Sunday, January 8, 2012

Taking the time

As I've been taking my ten minutes of meditation time each day, I have noticed some interesting things. 

I've had a couple conversations about taking time for oneself. From another mom, "How do you have time to meditate?" My answer: I make it. There is not enough time in a day to do all that I want. That's a realization that helped me change how I spend the time I do have. If I agree that there isn't enough time, and that there won't ever be enough time, to do all I want, then I try my best to choose my actions wisely. What do I really want to be doing with my time? Sure, there are jobs that just need to be done (i.e. paying bills, eating, grocery shopping). But there is a huge grey area of things that "could" be done: cleaning the house, organizing papers, exercising, dancing, writing, hiking, watching movies, reading, filing, making lists, ironing. I get to choose (thankfully) if I'm going to do any of those things and how often. So, I have made a conscious decision to make time, every day, to have ten minutes of quiet. For me. The other day my yoga teacher made a very poignant comment. We were just starting class, doing some breathing, turning inward and quieting our minds. She said, "If this is the hardest thing for you to do, then you need to do it more often." 

The other thing I've noticed is that I have been looking forward to my ten minutes each day. I kind of have it on my internal "to do" list, but I find that I am glad to have it. Granted, it's only been a week. But of week is more consistent than I've been in the past. Just today, I was feeling frustrated. About parenting, being needed/demanded, having other things on my brain that I wanted to get to. I had twenty minutes before my pilates class. Instead of going through more papers or organizing something or just wandering about aimlessly thinking of the things I could do, should do, but feeling paralyzed to start any of them, I sat down and took my ten minutes. It was a little difficult to completely quiet my mind, but it was a vast improvement from before. 

There is an image I have also used recently during my meditation. When I feel that I can't let go of something, that there is too much rattling around up there, I think of this image. A person (me) standing right up next to some prison bars. I'm gripping them tightly and peeking through the slots. Then, I look around me and see that there are bars nowhere else around me. It is only me trapping myself. My mind. I then tell myself, simply and without judgement, to step away from the bars. What freedom! I can physically feel the difference.

Our brains tell us all sorts of falsehoods. It is hard to catch them sometimes because we've been hearing them our whole lives: If I don't do everything, no one else will; If I'm not productive, I'm a failure; If I don't make money, I'm not worth anything. There are ways to retrain your brain out of these patterns, but it takes time and practice. By taking this time for me, I'm starting to see through some of my own untruths. For help, I reference Steering by Starlight by Martha Beck. 

The fact remains that no one else is going to give you your time. Or, rather, other people are sometimes more likely to give you some time than you are, but their ability to do so is limited. It is up to you to take your time. And enjoy it.

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