I’m delighted to share the second post in a series of interviews with meditators. Sharon is a very busy woman, juggling the demands of two young kids, family life and working in a business with her husband. She is a great inspiration for everyone who thinks they might not have time to meditate. With everything Sharon has going on in her life she has been dedicated to her twice-a-day practice and the results speak for themselves. Many thanks to Sharon for sharing her story.
When did you learn to meditate?
A year ago, on the Royal Wedding weekend. I remember going straight from a fun, hectic street party to meditation lessons.
What appealed to you about learning to meditate?
Lots of things – difficult to answer this, as now I know the benefits. I wanted help with sleeping as I hadn’t slept very well since my first-born was born six year’s previously. I had read articles on the benefits and I knew how calm and well both Jillian and Michael were/looked – so (they) were a big factor for me. I was learning tai chi at one point and the appeal for tai chi was the meditation aspect so I became more interested in exploring other meditation methods.
What changes and effects did you notice in your life when you started meditating? e.g. in terms of physical and mental wellbeing, energy, work performance, sleep…
I immediately had more energy, before meditation I used to literally be exhausted by 10pm even earlier every night and it was not enjoyable staying up any later. Since meditating I now seem to have a second wind after my second meditation of the day and some days have to force myself into bed . I am sleeping wonderfully and if not then it doesn’t matter so much.
Mental well being – I am feeling so much happier, calmer and more positive than I have ever felt before.
Work is also interesting. I have had some high pressured situations in the last year at work and instead of working myself up before these situations I just get through them. I’m also constantly striving to work on projects that I enjoy rather than things that I don’t enjoy and just seem to zap up all my energy. In the last year I even gave myself a mini-break from work, because it felt like the right thing to do and it has been the best thing I did for a long time – apart from learn to meditate.
Lastly, I really enjoy most of my time spent with my kids, I’m enjoying the little things – noticing what makes them smile and enjoying exploring life with them. Obviously some times are hard because small children are exhausting mentally as well as physically but I seem to get through these times easier and just move on.
How long did it take for these to become noticeable?
Some effects re more energy were immediate, I am always calmer straight after meditation anyway that was an immediate effect but nowadays a year on I feel calm in most circumstances even if I haven’t just meditated. Recently I am really beginning to notice the beauty in life and nature, which I must admit got lost in my hectic life before I meditated. I’m also going with the flow a lot more, that’s also a more recent thing …
Have people around you noticed and/or commented on changes in you since you learned to meditate? If so, what have they noticed?
So many comments … The week after I learnt to meditate I went out for a drink with two very close friends, one of them looked at her watch and said “Sharon it’s past 10pm aren’t you going home now?!” I regularly get comments around looking well, healthy and being much calmer.
Recently we’ve been going through some awful stuff and then we moved house. This was stressful as you can imagine and in the midst of this a close friend came up to me and said “Have you stopped meditating?” Later when I was more myself, she told me she had asked that because she hadn’t seen me so upset since I learnt to meditate so she naturally assumed that I had stopped meditating – it did make me grin to myself.
Given that you have two small kids, how easy, or not, have you found it to integrate this technique into your life?
I have found integrating meditation into my routine very easy but mainly because its something I want to do and I prioritise. My husband also helps by giving me the space and looks after the kids early morning to enable me to do it, but when he is not around I will make the time by getting up early or in the afternoon, putting the TV on for the kids and letting them know they mustn’t disturb mummy as I am meditating. A lot of my friends think they can’t fit it in with work and kids, I just tell them that if they wanted to they would.
How has meditation affected your relationships?
In many different ways. With my family I am calmer and take things as they are, I enjoy spending time with the children a lot more now than I did before, which is awful to admit but true. I think it has also affected some friendships too, some friends that I used to be very close to I am now not as close to any more because I don’t feel I need to be and we seem to be drifting apart. Before, this would have upset me somewhat but now I just think that’s just the way things are … I’m also being naturally drawn towards different friends.