Last year I bought a meditation cushion. It's sky blue, feels like your favorite blanket, and looks really pretty in my quiet little devotional space. Shortly after it arrived to my house, I unwrapped it from its beautifully packaged box and then it just sat there....for almost a year. I sat on it to do work, compose emails, take phone calls, etc.; everything except using it to actually mediate. I wanted to look and feel like a 'mediator', but after I bought the cushion I just didn't feel like I could live up to the part.
The funny thing about mediation is that I always thought that there was a 'right way' to meditate. I thought you had to have a clear mind [if that is the case, then this meditating thing isn't going to be possible for the hamster running laps around my brain], a perfectly erect posture [root to crown, you know, for that perfect chi flow], and at least 30 minutes, in the quiet hours of the sun-lit morning. I thought it would require me to be one of the people that fall out of bed onto my cushion and quietly let my thoughts roll by, undisturbed, for a perfect half-an-hour. I tried that, exactly twice, before abandoning my cushion all together. And then it just sat there.
Last month I decided to try on my meditation from a place of curiosity instead of an 'all or nothing' mentality. So one day, at 4:30 in the afternoon, I put my legs up my bedroom wall, fixed a strap around my thighs, turned on my ocean waves track from Spotify, and set a timer for 15 minutes. My thoughts didn't stop, I didn't magically feel more peaceful, but I did stay like that until the basu bell quietly dinged letting me know my 15 minutes were up. It wasn't perfect, but it was perfectly me.
There is beauty and surrender in relinquishing effort in service of the version of your life that belongs just to you. I realized that I needed my meditation time to look and feel like me. I need my legs up, my eyes closed, some ocean waves to help me relax and an afternoon slow-down. I need something to remind me to begin and signal to me to stay till it is all the way over. I realized that when I stopped trying to fit myself into the 'perfect meditator' box, I could actually begin to meditate. It's been 19 days and almost every day, around 4:30pm, I crave throwing my legs up the wall and diving in. My emotional landscape feels altered slightly after every sit. I feel a little softer, a little blurry around the edges, I feel more compassionate, and loving and it feels good to gift myself the time to focus only on me.
Just know, your life is "some assembly required" and you get to decide how all the parts fit together. Your meditation practice included.