Challenge #4: Meditate
Monday, October 1
It seems entirely auspicious that October 1, the first day of my 30-day meditation journey, falls on a Monday. It’s the start of a new week in one of my favorite months of the year—what a great way to embark on a practice I’ve been interested in for, literally, years.
I wake up early Monday morning (relatively easy, considering I had a restful weekend) all bright-eyed about meditating. I tiptoe downstairs to avoid waking the hubs and two sleeping babes, only to step in a cold, wet mess of cat puke that left me hopping and whisper-cursing. So much for tranquility.
That’s OK, a quick clean-up and I’m off to make some tea. I peek through the blinds over the kitchen sink, hoping the sky will be a lovely pink and I can take advantage of the last of the warm mornings and meditate on my screened-in porch as the sun rises. Pitch dark and not-so-picturesque. OK, fine. A pillow on the living room floor will do.
I keep my phone close by so I know how much time has passed. I get comfortable in lotus position and close my eyes. Inhale, exhale. Try to sit mostly still. This is OK. Oh, wait! Maybe I should light a candle! I hop up (not even one minute has passed) and light a couple of scented candles. Wonderful. Back to lotus position. My goal is 10 minutes, which seems reasonable. I sneak a peek at my phone. Three minutes have passed. And that includes the candle-lighting. This may prove to be tricky.
Tuesday, October 2
Yesterday wasn’t a huge success, but it was a start. I’m bound to find a routine before too long. I’ve been devout with my yoga practice for years, so surely this can’t be too different. I recently finished reading Priscilla Warner’s book Learning to Breathe, about her journey to overcome anxiety through meditation. As someone who has had her fair share of panic attacks, I renew my vow to get serious about meditation. Today, I light the candles before I sit down (See, I’m learning!) and settle in.
Wednesday, October 3
I can see I’m going to need to look into this and prepare myself a bit more than just my candle-lighting ritual (if, after two days, you could even call it a ritual). I thought I could just plop down on a cozy pillow and go for it, but thoughts are constantly flying through my mind, and I’m easily distracted by any external stimuli. (Was that the baby? I’m a little cold. I can still smell last night’s stir fry.) Meditation is proving to be something that is simple, but not easy. After an agonizing 10 minutes on my pillow, when all I accomplish is reminding myself of the meetings that I need to schedule and the laundry that I forgot in the washing machine last night, I decide to find a few books and websites and learn some more about this ancient, scientifically sound, and illusive practice.
Thursday, October 4
My baby is teething and my 3-year-old is covered in what looks like chicken pox. I’ve been up and down all night with both of them. Surely I can skip just one day and still find a rhythm with this? I turn the alarm off.
But I got my second wind late this afternoon, so I’ll try an evening meditation instead. Maybe this will actually be a more sensible time to quiet my mind and be still. Warner mentions Sharon Salzberg in her book, so I looked up her website today and, boom, she’s got the perfect book for me, called Real Happiness, The Power of Meditation, A 28-Day Program. I’ll look for it this weekend. The ultimate CliffsNotes to my commitment!
Friday, October 5
Last night was lovely, and meditation was a great ending to the day. I made it eight full minutes without checking the time and I didn’t feel too antsy or bored. I had been pretty productive during the day, so not much was on my mind as I sat on my pillow next to my candles. The thoughts that came into my head didn’t have that stressful, urgent weight to them that I felt when I meditated first thing in the morning. Then, the whole day was ahead of me and I was eager to just get going already. So here’s my first meditation breakthrough: Nighttime is better for me! Now I’m really getting somewhere.
An Associate Editor at The Daily Muse, Kelly is a book-reading, tea-drinking, vegetarian-eating momma who will be down-dogging until the end of time. She has designed cell phones, reported to the Pentagon and amassed quite a ridiculous amount of wine knowledge, but prefers to focus her energy on writing, her five pets, and dark chocolate. When she’s not standing on her head, you can find this Midwestern girl playing house in her 100-year-old home and trying new recipes that may or may not work out, aspiring to convince one and all that she is a true domestic goddess at heart.More from this Author