I’ve been working through Jack Kornfield’s series; “The Inner Art of Meditation’, and I have to say I am incredibly impressed with his instruction and ability to ground us in our practice. I never thought of myself as particularly ‘H’ of ADHD, but more of an I for impulsivity. In working through meditation, I am finding I am much, much more H than I never realized, and that in sitting through this H using meditation I can dramatically impact how it influences my life.
I had a horrible meditation yesterday, and every inch of my being was kicking and screaming saying MOVE. I was just SO uncomfortable in my sitting position and it was painful to sit still, not because of any medical condition but just because I wanted to explode physically like I was about to fall over in a chair and had all that building energy. I did it anyway.
After the sitting, Jack Kornfield talks about what to do if you have that total and complete restless feeling in you. That feeling of “I can’t sit here for another second” using whatever excuse you need to get you out of the feeling. He said if it gets THAT hard, and your mind simply WON’T sit still… (drum roll)… too bad, sit through it, you aren’t going to die, nobody has ever died from restlessness. So much for my pass to escape.
I used to think that Yoga and Meditation were the same thing. In my twenties, I rolled my eyes at both, preferring the adrenaline pumping action of movement – any movement – to the quiet stillness of what I thought was wasted time.
My thirties forced me to reconsider, when I came down with Lyme’s disease that went undiagnosed for many years, and unfortunately became chronic. My aching muscles and bones, and troubled chest gasped at the runs and protested on my long swims. It was then that I learned just how critical meditation and yoga was to my mental health, and what a difference there was between the two in bringing peace, tranquility, and stillness to my life.
I once thought it would be impossible for me to do meditation or yoga with an active body, but even as I have gained a lot of my strength back, I still need them both for different reasons. It may seem odd to you I am even making the comparison, but if you have always been running like me you probably understand the disconnect. The online dictionary gives the following definitions for yoga and meditation:
It seems so basic, yet it has taken me a lifetime and then some to learn that to be in the here and now I have to get off ‘autopilot’ and engage my senses. I actually created a company to encourage it, yet still I forget to do it. My ADHD seems to have a mind of its own so I find it helps to create some tools that keep me present.
When I find I am getting more and more distracted with my ADHD, I practice the art of engagement by engaging my senses. The five senses that I was born with, but often forget are there because my mind is on the fast track. The sense of smell, taste, touch, sound, and sight.
As you may know, I’ve been trying and trying to meditate for months. I’m doing a pretty good job – 15 minutes a day in the morning and at night, with deep breathing exercises. However, these last few weeks have been particularly trying and I don’t mean to be flippant, but have felt like torture.
Literally I sit down and the cells in my body cry out “You have too much to do – get up and start doing it”! It feels like there are things pushing me from the inside to get up and get moving.
I can’t tell you how many times I do this – say yes when I mean no. And it has caused so many problems in my life, and while I am getting better I need a constant reminder of how and why it is important to give the right answer the first time. That right answer never fails to be “let me think about it and get back to you.”
If you have ADHD you know that your mind often is way ahead of your reality. You want to say yes to those you care about, please others, do it all, see a smile on someone’s face; often at the expense of yourself or your actual abilities. It is so difficult to think things through before you react in your ‘aiming to please’ way.
I haven’t read studies, but I have to believe that women with ADHD have a much harder time coping with PMS than those without it. I have always had depression, but my life was mixed with alcohol which makes things a lot less clear, as it is always changing your brain chemistry.
When I quit drinking completely at 33, and started living a more aware life sitting through any type of feeling, I started recognizing patterns. I was probably 36 by the time I realized just how much PMS had affected me earlier on, and have come to realize ADHD only added fuel to an already explosive situation.
It was like a breath of fresh air once I started realizing what was happening. Every month, I feel completely ‘awful terrible the world is ending.’ Every month. In the past I didn’t understand it so ran every which way but into and out of the feelings. Yet I never understood the connection.
I think one of the great things about being ADHD is that we can go after something for a long, long time once we have our focus on it. Or, as I do, go on / off / on / off / on / off for a long time trying to figure out if I SHOULD keep going as many have told me long ago I am crazy. While others recommending to hold on just a little longer. So confusing!
Winston Churchill’s great advice that is quoted so often “Never, never, never give up.” While that is so true, so is the old saying ‘it is like beating a dead horse.’
I hate that saying, but you get my point. So very, very confusing.