Just Unceremoniously Come Back To It
March 9, 2016
I love my daily breathing/meditation practice. I love writing in my journal. I love cooking myself healthy food. I love sitting in my favorite chair with a steaming hot cup of tea. I love diving into a good book that is nearly impossible to put down. I love practicing yoga, and walking in nature, and lazy Sunday mornings spent lounging in bed. I love the feeling of having a clean house….
But sometimes I get busy, or I’m not feeling well, or life happens, and without even realizing it, I get out of the routine of doing these things I love.
At first, it’s no big deal. “We’re human, it happens,” I tell myself. Then another day goes by, and another, and another, and another, and all the while, the tension builds and my judgment mind gets activated:
- “Jeez, I haven’t written in my journal for two months! Now I can’t write in my journal until I have enough time to catch up on *everything* that has happened since I last wrote. How will I ever find the time? Maybe this weekend…?”
- “Wow, I haven’t done my nighttime Presence Process breathing/meditation practice in three weeks. What’s wrong with me? I should probably start the 10-week process all over again. Or maybe I should just give up…?”
- “Crap, I can’t even remember the last time I spent time in nature. I better plan a long hike. This weekend is full, but maybe there will be time next weekend…?”
- “Ugh, it’s been months since I last blogged. After such a long delay, the next thing I write needs to be spectacular. It needs to be worth the wait. What will I say? I’ll never come up with something good enough. Better think about it for a few more days…”
As time goes on, it starts to feel as though just simply coming back to doing the things I love is not enough. Since I haven’t done those things for so long, I start to believe that I need to “make up for lost time” by doing them better – more fully – more completely – more perfectly – than before. And because this proposition is utterly overwhelming, I put them off until another day… and there is a distinct possibility that “another day” will never come.
Recently I have been trying a different approach. A stripped-down, imperfect, unceremonious, just do it, kind of a thing:
- Haven’t written in my journal for two months? Tonight I will pull it out, dust off the cobwebs and write a paragraph. Maybe it will turn into more, maybe not. Either way, I’m going to put pen to paper and that always feels good.
- Haven’t done my nighttime Presence Process breathing/meditation practice in three weeks? Oh well, doesn’t mean I can’t do a 15-minute session right now!
- Haven’t spent time in nature in what feels like forever? How about a simple walk around the block? I can appreciate the flowers, trees, insects, and be reminded about how easy it is to commune with nature in any setting.
- Haven’t blogged in months? Perfect, I’ll write a blog post about my struggles with writing a blog post. Other people will probably relate – who hasn’t felt blocked at one time or another?
It doesn’t have to be a big production. Like a deep exhale, this approach takes the pressure off. It shifts my focus from thinking about how I should be doing something to simply doing it. No need for a big ceremony. No need to catch up. No need to berate myself or even feel bad. Just unceremoniously do it. It’s that simple.
Rebekah is a team volunteer for the Awareness Institute.
March 10, 2016
Love this! Thanks Rebekah. I can totally relate to this. When I’ve fallen off the wagon, I also like to add in a vow that I will not let this happen again, which is really just another setup for disappointment down the road. Let’s accept what is and move on.
March 10, 2016
Whew! I’m not the only one! Thanks for sharing. The self- recrimination is just silly and I know it. Take baby steps if needed like sitting in my car waiting for it to warm up in the mornings is a good time to do a mindful meditation to get the day off to a good start. If I have more time later great!
March 11, 2016
I can soooooo relate to this! And thank you for the permission to not have to make starting up again look like my idea of perfect <3