In the year and a half since then, I still continue with my yoga practice, but my meditation practice has fallen by the wayside. I still try to be mindful when I notice the need to do so, but the actual daily practice of sitting and intentionally spending that time in awareness of my body and breath has gone.
Recently, I have had 2 reminders that I need to get back to it.
The first reminder came from a friend in Japan who mentioned an app called Get Some Headspace, which is a meditation application started by a British man who had become a monk, and now is trying to demystify meditation for the general public. After she mentioned it to me, a second friend did as well, so I figured I had to check it out.
The second reminder came from Brené Brown. As part of Brené Brown’s eCourse on her book The Gifts of Imperfection, we spent one week cultivating and working on calm and stillness. As part of the work, we needed to come up with 3 ways in which we could invite more calm and stillness into our lives. Here is what I came up with:
1. Meditate using the Get Some Headspace app everyday for 5 days.
2. Once a day, feed my daughter in silence (Usually I listen to an audiobook).
3. Only check my email twice a day, at 11:00am and 8:00pm.
So how did it go?
Not as well as I had hoped.
Sitting down to meditate is really tough, especially with an infant. When I was meditating previously, I would just wake up in the morning, sit up in bed and meditate right then. It was a great way to start the day. Now, my daughter is my alarm clock, whether that be at 5:45 or 7:00 is anyone’s guess. Instead, I thought that I would meditate while she was napping. Unfortunately, my list of to-dos always overcame my desire to sit still for 10 minutes. And 10 minutes isn’t even that long! All in all, it didn’t work out, but I am still playing around with the idea and hoping to find a time that really works.
My second goal was more successful. Sitting with my daughter in silence in the morning is almost like meditation, so I can count that, right? Okay, maybe not, but it felt really great to spend that time with her. Instead of staring off into space while I listened to my book, I gazed at my daughter while she did her thing. Sometimes I would get these goofy smiles, which just melted my heart. It was amazing! I still enjoy my audiobooks, but that bonding time is pretty special too.
Finally, the email. It never worked. The first day I was waiting for a response from someone, so I felt the need to regularly check my email for a reply. Of course, I didn’t get it, so checking my email was pointless. The next day was the same. And the next, and the next. What I did do, though, was turn of the email notification on my phone. Now, instead of looking at my phone and seeing that little red circle that says I have 3 emails, the email icon is just there, plain as can be. That one simple thing squelched my urge to check my email and see if there was anything exciting. For me, email and regular mail, is like a present—you never know what you are going to receive. The hope for a fun surprise pulls me in. So, although I never got down to only checking my email twice daily, I definitely checked it less often, and still do. It feels pretty good. I am spending more time living life, rather than reading and responding to emails.
So, was I able to create more calm and stillness in my life? Yes. Did I reach my initial goals? No. My success or failure doesn’t really matter to me. What matters is that I saw a need for creating something in my life and I worked to try to find various ways to do it, and I did. Meditation didn’t work for me, but having quiet time with my daughter did. Checking email twice daily didn’t work, but checking email less often did.
It wasn’t perfect, and I wasn’t perfect, but what ever is?