My Zumba Meditation

I’ve been taking Zumba classes at Studio X in Gaithersburg. This isn’t for wimps, either. I sweat myself stinky and shake my tush until I’m ready to drop. The classes are drop-in, and only $5. Honestly, I only started doing it because I recognized a need for improving my fitness level. Which happened because I was trying on a potential new pair of jeans in Target and caught a glimpse of my butt in the dressing room mirror. Only it wasn’t my butt. It was my mom’s. How it got onto my body, I’ll never understand. But, at that minute, I knew I’d have to find a way to recover my own rear end. And thus, I put myself in Zumba class. 

At first, I felt pretty awkward. Seeing myself in the mirror confirmed that, yes, I am awkward. Thanks a lot, mirrored walls. The gorgeous, muscular, joyfully smiling teacher led fast-paced sexy movements that I tried to follow, while trying not to trip over myself or get in the way of the people around me who seem to know every step.

I determined to get it, and got focused. It’s really fun, actually, and I love dancing, so I felt good moving and shaking it out. During the first few weeks, after a bunch of songs, I was breathing hard and sweating. I figured it must be nearly over by now. Then I looked at the clock. It had been 15 minutes. 45 to go. Dear God.

As the weeks went by, I’ve started to learn basic moves, and get sort of familiar with some of the songs. I don’t look at the clock as soon now. Usually it’s about 40 minutes into the hour before my eyes wander there. And I look somewhat less awkward in the mirror, when I catch a glimpse. My body likes it too, and I’m starting to feel more toned, which is a good thing. Maybe my own butt will return soon too. I think there’s hope. I’ve sent out the invitation for it to come back.

And I’ve realized something more important. Zumba is like meditation. I’m talking successful meditation, too. The kind that quiets the mental chatter. Here’s why: When I’m there in class, I have to follow the teacher’s moves. The moves change rapidly, the patterns are short and varied, and involve my whole body. There’s no possibility of letting my mind wander, because I’ll miss something and end up going the wrong direction, bumping into someone, or falling on my face. I can’t be thinking about what’s happening after class, or who I need to email, what I’m making for dinner, or my kids arguing this morning. My brain simply can’t hold those thoughts and move my body in coordination with the teacher’s pace at the same time. So I become present, focused, and totally in the moment.

These are the qualities I teach my Reiki students to emulate during a Reiki session. Be present, only observing what’s happening now. Be focused on that observation of sensation and energy flow, which also keeps the left brain chatter at bay. Be totally in the moment, because that helps strengthen the intuition. 

They are also the goals of a good meditation. Just being present – not distracted by a dozen thoughts, feelings, and unnecessary worries. Being focused on that mindful presence – allowing the left brain to be quiet. Being in the moment only – that’s a serious goal for mindful living. Because, really, all we need to do is deal with what’s happening now. Any chance to remember that, to bring our monkey mind back to the here and now, and just BE here, is a good thing. 

While I’m not very good at basic silent meditation, I find I’m doing better at the guided kind, which I’ve been trying to listen to daily. But I have to change it up, because predictability tends to cause my mind to wander, and before I know it, I’m thinking of all the stupid little things that make my meditation time a big #FAIL. I find it remarkable and sort of amusing that I’m best at creating that mindful, meditative, in the moment presence when I’m giving Reiki, or doing Zumba. 

So that’s an interesting lesson. I guess Zumba is a moving meditation for me. 

I welcome your comments, as always.

Reiki Awakening Reiki blog by Alice Langholt

Be Here Now

There is always, it seems, a balance to be mindfully walked. Balance between action and patience, balance between faith and action, balance between surrender and preparing. They are all related, and all a part of my life lately. The tough part is deciding how much of each to put into the mix for the right amount. I think the right amount is achieved when one feels at peace, knowing that one has done what is necessary and then is able to surrender the outcome to the Powers That Be, the Universe, God, Spirit, Source, whatever one chooses to name the Divine power in his or her life.

Finding that balance can feel like walking a tightrope. I truly think that the feeling of being at peace is the answer to whether one has accomplished it. I struggle often to get to that, as I think many do. But it’s worth it, because life is much easier in those moments when one has that sense of being centered, calm through the stress, not affected by the anxiety that could be crushing.

In my life lately, there is the direct challenge of putting this into practice. My husband is going to be on his way to Virginia at the end of next week for a final job interview in person at a hospital. This is a great opportunity for him, and it means a huge change for our family should he accept an offer from them. I support him being in a great job, wherever it takes us. There are many things that we would need to do in order to make it happen, and we could get swallowed by the to do list and freak out. I have decided not to do that. We are waiting until he has an offer, and then will sit and calmly make that long, long list, and get started one thing at a time until we are there.

And also, if he doesn’t get this job for some reason, another will certainly work out for him. He has other interviews lined up, and many applications in, and things are beginning to happen from those. The unknown factors and ongoing money issues are enough to cause hyperventilation, but deciding not to go there, to instead live in THIS MOMENT NOW, have been the answer to enjoying life so much more.

Living in the now – this moment – not in “what if” or “but it might not” or “what are we gonna do” land – is the key to being open for the opportunities to present themselves. It is the way to deal with everything while avoiding anxiety, and staying balanced. Breathing, and being aware of the spaces between the breaths, helps me remember that I’m here, now, and not in my head worrying about everything. I don’t have control over whether this job offer will come. I only have control over what I’m doing right now, this moment.

It doesn’t mean being inactive or giving up. It means doing what you can, one thing at a time, and not worrying over what’s next, down the road, what might happen, what might not happen, or over-planning. I have consciously chosen to live in the present, and it does take effort, but little by little I’m doing it. The benefits are tangible. I used to be very anxious, a worrier. Now I’m moving out of that mindset and feeling more able to enjoy things.

I’m enjoying playing with my kids, talking with my husband, and getting my work done. I’m sure more benefits will realize themselves as I bring presence more and more into being.

Try it with me. Several times a day, stop and focus on 10 breaths. Just be tuned in to your breathing, and count each one if you want. Observe how it makes you feel when you return to what you are doing. It’s basically a mini-meditation that you can do several times a day, which brings you to the present moment, and calms the mental chatter. While you’re breathing, try to take full breaths – from deep down in your abdomen. Many of us breathe shallowly throughout the day. A full breath is cleansing, and increases circulation and oxygen flow to the brain. It’s good for us.

I know that there are big changes ahead for my family, and I’m ready. I’ve put out there that I want the best thing for our family to happen, the best opportunity for Evan to be his. Now I’m allowing the Universe to make it happen, and doing those things which I can do now, one at a time.

Reiki helps me also with this. When I am sending a healing, attunement, or doing self healing, I am only focused on the energy flowing, and it brings me to the present. It is centering and balancing, and feels wonderful. I think that everyone should have Reiki in their life as a tool for self-awareness, healing, and helping others. Everyone is capable of learning to connect with Reiki, and I am blessed to have the ability to teach people of all ages how to access Reiki energy. It is easy to learn and instantly available. If you’d like to know more, please click here to go to my website.

As for the next developments, I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Peace.

Reiki Awakening Reiki blog by Alice Langholt

Pressing “Pause”


I wrote last week about waiting. My life lately has been a process of waiting. This is especially true, you know, because my husband has been looking for work. Lately, things are happening for him – he has 3 interviews coming up this week – but it’s still a process of waiting. We know that despite the interviews, we won’t know if he has a job for a while yet. Two of the interviews are first interviews, and one is a third interview out of town. That last one is an amazing opportunity, but would involve us moving 300 miles away, selling our house, and starting anew. I’m not opposed to the change, in fact I find the idea exciting, but the reality of getting the house repairs done, stuff cleared out, putting the house on the market, and all of the details involved are rather overwhelming. All of the constant stream of “what will we do if” and “when will we know?” circling around my thoughts gets tiring and, I realize, isn’t productive.

I’m a planner by nature. I like to be as prepared as possible, thinking that if I can figure out what I’ll do in any given situation that could arise that I’ll feel more confident and ready. It’s intellectually satisfying in the moment, but I also know that no one can really predict the details and be prepared for each one. So the constant churning of thoughts, scenarios, arrangements, and ideas is actually just burning energy.

I need to pause. I need to breathe. I need to visualize the outcome I would like and just sit quietly with that in mind, sending energy to it. I admit that I have not been able to stop myself long enough to do this. But I will. I really will, because I know that is the way to help all of this. It’s the way to help myself stop cycling through the constant barrage of “what if’s” and help manifest the best possible outcome.

A good friend and inspiring person, Lissa Rankin, leader and founder of one of my favorite websites, owningpink.com, said in one of her posts just to ask the Universe to send you inner peace, then surrender to the outcome, knowing that all will be arranged with the best outcome for you, whatever it may be. Sometimes it may be surprising, unexpected, or feel like it’s taking your life in a new direction. But trusting that all is working out as it should is a sure way of quieting that nagging constant stream of thoughts trying to prepare for every outcome. That kind of surrender to a blank slate outcome involves an extra step of inner quiet, and requires having presence in the moment – something else I’m trying to become more consciously connected to. Thank you, Lissa!

So today’s post is a reminder to myself, and a reminder to any of you lovely readers who might need it along with me – let’s pause. Breathe. Ask for the outcome that will bring inner peace. Things will all line up and work out for the best.

Ready?

Reiki Awakening Reiki blog by Alice Langholt