As we cruise through a world of multi-media distractions, Instagram (I know, glass houses), text messages, etc. it is time to think about how we can stay PRESENT. HEUCY Gal extraordinaire Emily Hickey — who also happens to be the COO of multi-million dollar tech start-up Lollywollydoodle.com, amazing wife and mother of two adorable kids…and an overall awesome person — started meditating about five years ago. Emily has kindly shared her tips on meditation below — why it works, how to get started, etc. Side note: Emily is also Team HEUCY’s informal “life coach” and consults us on a variety of business and personal questions/issues…so when Emily talks, it’s a good idea to listen. She’s usually right! Enjoy.
Hi, Emily! You are always such a cool cucumber. When did you start meditating, and why?
About five years ago, I was about to have a nervous breakdown, and I felt that going to a sanitarium wasn’t the best option given my family and other responsibilities. I started meditating (crisis averted) and have done it religiously ever since!
It seems like it would be a little difficult to relax with a power job and two young kids. When do you find time to do it?
I (try to) wake up a few times a week at 5:45am, ahead of the kids. I do a 30 minute pilates class on Roku and then meditate for as long as I can, usually 10-30 minutes depending on whether or not I need to wash my hair that day 🙂
Are there certain books or other “tools” that help you get in the right place to meditate?
I almost always have to exercise in some way before i meditate, otherwise I find it hard to settle down. I’ve used Apps and I think they help you cut to the chase and focus if you can’t exercise first. Books.. I’m a self-help book junkie so I think I lose perspective at some point with the most embarrassing bookshelf in the city…but two books that have been really helpful for me – one is a probably out of print book from the ’70s that I bought at Mast Books but it really was the one that got me going: “Teach Yourself Meditation” by James Hewitt [You can actually buy it on amazon.com here]. I re-read constantly, it is the best explanation of meditation I’ve read, has great simple exercises, and is really just a beautiful book. “Peace of Mind, Becoming Fully Present” by Thich Nhat Hanh, who has been prolific but this one really resonates I think.
How do you think meditating has changed your life? Your choices?
It has been a pretty key tool…it has had such a big impact, I try not to talk about it very much because it gets annoying and it’s the type pf thing, everyone knows anecdotally it helps. I don’t need to be the person to try to convince someone else to do something! But it has been pretty life-changing. I believe it is truly a road to inner peace, and appreciating the moment, and seeing above daily issues…I’m sure there are many paths but this really is one…in terms of resilience, daily happiness, appreciation of health and family and friends…meditation has brought all that to the surface although life isn’t ever perfect. I also do a lot of “compassion” meditation where I really try to envision positive outcomes for friends or family going through hard times. It’s a private thing, but I believe it helps and I really feel connected to the people I love when I do it, because I do it in a really sustained way, over months. And it is a strong, incredibly sincere, private way of caring about them.
And in terms of life choices, I do creative visualization to find paths, etc. Really dorky but I think it helps a lot. I think you succeed in life when your choices align with what you really want and are good at and enjoy. And I think meditation can cut out all the clutter and help you see that clearly and sharpen your personal intuition. Shakti Gawain’s book I do use and go back to on that!
Is there any advice you would give to someone who wants to start meditating? Should she/he just “jump in” and see how it goes? And is it a type of practice that takes practice?
I think you need to try it 20 minutes a day for a week and see how it feels. I don’t think you will ever give it up after that, even if some weeks or months are more active than others – it will always be a tool for you! It’s constantly evolving, the more you do it the easier it gets, the stronger your concentration gets, the more impactful it is in terms of your mentality. When you read books that say – Just start by counting your breaths or noticing your in-breath or out-breath – it really is that simple. It is just the time and repetition and appreciating something so simple but deep that characterizes life. So do it for 20 minutes and see how you feel!
Is there anything else you do to unwind?
Honestly, not really – outside of habitually drinking beer to ease the nightly transition from work to kids. It’s probably all a wash because I’m just meditating enough to counteract the alcohol!
Thanks for sharing, Em. I might put on my HEUCY #BonVoyage dress later this evening, and travel to a more peaceful world of meditation!
The HEUCY Team