Have you ever had the thoughts that were constantly spinning in your head? You know, what you think you have to over analyze and then realize that you’re really over thinking and it’s not such a good thing. Have you heard the phrase, ‘sit with it’? Whether you’re a meditation guru, have random talks with your therapist or listen to the speeches of World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe – you may have (at one point or another) heard the phrase, ‘sit with it’.
For me, this one has been rolling around in my brain for quite awhile. I was terrible at it when we lived in New York. For a time, I thought if I was over-analyzing something I was giving it the ‘right’ amount of attention and brain space – boy, was I wrong. All that over-thinking did was cause a spin, elevate anxiety and take time away from focusing on oh, I don’t know, ANYTHING ELSE. This whole learning and growing thing isn’t easy, but am I glad that years ago, someone uttered those words to me. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not like they sunk in immediately, or even the second, third or fourth time – but now, if there’s one of those moments where the whirling dervish of thoughts shows up, I find myself saying, ‘sit with it’.
This isn’t easy. Sometimes I find it’s akin to the most difficult yoga pose I try and fall out of immediately. And each time, it feels like it’s the first time all over again – but, I know, that’s not the case. Perhaps I hold the pose a split second longer before it’s over. Perhaps my body remembers the shape it’s attempting and eases into it a little more calmly. And perhaps, each time I learn something new it will make that next attempt feel that much more familiar. Who knows – this learning and growing stuff is definitely messy.
But, regardless of the mess or the angst, that sentence is forever in my repertoire of tools. When the worry creeps in, the doubts show up, the thinking gets out of hand – if we can be aware of the beginning spin, perhaps, only perhaps – we might have a shot to remind ourselves to ‘sit with it’ and find a way to get more goodness out of the everyday. This too is a process. Like learning a new skill or attempting a new pose – it takes time, it takes grit, it takes support, and there’s often a bit of going backwards to go forwards situation. Each time, we get better. Each time we learn something new and each time we’re one step ahead of where we were the last time.
Maybe, this ‘sit with it’ idea can change the game. Maybe more kids will begin to embrace the art of meditation in the global educational community and start to learn that skill at an early age. Maybe it can temper the angst, lessen the crazy and quiet the noise. Maybe it can help shut out the shouting of the 24 hour news cycle, curb the clamor of the ‘what to do to help the fate of the world’ thoughts and relax the racket that shows up when we feel we’re being pulled in too many directions. Whether it’s a meditation app, a reminder on your phone or a post-it stuck to your fridge to grab your attention – maybe, just maybe, if we ‘sit with it’ a little more often – we’ll be able to fill our time with people and spaces that lift us up, hold our attention and share our joy.
Do something today that reminds you to sit with whatever is taking up your brain space. If it’s there and you need to, give yourself a shortened time frame for the spin and then get on with living. Smile at a stranger. Grab coffee with a friend. Get your fix of vitamin D or sit with your legs up the wall and let all of that good blood flow back to where it needs to be to shift the ick. We all have our moments of angst – let’s work to find ways to keep them to moments instead of mountains and propel ourselves forward in seeking joy. Give yourself permission for joy today – your heart and your mind will thank you.