[Guest Post] How I Talk About Ziva With My Family

Zara Louy is a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach and holds her Master’s in Integrative Health from the California Institute of Integral Studies. She has over 4 years of coaching experience and 3 years as a Ziva Meditator.

I recently visited my extended family for Thanksgiving for the first time since learning the Ziva Technique 3 years ago. A lot has changed, as you can imagine! My physical health, energy, mood, career, home, friend groups and spirituality have all experienced a huge transformation with this practice continuing to serve as a catalyst for all of it to occur. But it can be hard to figure out how to talk about Ziva with family.

When I first started meditating, one of the first things I noticed was more energy. It was such a relief to be able to focus at work and show up for my friends in a way I hadn’t been able to in such a long time! I wanted to tell EVERYBODY about this new, magical thing I was doing. But I also remembered Emily talking about worthy inquiry during my Ziva course, and have to constantly remember that everyone has their own path and may or may not find meditation in their own time. My only job is to show up and share my experience as openly and honestly as I’m comfortable doing.

So, you can imagine what it was like showing up to a house full of 35 non-meditators. It’s still hard at times not to want to try to convince everyone to jump on the meditation bandwagon, especially loved ones who are experiencing difficult circumstances. I figured I probably wasn’t the only one feeling this way during the holiday season, so I decided to share a few tips I’ve learned along the way that may be helpful to folks wondering how to talk about their meditation practice with their family and friends. For learning the logistics about how to talk about the specifics of Ziva, watch this video. But if you’re interested in learning how to talk about your practice without being annoying, read on!

1. Lead by example.

Showing is always more powerful than telling someone something. By me simply getting my buns in the chair twice a day, people started to ask me what I was up to. But what was even more powerful than that was showing up to my family reunion after 3 years of meditation under my belt. People kept wanting to know what was different about me. Why I appeared more calm, confident, and couldn’t stop smiling. It might not be the quickest way to get someone interested in meditating, but again, that’s not up to us…which leads me to my next point:

2. Stop trying to compete with Nature.

What I mean by that is that I can sometimes get attached to trying to help or “fix” people when they haven’t even asked for my help. It’s especially hard being a health coach myself and a member of a family with an array of chronic health conditions, but I have to remember that what works for me might not be the best thing for someone else. The desire to change must come from within someone, what psychologists call intrinsic motivation. Behavior change sparked by intrinsic motivation is a lot more potent (and sustainable) than change initiated by extrinsic motivation (e.g., rewards, etc.). When I remember that Nature has a plan for every single human on this planet, it helps me let go of trying to meddle, even if it comes from a place of love.

3. Be completely honest about the ups and downs of your practice.

When people ask me about meditation, I am so quick to talk about the amazing benefits I’ve experienced, but less so about some of the challenges along the way. I now have deeper sleep, more vulnerable relationships and so much more energy, but it was also a long process getting there. This practice takes time, and a lot of this journey has been about patience for me — trusting that Nature had my back and I was exactly where I was supposed to be at any given moment. I wanted a “quick fix” to my problems and kept comparing my journey to everyone else’s, which inevitably left me feeling let down. As I’m sure you’ve all experienced by now (or are beginning to experience), this is not easy work. Being well is a messy, non-linear process that can be very frustrating at times. But it’s also very brave work and SO worth it in the end. By giving people a realistic snapshot of our own meditation experience, we’re setting them up for greater success in the long-term, knowing that this will probably be far from a picture-perfect journey for them.

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