black woman meditating

Noticing the Sirens: Cultivating Authenticity through Meditation

I wanted to share a practice that I believe is foundational if we are going to develop our emotional intelligence and experience a greater equanimity and authenticity within.

The Practice of Meditation

The practice is meditation. Hopefully, you have been hearing a lot more about meditation these days, and for good reason!  There is a lot of science to support its many benefits for our well being.  Science shows in as little as 6-8 weeks with 15 mins a day meditation offers rewarding benefits. See this article for 12 science-based benefits of meditation.

Meditation expands our awareness, our ability to bring more of ourselves to the present moment.   

Noticing our thoughts and feelings can bring a quality of spaciousness and this can be helpful especially when we are experiencing internal drama. 

I want to be clear, meditation and our ability to “notice” is NOT mental analysis.

Meditation is not thinking you can show up day 1 to practice and have a “clear mind.” To believe this is like believing you can play a beautiful song when striking your first piano keys. The meditation “muscle” gets built through noticing our monkey mind and letting it go again and again returning our awareness from being identified with our thoughts and feelings to the present moment.

Meditation develops our ability to notice and this helps us be more aware of when we are identified with our thoughts and feelings.

Victor Frankel stated, “In between stimulus and response, there is a space.  In that space lies our freedom.”

Meditation practices cultivate our ability to grow this space and CHOOSE our response rather than merely reacting from our conditioning and default patterns.

In this space, it gives you the opportunity to make a choice and to respond to yourself or another in a more compassionate way. It also creates space to choose to let go of your judgement and invite more curiosity.

Meditation over time also unveils our LARGER SELF.  Mystic Thomas Merton coined this the “True Self.”  I experience this as a holding presence that can be with all the feelings, sensations, and thoughts I am having.

My story of vulnerability

As an example of how meditation has grown my muscle to “notice” and my choice to respond to my internal drama, I want to share about my experience before sharing my first vlog on Embodied Intelligence YouTube channel and on social media.  It was a 10 minute unscripted video of me sharing my musings after being on a personal retreat about what brings my heart alive. It felt very vulnerable. I can have a lot of inner-critic noise before, during, and after showing up authentically and this was no exception.

A little background about me. One of the tools I use for developing emotional awareness is the Enneagram.

I identify as my dominant personality pattern that of the Enneagram Type 2 (The Helper Giver). Types  2’s are in what is called the Heart Intelligence.  It is where our imbalance can show up. We all have the ability to inhabit the beauty of our heart, this is where we find our meaning and value. 

However, for many heart type’s and in my case, when I am not inhabiting the intelligence of my heart I feel disconnected from my value. In comes my ego strategies to save the day! My pattern can look like me adapting to my environment and inhabiting what I perceive will be most received as charming and valuable. For us heart types, our ability to notice what we are propping up for ourselves as a response to not embodying our authenticity and worth is an important practice.

When I give myself permission to show up exactly as I am as I did in my 1st vlog post I experience a lot of internal reactivity.

It’s like I have this alarm system that says “Warning, Warning, she is going rogue and not following the protocol and staying in the comfort zone.” If you have seen Disney’s movie Inside Out-picture the character called “Fear” talking here). So in comes my inner critic and its job is to get me to fall back in line.

My inner-critic voice at first was more neutral and sounded a lot like a marketing guru, “You know, ITS TOO LONG and some of those pauses you took where a little slow. It needs to be more of a sound byte and offer the 3 things to experiencing aliveness.”  

Other inner critic thoughts were “Your not very funny, be more witty, everybody likes wittiness and humor-this was a little intense.”

In noticing these thoughts, I felt the tightness in my chest and shoulders. I was contracting my body around the angst I was feeling.  I was aware of the fear of being seen in an un-charming and less valuable way.

I sent the video to a few friends and my husband before posting it. My husband said after watching it, “Well, it’s you.” I asked him what that mean’t. He said, “Its like your holding a gentle bird. “

I felt my heart soften as I felt the truth of his experience stated in his words to me. I do have this beautiful, gentle holding nature. But my inner critic pulled another punch, “Yeah, that’s great and all, but, COME ON! All that talk about the sappy ocean in your heart-show them your fierce, fiery side-thats cool.”

You get the picture!  Ouch!

I posted the Vlog

Then, I posted it.

There is this beautiful song by Josh Garrells called “Ulysses” as in Greek Mythology.  My favorite lyric in the song says,

“Sirens call my name, say they’ll ease my pain, break me of the storms. BUT TRUE LOVE IS THE BURDEN THAT WILL CARRY ME BACK HOME.”

My ability to sense the contractions in my body, notice my inner critic voice and its judgements-I can see it more clearly for the siren that it is-promising to keep me safe. But at what cost?!

My ability to notice gives me a choice. My larger self knows that HOME (My True North) is in EMPOWERING myself. And in the case of the vlog post, letting myself be seen AS I Am in the moment because that is what my heart values! 

My authenticity is the vessel that lands me home every time.

We all have our sirens that entice us to stay in our comfort zone even when it robs us of our aliveness.

Developing Your Meditation Practice

So how do we grow our capacity to notice ourselves in the present moment and expand our awareness beyond our conditioning and limiting patterns?

As mentioned above, meditation is the practice that grows our larger awareness.

According to Cythnia Bourgeault, author of Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening, meditation practice is a non-negotiable if we want to move beyond ordinary awareness and grow our larger awareness.

There are lots of types and ways to practice meditation. To name just a few there are what’s called concentrative style, insight meditation, movement meditation, loving-kindness, etc.  I encourage you to play around with what type works best for you. The more we practice the more this muscle of our awareness gets stronger.  


Here are some simple steps I invite for beginners or those wanting to re establish a practice.


Build meditation into a routine you have already created. For example, consider practicing  first thing in the morning after you drink a cup of coffee or before/after brushing your teeth.


Meditation can literally be practiced at any moment. For example, while washing dishes, you can become aware of how you are lost in your thoughts. Bring your awareness to the actual sensation of the water on your hands and rubbing the dish with the cloth. See how long your awareness can stay with the sensations before being carried off in your thoughts.


Start with a simple body scan or notice the sensation of your breath in your belly.

Noticing sensations in our body is a powerful way to RE-SENSITIZE ourselves to the intelligence of our body.

Our bodies are a resource to help ground us in the present moment. Our body is able to integrate emotions, but when you’re fixated with your thoughts and internal dramas and fears, your body will contract, brace, and tighten. We often constrict our breath and aren’t even aware we’re doing it! Noticing sensations in our body is a powerful way to RE-SENSITIZE ourselves to the intelligence of our body. 

Meditation builds our capacity to be present,  and our breath is always here inviting us back again as our anchor in this moment.


Meditation apps can be really helpful, especially for beginners and can offer you lots of tips and ideas for building your practice.

A couple of apps I use and like: 

Insight Timer

Head Space

Waking Up – This is Sam Harris’ app. He also has a fantastic beginner meditation course!

Second Breath App – For those of you wanting to integrate Christian wisdom and science, I recommend this app. I really like that it offers specific guided practices for developing the intelligence of the body, the heart, and the mind.


Developing a new habit takes time and while the benefits of meditation have been scientifically noticed in as little as 6-8 weeks, consistency over time is key.  The zen statement, “how you do anything is how you do everything” holds true here.  Let the frustrations and challenges that arise with your practice be doorways to curiosity and guidance towards your growth. I find our struggles are often the path that leads us into our greatest growth.

 Partnering with a friend in the adventure of starting a new practice can have tremendous relational benefits as well as accountability in sticking with the practice. This can be incredibly helpful in the beginning phase of having to cross the hurtle you face when starting something new.


Here at Embodied Intelligence, I want to share a free guided breath meditation. Conscious breathing helps to bring balance to our autonomic nervous system, release tension from our body, open our heart, and calm our minds.  

When you subscribe to you will receive this guided breath meditation in your inbox (make sure you add to your safe senders list and check your spam file to make sure you do not miss communication from us.

I will send out a newsletter  a couple times a month listing blogs/vlogs and upcoming offerings.

Lastly, I want to ask you… What siren’s call your name? What do you gain by being wooed by them? What is the cost? If you have an established meditation practice, how has it contributed to your sense of aliveness and authenticity?

Share your thoughts below or on Facebook at Embodied Intelligence @3CenteredExperiencing

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