It has long been one of my intentions to start a daily practice that improves my mindfulness and meditation. While the woo-woo side of meditation doesn’t appeal to my pragmatic personality, the introverted side of me definitely embraces the concept.
A little time by myself? Quiet reflection? Focusing on my breath, and minimizing the mental dialogue? Sign me up.
That sounds lovely.
So one of my intentions for this Finding Freedom journey was to commit to a daily ritual of meditation. And wouldn’t a daily practice like that come in so handy in the midst of the holiday hub-bub?
*It also would have proven particularly useful during my recent health scare.
So – How’s The Mindfulness & Meditation Going?
This is the post where I would like to tell you all about how enlightening and life changing the experience has been. That I highly recommended meditation to anyone and everyone.
That it is the perfect recipe for a peaceful and contended Christmas……..and so forth.
But sadly, I have failed quite considerably at this intention. Honest truth? I’ve done it about 6 times in the last 6 months.
Don’t get me wrong, I had great PLANS to meditate, but every time I actually go to sit down and do it, something else on my “to do” list seems more urgent.
I think that’s called procrastination. Wait, I’m just going to head over and review Tim Urban’s post on procrastination………..
Yup. That’s it.
And procrastinate I have. Every single day I have found a mountain of reasons to “do it later”. The literal translation of which boiled down to “never”.
Which of course made me want to procrastinate writing this blog post.
The Good News
What I haven’t procrastinated on, is reading about meditation.
I read Dan HARRIS’ book, 10% Happier, which delves into his on-air panic attack and subsequent journey on the pathway of meditation. (It’s also on my list of top 11 Personal Finance books you won’t find in the Finance section!)
Overall I feel pretty well researched on the topic and I have a clear idea of what I want to accomplish in my daily ten minute ritual. But then, I just haven’t executed.
On the upside, I did actually go to a group meditation class with my sister-in-law, which was a pretty interesting experience. It was a little more spiritually focussed then what I’m looking for in a practice, but definitely worthwhile to go and experience.
I also downloaded the Waking Up app by Sam Harris and his team, and promptly sped through all of the free audio content about WHY meditation is so good for you.
And then did exactly ZERO of the free meditation sessions.
So Why Am I Being Such a Procrastinator?
Generally speaking, I rarely procrastinate. My motto is pretty consistently “I’ve got to get it done” (which has it’s own issues.)
But it made me ask the question, why am I having such a difficult time with a ten minute daily commitment?
After some careful introspection, I think I’ve identified a few obstacles.
Meditation & Mindfulness Issue #1
I don’t particularly like it when my mind is unoccupied. For me, a quiet mind is an uncomfortable place to be. The safe zone is when my mind is heavily occupied: with the task at hand, what’s next on the to-do list, reading a book, anything but idle.
Having said that, this is also a major reason while I feel meditation is an area I need to explore. Learning to be more mindful of my thoughts and how they influence my actions and behaviour, is a skill I could really use. The ability to get that hamster off the wheel AND feel good about it.
Correcting this issue is going to be a challenge for me, but I think acknowledging it is definitely a step in the right direction. It’s uncomfortable, but that’s kind of the point.
I also think taking a lesson from the beginners guides I have read will be helpful. Specifically, starting off paying attention to my breath. Focusing on that will give me a jumping off point to work from.
Meditation & Mindfulness Issue #2
Here’s the most simple part of my failure to do this. I didn’t schedule it in. I thought – oh, I’ll just fit this into my day whenever I feel like it. Bad idea. As the saying goes, something that can be done anytime, is often never done.
In order to correct this, I’ve decided on a specific time during the day to implement this practice and schedule it in. For me – it’s going to be right before bed. If I try to do it in the morning, I’ll have to constantly fight my urge to just get on with my day (and my to do list). At night, I’ll be better able to relax, and focus on the technique.
Meditation & Mindfulness Issue #3
I haven’t paired meditation with anything else in my life. And as any habit guru will tell you, one of the strongest ways to ensure a habit sticks, is by pairing it with something else you regularly do.
Given that I’ll be aiming to mediate at night, my plan is to incorporate it into my bedtime routine, so that it becomes part of my evening ritual. Making me a lot less likely to skip, or simply forget to do it.
Meditation & Mindfulness Issue #4
Ahem……okay…..here’s where my frugality is getting in the way of my health and wellness. The in person classes are anywhere from $12-20 per class. That’s fine – I felt no objection to paying that.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything suitable located in a convenient proximity to my house. And if I’ve learned anything about myself and appointments this year, it’s that if it’s not conveniently located, I won’t be going.
So in person classes were out. Next I looked at apps. There’s lots of free stuff out there, but I wanted something a bit more……..sciencey. So I downloaded the Waking Up App, with the full intention of signing up for the paid subscription.
And then I didn’t, and didn’t, and didn’t.
There’s something about paying $20 for a monthly subscription that directly conflicts with my frugal nature.
But after some MINDFUL thought on the topic – if I’m willing to pay 20 bucks a pop to go to a class, why shouldn’t I be willing to pay $20 per month for access to amazing content? It’s the internet era part of me that is resisting the idea of paying for content.
I need to get over that. So I pulled the trigger and paid for the subscription (now I also feel compelled to use it!)
Armed with these four little nuggets of insight, I plan to clear my path of these hurdles and be meditating my way through the holiday season. Wish me luck.
Do you meditate? Have you found it useful? What tricks do you use to ensure you incorporate it into your day to day life? Let us know in the comment section. Clearly – I could use the help!
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