It's a rainy Sunday morning and I'm sitting here thinking about stress.

Looking back on the week, I feel lucky to have run into a lot of friends who I haven't seen in awhile: at shows, at bars, on the street, etc... When I asked these friends how they were doing, they said things like, "so busy", "exhausted and stressed", and "my mind is all over the place and I can't keep anything straight". And my initial thought was *me too: so busy, exhausted and stressed, and my mind is also all over the place*, and then I took a second and thought, *no that's not right. I feel good. A little tired maybe, but overall, happy with the fact that I am finally finding some balance in my life.* Then why was my first thought to talk about how busy I am? And I realized that I have been conditioned to think that words like 'busy' and 'stress' are like trophies awarded to me for my overly "successful" life. If I am so busy that I don't have time to think, I am obviously doing something right, right? WRONG!

Meditation is new to me. I am learning more about it every day. I'm learning about it through personally experiencing it, through talking about it with others, and through guiding practitioners during their own meditations. And though I am a beginner (as I'm sure I will always be) the things that has graciously started to leave me first, is stress.

I still have a lot going on, but my relationship to how I feel about these time commitments is changing. Instead of stressing out about how much I have to do, I find myself looking at these times of busyness and being grateful for them. They are a gift and if I move through each commitment with a sense of presence and being in the moment, the anxiety I was feeling about this or that scheduled event, seems to evaporate. I enjoy where I am when I'm doing this or that, and then move onto something new with equal enjoyment. Of course, I would be lying if I said that I enjoy every moment of my life and that I never feel all over the place, but the times when I feel present and at peace are beginning to overshadow the moments of stress. And that feeling is addictive. Feeling happy is like an awesome drug, and meditation is helping me to get there.

Next week, I'll be writing about ways to start meditating that have worked for me.

Happy Sunday!

-Erika