Earlier this year, I wrote a couple of columns on a new interest I decided to investigate—meditation and mindfulness.

Because of ongoing and, quite frankly, worsening issues with anxiety and poor sleep, I found myself looking for ways to “quiet my mind” more. I simply was not very good at being present and taking deep breaths and working through the big and little stressors of this thing called life. I often was thinking about past mistakes or worrying about future issues long before they arrived, leaving me unable to simply enjoy whatever present moment I was in.

Because of that, I faced a pretty big fear of mine. Well, several of them. I forced myself to spend time alone, in a confined space, without sound or other people or other sensory distractions. I went “floating.” I spent several sessions in a “Sensory Deprivation Tank.” The sessions were anywhere from 60 minutes the first time (which was terrifying!) to 90 minutes. The entire idea of the tank is to remove sound, vision, and skin sensations, so that one is left to simply “be present” and focus one’s thoughts (or lack thereof) and one’s breath. I won’t get into all the details of that experience (but you can find my article in the Feb. 6, 2019 Tri-County News, search “Nic Giebler Sensory Deprivation Tank” on the internet and you should see it) but I will definitely say that while it was incredibly difficult it was also incredibly rewarding and has had positive impacts on my life to this day.

Interestingly enough, not long after I began those sessions of “floating,” Dr. Michael Hetzner approached me about a new group he was hoping to start in the area. We had a wonderful discussion about the possibility of him leading meditation classes, and I was more than excited to bring them to my office! Personally, I know that for a long time, if someone told me they “meditated,” I would scoff at the idea, or brush it off. “OK,” I’d think to myself, “so you sit on the ground with your eyes closed for a while. Big deal.”

It actually is a big deal…and there’s so much more to it than that!

“I have been meditating, sometimes irregularly for about 40 years, since I became interested studying world religions in college,” Dr. Hetzner shared with me.

“Within days to weeks one may notice increased calmness and awareness of what is going on in your world. In the longer term, these qualities are more persistent,” he continued.

Some common misconceptions about the practice of meditation is that it’s “selfish”—it increases communication and compassion with other people. Also, many think it’s too complicated, and that only special people can do it. “While meditation is quite simple, it isn’t easy. Anyone can do it with time and energy,” he added.

I can attest to Dr. Hetzner’s ideas on it. Many aspects of life are “simple” but not “easy” and being present and calm in one’s mind is one of them!

All kinds of people are welcome from teenagers to seniors. The class is designed for beginners, but those with meditation experience would likely benefit as well. “Beginner’s Mind” is something we all need!

The classes at Giebler Chiropractic will run on Tuesday evenings beginning in September. There will be other locations and times available as well, and details are still being planned. While September seems to be a long time away, can you believe we are already halfway through July?

Additional information can be found on a Facebook page titled, “Mindfulness Group of Kiel/Chilton Area.” If you have any questions about Sensory Deprivation Tanks, or meditation, or how to better handle some of those stressors of every day life, don’t hesitate to call me at 894-2399 and let’s chat! We only get to take care of today. Worry of the past is waste and we aren’t guaranteed anything in the future, so “be present!”

(The contents of this column are provided for general informational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional health care advice. Do not use the information in this column for diagnosing or treating any medical or health condition.)

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