I Hate To Meditate

I hate to meditate. Hate it.

I sit down, set the timer, and every single day it’s the same freaking shit storm in there. Mind spinning every which way, or else catching myself before the face-plant into unconsciousness.

When the timer goes off, I think: Well, that was a flipping mess. And then go on about my day.

I try not to miss a day.

If you want to be more focused, more creative, more patient, and happier, sit down every day and do this:

Set a timer for 10 minutes. Sit with your back straight and don’t move your skin.

That’s it.

Don’t let your skin move. Not the skin between your toes and fingers, or the skin on your scalp, or the skin on your lips.

Everything else can move. Your heart can beat, your lungs can fill and empty, your blood can course through your veins, just don’t move your skin.

Your can let your mind go crazy planning the future or chewing on the past, just don’t move your skin.

That’t it. When the timer goes off, you’re done. Get up and get on with it.

Why do this

Because as soon as you sit down and shut up, you will encounter yourself. You will notice what you think about the most, what you worry and obsess about, and what you fantasize about.

“You become what you think about all day long.” ~ Emerson

And once you start noticing the stuff you think about all day long (which this habit of a 10 minute “still skin” meditation will reveal to you) you will know what to do with your life.

You will start the needed renovations. You will dream up projects and schemes. You will recognize what makes you happy and what doesn’t and start weeding out the unhappy. You will start making conscious choices about how you spend your time.

You will not only begin to know yourself, you will start editing and modifying yourself for maximum happiness and the achievement of your maximum human potential.

You will know who you want to be, and you will start being it.

You will find yourself more focused and creative, more patient and compassionate. Your life will get livelier. You will have more energy to do things, and more ideas for what to do.

I don’t why this happens, (that’s a lie, I do know why) but the why isn’t important. You can read about the why in tons of books. Or just Google “benefits of meditation” and follow links forever.

There are books, and courses, and yoga centers, and support online that can teach you countless techniques and tell you all the whys. Or you can just try keeping your skin still for 10 minutes every day and find out for yourself.

And oh you will.

You will.

Tending Things

We tend gardens. And children. And some of us tend to the sick.

Today I tended to my bills, my accounts, my business. I watered the plants, switched the pictures around on the walls, dusted the sills, folded all the blankets and lined them up neatly on the rack.

I tended my meditation practice, and my yoga practice.

I tended my students, and then, afterwards, my friendships.

To tend things is to watch over them, to protect them (when possible), to keep them from harm.

To tend is to pay attention, to mind, to watch.

To tend is to be human, and kind, and appreciative.

Today I tended things.

A Good Yoga Week

It was a good week. I feel especially happy about my morning practice at the studio. I have a home practice area, but the studio is really sweet. I love the gleaming hardwood floors, the skylights, even the smell which is combination of floor polish, and witch hazel.

I practiced by myself for the most part this week. One day Cheryl joined me for awhile, then changed and left for school (she’s a teacher.)

I sit in the front as the teacher, but I much prefer the back corner for my solo practice. Here is my little setup.

IMG_1649

 

IMG_1648

 

I light the candle, put on a little soft music and begin. Most mornings I start with some strap stretches for my hamstrings. I looked up and saw my toes sillouetted in the skylight.

IMG_1646 (2)

 

On Wednesday afternoon I taught a Chair Yoga workshop at the University, so on Wednesday morning I  “road tested” my sequence.

IMG_1653

 

My practice tends to start soft because I am tired and stiff in the morning, but by by the end of the hour I am moving and breathing well and feeling great.

I felt really “glowy” yesterday and took this selfie to remind myself how serene and happy yoga makes me feel.

IMG_1663 (1)After I finish the physical practice I turn the music off and sit meditation for 20 minutes. When I open my eyes, I see this.

IMG_1647

 

FullSizeRender (4)

Yeah, It was a good yoga week.

Namaste, everybody.

 

 

How many streaks are too many?

I want to start another streak. A yoga streak. I need to get my personal practice back. Bad.

The other day I subscribed to Udaya so that I would have lots of classes to choose from and no excuses. My pre-streak started today when I woke up, took a hot shower, slathered myself in coconut oil, put on my yoga togs and walked to Sandy’s class.

Hip openers were on the menu today, and they were sweet. I so appreciate being able to take a class, and not have to teach all the time.  I took Lisa’s spot in the back corner. Now I know why she likes it back there. It’s cozy, you’re under the skylight, and you have the illusion you can’t be seen by the teacher.

(You’re wrong of course, but it’s still nice to pretend.)

I am counting today as day 1 of what I hope will grow into a 108 Day yoga streak.  But it won’t be an official streak until Day 10, which will be April 29th, just as the Yoga Challenge is winding down. *Fingers crossed.*

(I have written extensively about how to start streaks, pick streaks, the benefits of streaking, and what to do when your streak ends.)

The only way I can stay consistent with anything is if I make a Streak out of it. Today is my 60th consecutive blog post here, for example. Even if I wind up writing drivel some days, I am going to see how long I can keep this going.

I am also tending a meditation streak and this week I will hit 80 consecutive days without a break. (Previously, my longest streak was 120 days.)

I am also back to writing in 750words. Here’s what my homepage looks like today:

750 words full size screen shot

 

My longest streak on that platform was 1029 days. I have just about every badge on that platform except the NaNo badge. Next month I am going for it, which will entail writing 50K words in 1 month.

What this means is that I will be tending 4 streaks simultaneously: Blogging, Meditation, Yoga, and 750words.

I love how these streaks both structure my days, and add value to my life as they keep me aligned with my highest goals and aspirations.

But I also know the more streaks I have going, the greater the probability that I will bonk. It’s like juggling. Two balls are easy, it’s when you add the third and the fourth balls that you court disaster.

Disaster here I come.

Sit Down. Shut Up. Don’t Move.

Remember Freeze Tag?

If someone tagged you, you had to stand like a statue until someone “unfroze” you.

Yeah. So here’s what you do:

You take a timer (I like this one) and set it for 10 minutes.  Sit down in a chair and try not to move a muscle for 10 minutes.

When the timer goes off, you’re “unfrozen.”

If you do this every day, you will know what you are supposed to do with your life very, very soon.  Some people call this “meditation” but you don’t have to.  You can call it “paying attention to your life.” Call it anything you like, just do it.

Start a streak.

4 Goals For The Next 12 Weeks

This morning during my meditation, I was forced to confront the fact that my project has slowed down. (Who am I kidding? It has come to a halt. Not a screeching halt. Just a quiet, rubbery thud of a halt. Which is the worst kind: a thud can go unnoticed, but a screech gets your attention.

Ever since I took those 12 people through the exercises in the book to see if they really worked, I never got back to it.

I let the fire go out. Okay, not entirely. There is still a soft bed of glowing ash that could easily be coaxed back to a roaring blaze with a few pumps of a bellows, but I need to blow on that sucker!  I need to get back to it and finish it, and SHIP IT

It is all sitting in Scrivener but it is a holy mess. I keep wondering if I should take the time and go back to the LearnScrivenerFast videos and figure out how to bring this beast of a manuscript into some kind of order? Or is that just a procrastination project?

Am I just using Scrivener to distract myself from the discomfort of having to deal with an unwieldy piece of writing?

Or,  would time spent reacquainting myself with some of the features of Scrivener be time well invested because I would then have mastery over this amazing piece of writing software for the duration of my writing career? (i.e. the rest of my life.)

So I sat on my chair with my Insight Timer on my lap, and quote, unquote “meditated.”

I watched the panic surge up. I watched my confusion. I focused on the sound of the space heater’s fan, my own breathing, and the high-pitched tone of my tinnitis.

When the gong sounded, I slowly opened my eyes and the first thing I noticed was the pile of Pick 4 books on the bed.

I had gotten them out thinking I would send one to my new health coaching client, but as it turns out, I am not going to be working with her after all.

This Pick 4 book is a “goal setting” tool. I bought these for myself, but also to give to my clients at the recommendation of Seth Godin, who re-packaged this Zig Ziglar piece of magic, and wrote a new introductory  “reframe” for it. I tried it myself way back when, and although I had high hopes, I never kept up with it.

Today though, it gave me a mega-jolt of inspiration.

So I sat down and recommitted to 4 new goals for the next 12 weeks:

Number 1: Finish and Ship this book.

Number 2: Become an expert in Scrivener.

Number 3: Get really, really, really strong. 

Number 4: Express gratitude daily.

Every morning, Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 9 AM: Work on the book.

I will work on Scrivener on the weekends.

I will talk to Vince on Tuesday and we will set some SMART goals for the next 12 weeks of strength training.

And I have hatched a Thank-you note scheme for my loyal yoga students to fulfill the Gratitude goal.

I worked a long time in Scrivener today, and now it is time for bed because my 12 week plan starts tomorrow.

Wish me luck.

The Unlived Dream

Everyone has an unlived dream inside them.  Everyone. 

I have never met a single person who did not have an unlived dream. 

Most people spend the majority of their time trying to distract themselves from their unlived dream because they believe that they can’t live it, and that thought gives them a lot of pain so why do that to themselves?  Why not settle for the livable dream. 

There are lots of dreams, after all.  We live some of them and other ones, well, they’re just not practical or realistic, or possible.  So we go through life distracting ourselves from them.

But what would happen if we didn’t?  What if we gave ourselves a few minutes every day to look at our unlived dream? 

We don’t have to DO anything about this dream. At least not right now. But what if we could just muster up the courage to look it in the face. Stare it down. Get to know it. Let it know us.

What if we gave ourselves permission to fantasize about teaching yoga in Costa Rica every winter, or owning our own business, or writing that book, or sailing to Fiji, or building a big addition onto our house, or having a kid, or acting like a kid, or owning a beach house, or reaching our ideal weight and staying there for the rest of our lives?

What if we made it a habit to think about this stuff every day?

What if we devoted 10 minutes a day to this stare-down and called it “meditation”?

What if we faced down these unlived dreams and did not flinch under their accusations of “impractical” or “unrealistic”?

What if instead of dismissing them we bowed to them? What if we acknowledged them? Lit a candle to them and built a little shrine to them inside our hearts?

Can we afford this risk? Can we even entertain the possibility that this small, seemingly inconsequential act might enliven us?

And worse. Can we risk the fallout of igniting these unlived dreams? How could we possibly endure the inevitable fallout of failure and disappointment and exhaustion?

Your unlived dream is the light in you. It gives you your glow, your luster, your sparkle. It’s the light I see and bow to when I say, “Namaste” to you.

It’s my scary, impractical, impossible unlived dream you bow to when you say it back.

Namaste.Mardi Gras Buddha Dog