Make It

The one daily habit that keeps Alicia Keys so centered

By Rebecca Dube
Musician Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys is a busy woman … but she always makes time for one thing.

"I have really gotten deep into meditation," the musician, mother, activist and star of "The Voice" said. "Some days I have 15 minutes, some days I have 40 minutes, some days I only have 5 minutes! But I have to take that time, because if I don't, I feel 'off.'"

Speaking in Brooklyn at Together Live, a storytelling gathering and performance tour featuring other prominent women writers and activists, Keys said that she tried meditation for years — on again, off again, getting distracted, falling asleep — before it recently became a daily habit for her.

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"Now it's almost a need. It's a yearning," Keys said. "That's really the most useful thing that centers me."

A mother of two, Keys said that at age 35, "I'm finally in that place where I've gotten to know myself."

And motherhood has helped clarify many choices in life, Keys revealed.

"I remember immediately needing to clear my space, to clear out any negative people in my space," she said. She recalled what her Aunt Elaine told her after the birth of her first child six years ago: "You got your big-girl panties on now!"

And the big-girl panties have stayed on. "It gets more and more intense and interesting as time goes on," Keys said of motherhood.

Keys recently has made headlines for deciding to go makeup-free, which she told TODAY has been "really empowering, really freeing."

At Together Live, Keys told organizer Jennifer Rudolph Walsh onstage that her personal definition of freedom is "the ability to do and say whatever you mean, whatever you feel, what's best for you without convincing yourself you shouldn't do it for one reason or another."

"I'm following my path because it's mine," she said. "It feels right, so I'm going to trust it."

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