When I get this job, when we can buy this house, when I move to San Francisco, when we have a baby… THEN, I’ll be happy. But the truth is, this is an unuseful habit that keeps you perpetually chasing happiness, like the mule chasing the carot. Even when we achieve our desire, then there’s the next thing that we want. And because we have this habit, we do it over and over and over, always chasing what we believe makes us happy. How about instead, begin with small changes, things that you can do, habits that serve you well, that can lead you to a happier existence, right now. A focus on things we can do that are within our control, rather than the things that stress us, can change the way we experience stressful events (like difficult conception).
Consider Matthieu Ricard’s description of happiness. “A deep sense of flourishing that arises from an exceptionally healthy mind. …not a mere pleasurable feeling, a fleeting emotion, or a mood, but an optimal state of being. Happiness is also a way of interpreting the world.” We may not be able to change the world, but we can change the way we look at it.
Matthieu tells a story of two women, two very different perspectives. He was on the steps of a monastery in Nepal. The monsoon storms had turned the courtyard into an expanse of muddy water and they had set out a path of bricks to serve as stepping-stones. One woman came to the edge of the water with a look of disgust, and complained about every single brick as she made her way across. When she got to Matthiew she said, “Yuck! What if I had fallen in to that filthy muck? Everything’s so dirty in this country!” A few minutes later another woman came to the brick path. “Hup, hup, hup!” she sang as she skipped from stone to stone. Reaching the other side, she said “What fun! The great thing about the monsoon is that there’s no dust!”
At the Fertile Mind-Fertile Body Workshop, we practice activities and behaviors that create a more peaceful inner-environment. Again, sometimes we can’t change our circumstances, but by changing how we process and move through difficult events, and daily practices that take only moments, we can reduce the harsh impact that stress has in our bodies and in our mind (anxiety, stomach problems, headaches, insomnia, back, neck and shoulder pain…). These occur because of the cascade of chemicals that are released when we perceive danger/stress.
Meditation is becoming widely used in treating many clinical conditions. Research shows that meditation affects the brain and peripheral nervous system, immune function, metabolic and hormonal balance, cognitive function, quality of life, reduces stress and improves our quality of sleep.
Why wait? If you’re going through the fertility ordeal, chances are you’re pretty stressed and feeling alone. Join the other women who want to increase the probability of conceiving. Your inner environment does make a difference.