Maude Hirst: In the Messy Parts of Ourselves, We Learn to Love the Deepest

Meet Maude Hirst, the guide behind “A Path to Self-Love” 10-day meditation challenge.

We are proud to celebrate World Meditation Day (May 21, 2021) by kicking off a brand new 10-day meditation challenge:  A Path to Self Love with Maude Hirst. Led by mindfulness teacher Maude Hirst, the 10-Day Meditation Challenge is a powerful program designed to assist you in actualizing your own definition of self-love. Maude will guide you toward recognizing, accepting, and loving even the darkest parts of yourself.

This challenge was made possible with support from Nirvana Water Sciences Corp.

What was your inspiration behind this challenge?

To share the life-changing benefits of meditation in a supportive, loving community. After a year of so much uncertainty and separation, I felt it was a perfect time to bring us all back together by sharing different pathways into meditation and self-love. To bring us out of the turbulent times we’ve been in and enter back into the world full of love, clarity and a meditation toolkit that can be used long after the challenge finishes.

For many, this challenge will come with a great number of expectations on how they want or should feel after the journey is complete. What’s the best way to detach from those expectations?

The best way to detach from any expectations of how you should feel both during and after this challenge is just by committing to yourself to show up. Expectations are made in the mind by projecting into the past or future and creating an idea of what you think will happen. 

During this challenge, I will teach you how to become present with the mind and body, so that the expectations quickly disappear and you can become open to something even better than you expected arising.

It’s a great idea to be adding 5 minutes to the practice each day, it definitely feels more sustainable and a gentle way to progress in practice, turning it into a long-term meditation routine. Is there a sweet spot when it comes to the practice length?

The reason meditation is called a practice is because every time you meditate it will feel different. There is not one sweet spot, some days you can enter into a deep meditative state in just a few minutes but from my experience, if you allow yourself to sit for longer periods of time, you give yourself a chance to overcome any resistance from the mind and get the true benefits of an embodied meditation practice. You will experience this for yourself during this challenge. 

In this challenge, you use various meditation techniques, such as theta and body scanning. Is there one that you favor the most and treat as your go-to?

I tend to listen to how I’m feeling day to day and choose a practice depending on what I feel I need. Often I will start with a body scanning meditation though to disconnect from external distractions and to connect deeply with my internal space.

Tell us a bit more about your personal meditation journey. You come from a very different background, acting. How did meditation and mindfulness enter your life?

I started meditating after a very messy breakup which gave me space to reevaluate my life and ask the question ‘what truly makes me happy? 

Until this point, everything on the surface looked great, I had been working in a TV show ‘VIKINGS’ for years, in a great relationship and living in a lovely house but once I stopped and paused, I realized underneath I hadn’t been truly happy for a long time.

I went to a yoga and meditation retreat where everything changed. I suddenly felt my body again and felt how disconnected I had been for many years. I started meditating regularly from that point and quickly realized how powerful these practices were. Although they’re not always easy, they began to rebuild deep inner confidence and knowledge of myself that I had never truly felt before. I then became passionate about sharing these practices so others could feel that same level of inner confidence and love in themselves that I had found. 

A Path to Self-Love. Would you mind sharing with us how it was for you? Was it an easy journey or a road with many twists and turns?

It has been a messy old road for me. I used to be someone who was always ‘fine’, never really paying attention to my own self-care let alone self-love. I used to believe self-love was somehow selfish because it was about focussing on my own happiness rather than looking after those around me. But I have since realized that it is vital to learn to LOVE YOURSELF. To fill up your own cup, so that you have a greater capacity to connect to others.

I have also realised that you can only love and be loved as deeply as you love yourself, which had led to some interesting relationships in my past … but on this new path to self-love I am able to love even the parts of me I used to dislike or be ashamed of, meaning that my relationships have become much more loving, deeper and healthier.

So now even when the road gets a few twists and turns, I know to cherish those moments because it’s in the messy parts of ourselves that we learn to love the deepest. 

What is your non-negotiable when sitting down to meditate?

The only non-negotiable for me is not to show up. The days where I don’t meditate I notice a huge difference in my concentration levels, focus and inner calm. There’s no such thing as a perfect meditation but just showing up to sit is where the magic happens.