold; ain’t nobody got time for that.
#@%&! – I am supposed to be breathing!

The five minutes seemed small, but it was such a long time to force yourself to focus on your breathing! I have been doing it every day, and it does get easier, but some days are better than others.

I have found other tools to help me on my mindful journey, including reading 10% Happier by Dan Harris, and an app called Headspace. I can’t say enough wonderful things about both of them. Dan Harris is so honest about his journey with meditation, and if you are someone who can’t sit through a book right now, please watch his episode, “Talks at Google” on YouTube. He sums up the idea of the book, and answers a lot of great questions.

Headspace is a great introduction to meditation, and can change with you if you stick with it all the way to being an enlightened person. It has excellent tips, and its own timer. Since it’s on your phone, you have no excuse to carve out five minutes of your day to focus on yourself.

Personally, I realized how impactful meditating has been on me while at the dentist. I was having my 6-month cleaning, and I absolutely hate that. My dentist had the waterpik, and the dental assistant was using a suction tube to remove the water, but it never removes it all. I hate the sound of the pick, and I always feel like I can’t breath with that water falling down my throat. Overall, it’s a horrible experience. Sitting in the chair, mouth wide open, feeling like I was about to choke, I decided to start my meditation practices. I closed my eyes and just focused on my breathing.

Breath in 1, 2, 3… breath out 1, 2, 3… breath in 1, 2, 3…

Before I knew it, my dentist was tapping my shoulder to signal me to sit up and spit.

Holy shit balls! I can’t believe it worked!

My next goal with meditation, aside from sticking to it every day and not letting this new Colleen goal to bite the dust like so many others, is to push my meditation even further. I have heard float tank can be a great meditative state you can put your body in. Anicca Float Club comes highly recommended. They have 60 minute sessions, which sounds wonderful and terrifying at the same time. What will it be like to spend an entire 60 minutes alone with my thoughts and my breathing. It will also be difficult to be comfortable enough to float naked. To have that time and be at peace with my mind and body. I hope I am strong enough to make the appointment, and if I do, I will definitely share with you!

I know I am not going to be perfect with meditation, or that I am not looking at a computer screen with 29 tabs open. Yes, exactly 29 tabs open. Don’t tell my boss. I can’t say I am always best friends with the present moment, or that my kids will never again point out my “ignoring voice,” but at least I can say that I tried.


Colleen Lieberstein

Colleen Lieberstein, Executive Administrative Assistant, is the heartbeat at two award winning and fastest growing companies in the Chicagoland area. She lives in New Lenox with her two energetic kids, and her supportive husband. Colleen loves to read, play with her children, and go on adventures with her family. Exploring new places and eating new foods is the best.