Dear meditation, it’s not you, it’s me …

It appears I have experienced my first epic fail since entering the brave new world of “one change at a time”. Apparently I am not cut out for meditation.

For one reason or another, I have had any number of people recommend meditation to me. Clearly a lot of people out there think I need to relax and clearly they think meditation is the best way for me to achieve this ‘relaxed’ state!

Thus it was with some (quite unrelaxed) fervour that I emailed the lovely Kathy from My Diamond Days last month. Mamamia had just run an article about meditation and My Diamond Days was offering some lucky readers the chance to try out their 10 minute daily meditations for a month. “Pick me! Pick me!” I begged. Happily Kathy decided to pick everyone who put their hand up and it was with no little anticipation that I waited for February 1st to arrive!

The first two days passed without a hitch – I set aside time to do the meditations and they were pretty cruisey and easy. Did I feel amazing or relaxed afterwards? Well strangely, no I did not. I actually felt a little anxious!

I missed the next few days for various reasons and then tried again the following week. I tried meditating first thing in the morning, first thing after Jaden and Ant had left for daycare/work, first thing after lunch, last thing in the afternoon and last thing for heading up to bed.

Each and every time was the same.  I would be a little anxious and even resentful at having to set aside a clear space of ‘mind time’ in my day. Then the meditation would start and I would slip into ‘meditation mode’ quite quickly. But 5 minutes into it I would be thinking “is that 10 minutes yet? Surely 10 minutes is up. God, why can’t I just relax?!”

By the end of the 10 minutes I would be more agitated than when I started!

Clearly, this is not the fault of meditation OR the wonderful program My Diamond Days has put together. CLEARLY I am going wrong somewhere – and I am guessing it is because I simply cannot do ‘nothing’ – not even for 10 minutes!

So tell me, do you meditate? What does it do for you? How does it make you feel? And most importantly … where am I going wrong?!


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  1. says

    Ba ha ha.. I can hardly manage a pilates class as it is not dynamic enough or I don’t sweat enough…. meditation would be a swear word in my house. I have no doubt I could seriously do with mastering it but.. well I don’t like failing so won’t even try.

    Good on you for giving it a bash, to fail to try is to fail to succeed or something like that..

    • says

      I know people say that going for a run isn’t ‘meditating’ because you are still thinking … and thinking … and thinking. But I always feel so awesome and chilled after a run … maybe my way to relax is to DO something?!

  2. says

    Kelly, I’m happy to report that since we last met (and swopped tales of woe about meditating), I have regained my meditation mojo. I think my problem was my nerves were too jangled for too long. Trying to meditate from that place was like trying to climb a mountain when I was having trouble crossing the road. Then I had few nights of relatively uninterrupted sleep, several hours of peaceful alone time by the river, and suddenly, I found I was able to slip into meditation easily again…and it has worked wonders for my sleep and general well-being. For me, I had to be more relaxed in order to meditate… not the other way around!

  3. says

    Meditation has never worked for me! My brain just can’t stop thinking. And I suspect that’s why yoga’s never worked for me, too.
    Right now, I relax by playing solitaire on my phone :)

  4. says

    I am attempting it for the third time – this time following the deepak chopra center 21 day challenge – they email you a guided meditation daily – it arrived late last night day 1 and not a good time so did not do – am already behind – trying not to stress ; )

    last attempt was using an app on my phone and i tried it 4 times and fell asleep each time – relaxing? i guess so – but the intention is not to sleep right?

    • says

      Hmm that’s interesting because I was just thinking (going on the comments above that indicate you need to be semi-relaxed already in order to get the benefits) that I might try the meditations just before I go to bed.

      In fact I have been doing my own little meditation before bed I fall asleep lately and I reckon I last 2 minutes before I am out. But I reckon this is not necessarily a bad thing?!

      • says

        i was just reading the faq on the chopra meditation and they said not to be laying down as we associate that with sleep so that might be the issue – i was laying on top of my bed with headphones etc and crashed – might try evening but sitting up LOL

        • Marina says

          Hi Deb and Kelly
          Falling asleep is OK – if you are listening to a guided meditation, you’ll have absorbed the info – like people who listen to language tapes and can speak Italian in a few weeks. It goes straight to the subconscious :)

  5. Judi Clemie says

    Hi Kel,

    I never thought I would be able to do it either, the thought of a quiet mind seemed all to foreign. A friend and I did a course at the Perth Meditation Centre and low and behold with a bit of practice I eventually got it. Now I can do it pretty much anywhere, recently I did it on a visit to IKEA, it was lovely just to leave the chaos, much to Mike’s disgust. The guy that took the course suggested much shorter mini meditations, and suggested you could do them anywhere, initially I used to do mine in the car, where we seem to waste a lot of time (obviously not whilst driving!!).

  6. says

    After a marriage breakdown and dealing with ongoing abuse I was facing a breakdown. Meditation hadn’t been for me either, it felt unattainable. The best advice I can suggest is take yourself off to a day introduction to meditation course. Ask around at chiropractors, yoga centers or any ‘new age’ shops. You are guided through excercises to get you there, to learn to breath and release that busy brain (my biggest problem). Then the results are incredible!

    Good luck!

    • says

      ‘Release that busy brain’ – I was going to say “you have no idea how appealing that sounds to me” … but then I realised, ah, of course you do!

  7. says

    Yes I meditate and it has changed my life (along with other forms of relaxation). I am anxious by nature and used to spend all my time doing something. I never used to be able to sit on the couch and watch even one segment of a tv show without getting up, seriously. I would fill all my spare time with jobs and tasks so I wasn’t sitting down. My mind races 16 our of 24 hours (I do sleep well). So the I started meditating and admittedly it took me some time to get it down pat, but I can completely switch off my mind now and I can even sit on the couch for an hour at a time without my mind racing. I’ve been working on it for a few years now so it hasn’t happened overnight, but it is very possible to retrain your mind to stop racing.

    I bought some awesome meditation cds from the Meditation Centre in Subiaco Kelly. These cds work for me as there is a voice over the top of beautiful soothing music, and the voice guides you and even tells you what to do with thoughts. I am not sure I could have done it without the mental distraction.

    Don’t give up, try something else. I think meditation is something you really need to keep at to let it work its magic.

  8. says

    ps…I recenetly used meditation to get over my lifelong fear of the dentist. I actually had 3 needles (2 of them in my mandible) in one sitting and barely even noticed. I was in a light meditative state and the dentist was amazed, after knowing I had a strong fear in the past. Meditation has helped me in so many ways.

  9. says

    Hi Kelly
    What a fantastic post! So extremely real and I can utterly relate to it.

    As you know the reason I started the site in the first place was because it was something I felt I needed desperately to do with meditation but couldn’t make just sitting still work for me.

    Are you up for a challenge?

    If I can get together some tips and techniques from some of the mydiamondays experts – can I devise a special program for you? I’m thinking you’d have to do it for 30 days ish and every day ish.

    To make it worth your while, I’ll even donate 50 bucks to a charity of your choice if you stick with it?


    • says

      Kathy! You are so generous – what a lovely offer! I will take you up on it, but on the condition that I donate $50 to YOUR favourite charity. Just so I can say ‘thank you’ for persisting with ME!!

      • says

        That’s fantastic! Let’s do it. You are clearly not the only one who finds it hard so lets see if we can find a solution. The charity I support is Spend it well ( which is doing some awesome stuff. How about if you get through 30 days, we both give $50?
        Am I right in thinking 10 mins is too long for you to start with and would it help to know a bit more about what meditation is? (Let’s be clear, I am not going to provide any of this information – I’ll use my experts who actually know what they are talking about).

        • says

          That sounds amazing Kathy :)

          And yes, it does appear that 10 minutes is too long for me!! Maybe if I had some idea of what I am trying to achieve with meditation … ie what my ‘goal’ is … that might help too!!

          In my head meditation is this magical thing that will lead me to being relaxed all day long – but from what others are saying, it is something that they use as and when they need it to bring themselves ‘down’ from a stressful day or even situation?!

  10. says

    I’ve tried meditation a number of times. Alas, to no avail. I supposed it didn’t help that the meditation guru was one of the most stressed out people I’ve ever met!

    • says

      Whoah! That definitely wouldn’t have helped!

      Part of me thinks that my best ‘meditation’ is exercising and reading … both those things even me out beautifully when I am super stressed. But another part of me feels like I haven’t given it my best shot!

  11. says

    I am exactly the same. I went to a counsellor once who tried guided meditation with me and I ended up having my first panic attack.

    I was so concerned with getting it right that I stressed myself out.

    • says

      LOL – ridiculous right?! I definitely think I need to be already relaxed before attempting meditation again because right now, I am starting anxious … and finishing at an even higher level of anxious. I don’t think that is how it is supposed to work!

      Meanwhile – your post headlines seriously crack me up. Is this latest one a record for length?!

  12. says

    I’ve had this starred for ages to come comment!!

    What you have described is perfectly normal!! Most people are under the misguided impression that meditation should be about stillness and quiet. Well ultimately it should be, but the fact of the matter is this is extremely difficult to do and would take years of training.

    This is why so many people give up before they have given them selves a chance to ease into it and practice. It gets easier, slowly.

    The key is to Let it go don’t worry about controlling the thoughts and stopping them from entering. Your brain will go crazy when you ask it to be quiet. It has spent its whole life constantly talking. Because you are doing something uncomfortable it will speed up its chatter. The discomfort is good as it is the only place where change occurs. The discomfort will ask you to stop but if you can move through it then you will grow. IT’s the only way we do.

    All you have to do is train yourself to sit and watch your thoughts, become fascinated by them. You;ll soon become aware of them and see the separation between you and your thoughts. Just say, “oops, there goes another thought” and let it slide by. Focus on your breathing and put your attention inward. A good thing that I do to clear my mind is to focus on the energy in my hands. Really focus on feeling it. You’ll soon feel a zinging and then concentrate on that and feel it grow.

    Anther thing I do is my I AM mantra. I simply repeat a phrase that I want to be over and over again. The thoughts will still persist in taking over, and often they do, but I can overpower them better with the mantra.

    Often if I feel really uncomfortable, then I will ask the simple question, “Why am I feeling so uncomfortable now? What am I resisting? What do I need to learn? The answers will pop up!

    I meditate every day. The thoughts are always coming and going. Some days is better than others. Some days I feel the zing really strongly and others I don’t. I often fall asleep. none of this matters. All that matters is each day its getting better and I am learning to control my thoughts, and when I can connect to the peace and stillness then it is unbelievably amazing and so worth the perseverance.

    • says

      Wow Caz – thank you for taking the time to write this, it is definitely inspiring me to persist with meditation. Especially that last line there!

      And this is EXACTLY what I am finding: “Your brain will go crazy when you ask it to be quiet.”

      I am going to print your words out and put them on my desk for a daily reminder I think!

  13. Marina says

    Hey Kelly,

    Caz has it in a nutshell. When I first started meditation – I tried the “imagine yourself sitting at the beach . . . . All the kids I’d ever looked after came in for a visit!!” Coming from a mum of four’s perspective, I think I may just have had a little more quiet time if I had imagined sitting on the toilet – at least I could have locked the door!

    I have found when I just started with breathing – stop for a minute standing up/sitting down/traditional yogi position (and if you take up the latter we want photos!) – take five deep breathes (deep like it’s your 60th birthday and a whole lotta candles to cover) and really let it all out. The endorphins that you kick start will be helpful and if you are up for it and not in a public place – raise your arms up from the sides (like doing snow angels) and breath in – then blow it all out as they come down. Takes all of 40 seconds and if you reach right up when breathing in, there’s added benefits :)

    This will get you started. If you can do this 3 – 5 times a day you may find yourself much calmer and meditation might slip in from there. It’s all about giving your mind space to be.
    If running does it for you – go for it.
    When I was in the pits of hell physically – I was told to walk first thing in the morning – no kids, no dogs – just me and a mantra – (for me it was I am supported Physically, I am supported Emotionally, I am supported Financially) chatter would slip in occasionally – but I’d go back to the mantra –
    The walking helped to anchor t he thoughts and I’d come home to fall back onto my bed in a heap – but I felt more energised. All good now :)

    Hope this message finds you chilled out :)

    • says

      Hey Marina – I really like the breathing idea! Several short 1 minute things throughout the day sounds like a great foundation! I have actually been doing this just before I close my eyes to sleep lately and it’s been making for some good sleeps!