Denise Doss says, “I’ve got red hair and I’ve got this temper to match it.” Read her story about why she started meditating (and why she thought she shouldn’t meditate), what she was hoping meditation would help her with, and the changes she’s already seeing in her life. Including the one big change even her grandkids have noticed!
Angela: So tell us about what drew you to meditation. Why did you decide to learn?
Denise: I kept seeing Facebook posts from you about meditating and then things just kept coming at me about meditating. I don’t know exactly why, I just was noticing. I thought, oh, that’s kind of weird. Things are popping up about meditation. I think the reason I wanted to try was I wanted to feel a little bit more peace, a little bit more calm. I’ve got red hair and I’ve got this temper to match it. I thought this might be something. I’ll just give it a try.
I wanted to feel a little bit more peace, a little bit more calm.
Angela: I hear that from a lot of people that they want to learn to feel a little more peaceful and have a little more confidence in dealing with the stress of life.
Denise: Yes. One of my grandchildren, the eight-year-old, told the neighbor’s nanny, “My grandma meditates so she doesn’t yell at us.”
Angela: Ha! That’s a good real-life benefit! So now that you’ve been practicing for a year and a half or so, looking back to when you first started to consider learning, what was a belief or an assumption you had about meditation that you now realize was a misconception?
Densie: So this one is so weird, but I thought if you were a Christian, you shouldn’t meditate. And I don’t know where I got that. It’s what held me back a little bit. I remember talking to you about it too, and then hearing other people and thinking, where did I get that? I have no idea where it came from, but that was really what kept me away from it.
I thought if you were a Christian, you shouldn’t meditate
Angela: There was some fear of the unknown maybe? It’s such an interesting topic because I first learned 10 years ago, and I had that same initial instinctual reaction to meditation as it was not something I’d ever heard about in my church, so I thought it was not okay for me either. I think it’s interesting that you had that same experience as me and thankfully we overcame that misconception because now that you meditate, how do you feel about your practice as it relates to your faith?
Denise: It’s so in line with my faith because I’ll get to the end of my meditation then I’ll spend a little bit of time in prayer because that’s when I feel at peace, I feel closer to God then. And I feel like I can let things out and it just comes to me. It’s a good feeling.
Angela: Oh, I love that. So it actually enhances your faith. That’s really cool. What are some of the other changes you’ve noticed in your life, besides not yelling at the grandkids, that you attribute to your meditation practice?
Denise: One of the big things I’ve learned from you is to pause. And to be in the moment, to stay where I am right now. Don’t be in the past, don’t be in the future, just be in the moment. Because I spent a lot of time, I’m sure everybody has, whether it was at work or whether it’s with the kids or whether it’s with my husband or whoever, being on my phone or watching TV and talking and not really truly being there. So one thing I’ve really noticed with the grandkids is I will sit down and color with them so I’m right there with them and that just feels so much better. So yeah, being in the moment is one, another thing is the pause.
Don’t be in the past, don’t be in the future, just be in the moment.
Also, when I know I’m getting upset, I can feel it right in my chest, my chest gets really tight. It’s almost like I can’t breathe in. I can feel the ugly words of the yelling, getting ready to come out. I’m much better now. I’m not perfect, but I’m much better now about pausing and just taking a breath. Whether that’s going into another room or just taking a breath or just saying, just give me a minute. That helps. Those are two really big things. And I sleep better now.
Angela: That’s one of the things people report right away, that they’re sleeping better when they begin a daily meditation practice. And I love what you said about being present and building that pause or that space between what’s happening and your response to what’s happening. That’s huge. If that’s all anybody can take away from meditation, that’s a gold mine right there. I’m so proud of you for sticking with it and noticing the benefits and really putting it to work in your life. You really have applied it. That’s the thing… sometimes people say, well, you just meditate and you go tune the world out. But the point is to bring the benefits of the practice into your life. And so you’re someone who’s doing that. Thank you. Many people say they don’t have time to meditate. They say they don’t have time, they’re too busy. How do you make time for meditation in your daily life?
Denise: I’m not perfect. It’s progress, not perfection. I’m not a morning person. I know you recommend meditating first thing in the morning, but the only time I can do that is if I have a total day off and I sleep in, then I know I’ve got time to do it. But even though I don’t do it in the morning, I do it in the late afternoons when I get home from work. That just works for me. I spend the 20 minutes and do it.
I’m not perfect. It’s progress, not perfection.
Angela: Good! You found a way to make it work with your lifestyle and your schedule. What’s one important thing that you’d like to share with people about meditation. Maybe they’re curious or skeptical or they’re new to it and not sure what to do.
Denise: I would say just try it. Just get into it. Meditation took me a lot of times. I’d start and then I back away, then I’d start then I back away. What really helped me, Angela, the very, very most is when you started the meditation group and we have some accountability with each other because we meditate together. And you have your guided meditations that we can do in addition to our regular meditations. Being part of this community is really important. I’m pretty much an introvert and I’m not a community person, but I love this. I love the people I’ve met here. We all have a common goal of practicing meditation. So I’d say, try it. Be in the group for the accountability piece and to get the guided meditation.
Being part of this community is really important. I’m pretty much an introvert and I’m not a community person, but I love this.
You can join my meditation group, The Moment Membership and then you get to show up with me and other meditators four or five times every week, as much, or as little as you like. We practice together, share our frustrations, questions, experiences, and we hold each other accountable, we lift each other up. And then we know we’re not alone. That’s a really, really important thing about a practice like meditation is you don’t have to be alone.