by Ann Rickard
WE WON'T ask you to put your hand up if you find meditating difficult, even impossible. Most of us do.
Trying to sit or lie still and emptying the mind is almost impossible for many. The unwanted thoughts creep slyly in and before even a few minutes have past your mind is full of clutter and you give up.
Meditation takes a lot of practice. If you succeed, good, if not, there is another way to look at it according to Amy Molloy author of The World is A Nice Place.
"I personally don't mediate," she said. "I see that as more of a chore. I read a book or go for a swim as an alternative to meditation because that works for me. Giving yourself comforting mechanisms that support you because they make you feel good in the moment is another way to look at meditation."
Amy Molloy has good reason to have found her own way to reach peace of mind. She has had a tumultuous life. From a dangerously premature baby, she became a child with obsessive-compulsive tendencies, a teenager with an eating disorder and at 23, a widow. Throw in a family history of depression, a father paralysed from cancer, and a tendency to have spiritual premonitions and that's a recipe for a messed-up adult.
But it is not so.
A survivor, Amy details her long journey to recovery in her book and says she is now in a happy place where she has accepted what life throws at her and deals with it in her own way, especially using her particular method of meditation.
"Meditation should be simple and it could benefit seniors in so many ways," she said. "I have an area in my bedroom, a little altar if you like, with trinkets and photos that remind me of good aspects of my life. It might be a birthday card, or shells from the beach. Every night I light I light a candle in front of it and take moment, and feel good. It grounds me. I look forward to doing that every night, five or 10 seconds of peace and calm. That's achievable. But thinking about mediation for 10 minutes a day in the same spot repels me. It's too much. Give yourself permission to find our own mechanisms that work for you."
In her career as a journalist Amy has interviewed hundreds of people, all ages, from teenagers juggling with anxieties through to people in their 70s with their own issues.
"The main message in the book is the power of choice, how and when you face difficult situations. No matter your age you have a choice how you react to difficult situations. The first lesson from the book is that even if life looks like a series of challenges, it doesn't mean you are broken or beyond repair, you can see it in a positive way or take the advantages of a positive situation."
The World is A Nice Place is a combination of stories from Amy's personal experiences and those of the hundreds of people she has interviewed over the years including experts she has had available to her.
"Anyone can get help if they need it," she said. "I speak openly about therapists I've seen. You should seek support if you need it. I have a life coach, acupuncturist, hypnotist. I don't see them all at once but if I feel I need a bit of extra support I give myself permission to get outside help. Everyone should."