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.