• Jaime Pollard-Smith

Priming the Heart

My husband is a fancy barista. We own every coffee gadget you can imagine. Chemex, French Press, pour overs, espresso, cold brew, you name it, he can brew it. His coffee is a work of heart. When he prepares my morning cup (I can barely make a K-cup), he warms the mug with hot water first. A primed cup becomes the ideal vessel for his brewed perfection. I recognized his process as a metaphor for one of my new practices in 2020.


Every single morning I sit on my back porch for twenty minutes in silent meditation.


There are many un-Jaime-like things about that statement. Sitting still and silent being the top contenders. But it has become a sacred and vital part of my day.


When I originally began dabbling in meditation it was to help control my anxiety. I used guided meditations and Insight Timer, a very user-friendly app, to tame my monkey mind. I quickly realized the tremendous payback in setting intentions at the beginning of my day. I selected voices and themes that were soothing and got me ready to enter my day with gratitude. I learned to cue my brain to look for the good and stay positive.


This year, I renewed my commitment to keep a daily appointment with my soul. I knew that if I was willing to give an hour to physical activity and exercise, I could definitely spare twenty minutes to mental health.


Each morning I spread out my favorite Mexican yoga blanket, plop down my husk-filled meditation pillow and set the timer on my phone. I should also mention that my puppy lays by my side the entire time— my very own Dexter Lama.

And just like magic, time expands.


Somehow, and I can’t explain it logically, the whole day seems to slow into a steady pace after I take that brief window to myself each morning. Just as my husband warms the mug, I prime my heart and soul from the inside. An open heart is ready to receive and give love throughout the rest of the day. I can hold on to the warmth a little longer. I become a well-primed vessel.


This morning zen offers clarity, peace of mind and perspective, but it’s also a chance to reconnect with the natural world right at my back doorstep. Remember the scene with Snow White dancing around the forest? Birds circling her head draping flowers in her hair? Squirrels scurrying up and down trees and deer softly grazing in the distance? Well, that’s me living the Disney dream for twenty minutes each day. I witness the sun coming up between the trees. I wake to a world where birds are singing, a furry puppy is snoozing and sunshine warms me to the core. Magic abounds. The gratitude bit is easy at that point.


The hardest muscle to train is the brain. We can’t tell it to stop thinking any more than we can command our lungs to stop breathing or our heart to stop pumping (nor would we want to). And just as yoga is a practice, spending time in silence is not a one and done type of deal. It took me over a year to wean myself off the guided meditations and be comfortable sitting alone with my thoughts.


Thankfully, the point is not to get good at meditation. It’s to get good at being you.


I am committed to honoring a daily appointment with my soul. I want my loved ones, friends, students, neighbors, and fellow humans to have the best possible version of me. The better I am primed to give and receive love, the more I can give back and make my corner of the world a better place. Namaste.


-JPS

Do try this at home!


There is no better time to try meditation. Our minds are saturated with fear and stress while we are stuck at home with unexpected time on our hands. Here are some resources to help you get started. Email me if you have questions.


Let me know if you try it! Happy priming.


Resources


This brief article from Psychology Today explains the basic idea of meditation.


In this article from Yoga Journal, Amanda Mascarelli debunks five common fears and excuses surrounding meditation and getting started.


Insight Timer is a free app. You can sort by topic or duration. I had to try several different people to find the voices that worked for me. I started with 5-7 minute meditations.


Kayla Moose is a friend and yoga instructor here in Charlotte. She is offering free meditations on Instagram.