Weekend bliss? – #MindfulChallenge

The trouble with writing about your meditation experience, is that your mind has a tendency to start thinking about what you are going to write, about how hard it is to stop thinking…which, of course, means I’m thinking..it’s quite a mind numbing circle.
It’s the weekend and I’m curled up in bed. The kids are all safely tucked away around the house on various devices. So it’s seems opportune to take my daily time out.

The knot it my stomach, is still there, it always is. About what…I couldn’t tell you. I wish it would go away but calm patient meditation man is telling me that I should be trying not to resist or wish for things to be different than they are. Just notice them.

So ..Ok….listen to my breath. My mind is going bonkers as usual, time and time again I keep suddenly remembering about my breath.  What we having for dinner tonight?….oh yes, breath….What shall i do with my life? …woops….breath….I wonder what the children are doing?…blow that thought away…breath…was that a car driving in the driveway?…refocus on the breath….

Kelly Exeter posted a great article about her challenges with meditation “Why meditation isn’t ‘working’ for you” and I think she makes some two really good points about the expectations that people have when they meditate.  Essentially, 1) That when you are “good at it”, you will have no thoughts and 2) You will feel amazing in the moment.

This is really true for me, I imagine that when I “get good” at meditating, it will feel like levitating, and my mind will be calm and still …like a pond. But really, that’s not the point. Meditation is actually practicing, like practicing an instrument, to be able to keep bringing your mind back to one focus point…over and over and over….

It is reminding me of bed time training with the kids. My daughter never liked going to bed (still doesn’t).  I was told that the best thing to do is to not “engage”, simple get up…take them back to bed, and walk off again. One night I took her back to bed 35 times. It is a huge mental challenge not to go bananas.

And if I think about it in that context, I realise that I am actually starting to progress on this. I think I’m better at putting my naughty children thoughts back to bed. I’m less concerned about how many thoughts are coming. Because the point isn’t to not have the thoughts, but the game is being able to calmly put them back to bed. I have also noticed that I have started to catch myself when I am unfocused and thinking about other things at other random moments in the day. When I’m driving. Brushing my teeth. Trying to get a peice of work done. I suddenly think…oh…your distracted and thinking about something else…bring your mind back. I’m by no means anywhere near a quiet mind but I’m starting to feel like I’m moving forward.

Crap..I’ve forgotton about my breath again… see!!! Arghh

Times up. Oh well, there will be more practice tomorrow…


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Day 1 – #MindfulChallenge

OK step one of the mindful challenge. Start a daily meditation practice.

I’m going to do a Headspace mediation every day. I’ve had the app for about two years and throughout that time I have racked up an impressive (??) 30 meditations #winning,  so I’m thinking that I may need to be a little more consistent.

My challenge is that the meditation that is supposed to make me feel less anxious…well…makes me anxious.

My brain is very active, this morning whilst trying to focus on my breath, my brain was having its own party. Woot woot…she’s just sitting, lets go banana’s. Thoughts were popping up about things that happened in the past or plans for the future. I was thinking about all the things on my to do list, “what are the kids having for lunch today?”, “when are the school photos?”, “do I need to put my washing on?”.

But I know the drill, each time they pop up, I just acknowledge and go back to the breath. So then my brain starts being a bit crazy, at one point…it was singing songs. And there’s this “commentator”, who seems to take pleasure in doing like a voice-over for everything that is happening… and I’m a little embarrassed to say that most of this blog post was written in my head while I was trying to focus on my breath, it just kept popping up and wouldn’t go away. I tried to imagine putting my ideas in a box (I think my brain was worried about forgetting them), or imagine it as clouds in a blue sky blowing slowly away (but then my brain started singing “blue sky…nothing but blue sky..”).

And then there’s the feelings, my body hits the adrenalin response…not exactly helpful when you are trying to be calm. My stomach starts knotting. And this morning I also felt sad. Then bored. Then frustrated.

15 minute meditation complete and I’m feeling, exhausted. Pretty sure that’s not how it was meant to play out.

I know I know I know…this is exactly why I NEED to practice, why this is exactly what I should be doing. Right now it isn’t a very pleasant experience though. I’m not exactly inspired to continue.

But it’s day 1 …right… they say nothing worth doing is easy (my husbands favourite quote whenever I complain about anything..yes…yes, it is annoying).


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Mindfulness…let the journey begin

I’m on a new quest. A new journey of discovery and I’m going to publicly commit myself so that I feel compelled to continue (eeek..just writing that makes me freak out).

It’s been a while since I have written I know. At first it was a happy conscious decision because I wanted to have less on my plate and focus more on work. You know, I’m all about boundaries and juggling different aspects of my life at different points in time.  But then, time just slipped through my fingers and next thing I know it has been months since I wrote properly.

Because really, there is no such thing as “balance” per say, which implies there is this perfect point where you have just the right amount of work, just the right amount of personal stuff etc etc.  But life doesn’t work like that. Life throws you curveballs all the time or doesn’t throw you curveballs and that can be just as disconcerting. So you have to be constantly readjusting, adapting, evolving.

Right now, what I have realized I need in my life is less noise in my head and more focused mindfulness.

Present over perfect.

I’ve said before that I don’t consider myself a perfectionist and I still struggle with the term. Because I’m not perfect, I’m soooo sooo far from perfect that the term doesn’t ring true. And yet, i do have a sense that I need to do everything well. That I need to hustle, keep striving, push forward…prove prove prove myself. Prove myself to whom I’m not exactly sure? To them? To the world? And that striving and pushing keeps me in a whirlwind which mostly I don’t even notice I am in.

My mind is a swirling wind of thoughts, I’m checking myself at every corner, examining every thing I say, every action I have taken. Was that the right thing? The best thing? Am I happy? Am I leaving with purpose? Should I be making different choices?

Oh? Sorry…kids…did you say something??

That’s the bit that I don’t like the most. When I can’t quieten my mind enough to focus on the kids when I am with them. Because when I think about it, it feels like I spend plenty of physical time with the kids…which is great, but perhaps my mind isn’t always joining us. It is off having a party of its own, wondering what I need to get out for dinner tomorrow, whether the socks have been washed, whether I finished all the projects at work…infact, am I even making the right choices at work.  Wait…sorry..that’s right…we’re reading…

So..this is it. The next 6mths I’m jumping on the meditation wagon. Properly. For real. I’m going to become one of those people who gets up at 5am and sits cross legged for an hour by the candlelight with a cushion. Ok, I’m not going to do that. But I am going to try to do my 15min of breathing and quiet reflection for as many days in a row as I can manage. If I miss a day, I’ll get right back on the horse.

Who knows what will work for me, but lets give it a shot and see how we go. Got any tips?