So one of my intentions for March was to commit to a daily ritual of meditation in an effort to reduce my overall chronic pain. 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……..and so forth.
Sadly, I have failed quite considerably at this intention. Honest truth? I haven’t done it – not one single time. Don’t get me wrong, I have had great PLANS to meditate, but every time I actually went to sit down and do it, something else on my “to do” list seemed more urgent. (I think that’s called procrastination.)
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 :). What I haven’t procrastinated 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. I read a bunch of blogs and how-to’s for beginner meditators, listened to a number of Tim FERRIS’ podcasts regarding meditation. Overall I felt pretty well researched on the topic and as though I had a clear idea of what I wanted to accomplish in my daily five (5) minutes.
And then I just didn’t do it. Epic fail…..I mean it’s not even like I tried! I didn’t even get my butt seated, or my meditation timer started, not once!
I’m not a huge procrastinator, generally speaking, which made me ask the question, why am I having such a difficult time with a five (5) minutes daily commitment? After some careful soul searching, I think I’ve identified a few things, one a little deeper than the other two, that were likely presenting significant speed bumps to my good intentions.
Issue #1: I don’t like it when my mind is “quiet” or “open”. This is something I’ve struggled with for several years, and I’m confident stems directly from my PTSD. For me, a quiet mind is a dangerous place to be and an open invitation to memories I don’t want to visit. The safe zone is when my mind is heavily occupied, 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 reason while I feel meditation is an area I need to explore. Learning to be more mindful of my thoughts is a skill I could really use. I guess I didn’t realize how powerful my aversion to this practice really was – but it has certainly come through loud and clear through my procrastinating.
Correction #1: Correcting this issue is going to be a challenge for me, but I think acknowledging it is definitely a step in the right direction.
I also think taking a lesson from the beginners guides I have read will be helpful, by starting off paying attention to my breath. Focusing on that will give me something to work with initially, and at least give me a jumping off point to work from.
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.
Correction #2: Decide on a specific time during the day to implement this practice and schedule it in. I still haven’t fully decided if the best time is right after I wake-up, or after my work-out, but I’m going to try each time for a week or so and see which I like better.
Issue #3: I am 9 months pregnant now. Sitting on a mat in the typical meditation style sounds awful, as does the idea of getting back up again! This is a silly one – but honestly, I can feel the pain in my lower abdomen just thinking about getting back up from the matt. I should have addressed this early on, and it’s a silly excuse in large part because everything I have read clearly says there is no “right” way to sit, and to find a position you can maintain.
Correction #3: Rather than sitting on the mat or a cushion on the floor, I am going to sit on my large physio ball (which is highly recommended for pregnant women). This will keep my hips open, spine straight, and just sitting on the ball for a few minutes each day has been recommended to me by my chiropractor and midwife about fifty (50) times over the past nine (9) months. So, not only will I be more comfortable, I will also be pairing the meditation with an ideal daily position to keep my body in line for the impending labor. Nothing to help a daily habit stick like a little pairing!
Armed with these three little nuggets of knowledge I’m confident I will be completing my first five (5) minute meditation first thing tomorrow morning. Wish me luck!
Next-Up: March’s Takeaways