Femme Totale Launch
Last weekend, the Femme Totale, a newly minted women’s empowerment network hosted our first event. This was a collaboration between yours truly and the talented stylist Luxe LeBlanc. For those who didn’t catch it, there was fried chicken and rum raisin waffles, an abundance of afro cut outs, vision boarding, 1:1 style consults, and a meditation exercise.
What the Heck Is Meditation?
As soon as we started talking about meditation and how it could help us tap into our vision for ourselves in the new year, there was some hesitation felt all around the room. Most women admitted that they felt they were “meditating wrong”. I get it. This happens in yoga too (what I consider a moving meditation). if someone has a regular practice in mindfulness it can feel intimidating for the rest of us who are new to the scene. “Am I doing this right?” “Is it supposed to look like this?” “I think I’m distracted too much.” All of these thoughts are normal because meditation and mindfulness is not a competition. It’s a practice.
Just like in yoga class when they tell you to focus on your practice (not anyone else’s) or in running (another moving meditation in my book) when you are told to “run your own race”. The experience of mindfulness is powerful because it is personal and is more about you tuning in with yourself, and being aware of what you are aware of, more than it is about trying to achieve enlightenment.
Meditation and Prayer
One of the best conversations of the morning was about prayer. Is prayer meditation? I immediately responded that prayer is a form of meditation but another coach, and powerful woman who was present, Rabiat of WhitchRiver further elaborated that prayer is the act of speaking to your Higher Power, whereas meditation is the listening. How great is that? Prayer and meditation are two parts of one conversation. So many of us know people who speak more than they listen, but it’s the listening that holds the keys to our success. And it’s the same with prayer and meditation.
prayer is the act of speaking to your Higher Power, whereas meditation is the listening
When we pray, we are asking for things, praising the All Powerful/The Universe/God, seeking forgiveness, understanding, . . .whatever it is. But just as in a conversation with a fried or colleague, if you do all the talking, you haven’t had a conversation, and you likely haven’t learned anything about your responsibility in the next steps. Meditation is the other part of that equation. After you pray, after you ask, how often do you sit quietly and listen? That’s meditation.
I think there are many forms of moving meditations and unconventional ways that meditation shows up in our regular lives:
- YOGA – One of my favorites. Yoga is a beautiful practice that among other things focuses on the breath. By focusing on the breath and constantly checking in with our body (what feels good? Where is there tightness? What can I do today, in this moment?) is a lot of the speaking part. And the listening comes in observing the responses our physical bodies provide in those moments. It’s a powerful way to plug into your body and it incorporates so many internal systems in the process.
- RUNNING – Not a fan of this one, despite my best efforts, but running is a phenomenal moving mediation. Again, you must focus on your breath. Start paying attention to your body and what it is telling you. The fact that some people listen to music while running makes sense. Often the music helps you maintain an internal rhythm with your stride. Again the focus while running tends to be “What can I do today? What am I capable of right now?” It’s one of the reasons completing a race is so powerful because the answer to those questions tends to be “a whole heck of a lot” and so in listening to that, we reaffirm the power and agency we have to do amazing things.
- JOURNALING AND WRITING – I have always been an avid journal keeper. The beauty of journaling to me is that again, it is a conversation. Many times over the years I have looked back at journal entries to see the dialogues that I have had with myself. The asking of questions, and the answers that I provide. Sometimes we don’t even realize we have the answers inside of us until we start writing, and then somehow things start to make sense, and become clear to us. We begin to make sense of things just by being still and listening to ourselves.
Nearly any physical activity can be leveraged for a mindful moment. I sometimes find myself having these conversations in the shower, or while washing dishes, or laying in my bed in the mornings, before I decide to get up. These times of reflection and quiet help us hear what we need in order to move forward, and it comes from being aware of our bodies and our minds in a concerted way. It’s the tapping into your soul, the universe, the Divine.
And that brings me back to brunch. During the brunch event we leveraged a guided meditation to help each woman find answers about where she was going in her life over the next 2 decades. Everyone started with a quick check in of their body and how they were feeling. We moved into visualizing ourselves and then we engaged in conversations, all in our minds, with our older and wiser selves. I know it sounds kinda bonkers, but it was extremely powerful. I participated in a similar exercise myself a few weeks ago, and learned so much about what I want, and where I am going as a woman. And when we truly tap into ourselves, and slow down enough to pay attention, even we can surprise ourselves.
To experience the Future Female exercise as we conducted it during our vision work in January, click here to download the guided meditation. I recommend being prepared to journal immediately after, as you will want to capture what you discuss in the visualization. If you complete it, please comment and let me know how it went. What surprised you? How do you make time for similar conversations with yourself?