Monday, January 2, 2012

Ten Minutes a Day

Oh, January. The resolve that hits me of all the things I want to do with this new year, this new beginning: have more houseplants (and keep them alive), go out into nature more, read more books, write more, take pictures, play my guitar, organize my house, be present with Jacob. The list could go on.... Really, though, the longer it gets, the more unrealistic it is to accomplish all of it. Over the past couple of years, I've tried to narrow it down to own word. One word to focus on, to bring me back to my idea for the year. That works better. Still, by June, I'm usually forgetting to remember the word. 

This year, I want to focus on a word or idea. But also, I want to treat each month a bit like a "new year". I want to try and pick something to focus on each month and really put effort into it and see how it goes. Never having done this before, I'm not sure how it will really go, but it's an experiment. Even if it doesn't go the way I think I want it to, I'll still be learning something from it. That's the great thing about experiments. 

January, then. Ten minutes a day. Meditation. This, in and of itself, is a big goal. How hard is it to sit down for ten minutes, just ten, each day and just sit and breathe? It'd be easier to ask me to mow the lawn every day or jog for a mile, I think, than sit still. But that's the point! Recently, my brain has been trying to take over. It won't stop talking to me, telling me things that I "should"be doing or "have"to be doing or want to be doing. It sometimes feels like a swirling pool of energy low in my chest that is trying to rise up and smother me. I work at pushing it down, sometimes successfully, lots of times not. I think it's getting worse as I get older. I do not want to live this way. I do not want to feel so out of control over my "to do" list.

I thought about lots of other things to begin my year - organizing being one of the top contenders. And I'm sure I will do plenty of that. But that is also my go-to activity when I can't settle my brain. So, I need to head right into the scariest thing - doing "nothing".  My brain likes to tell me that if I'm not doing anything productive, then I'm wasting my time or that I'm not worthy. But it all depends on how you define the word productive. Meditation has plenty of proven benefits: more control over your life and reactions, better health, better sleep, better posture, more calm. 

So, here goes experiment number 1.

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