I woke up this morning with my blog on my mind and I said Write Girl Write! It has been so long since I have been moved to write. That was until this past week where I took on a new challenge in my life, something to practice a daily meditation EVERY day for 40 days.
So where am I in this challenge? I am on day 4, I think! And while it may sound pretty easy, it has been my experience that easy is as easy does. The hardest part is getting myself down and on that damned mat! Once I am there I find myself seeking out more yoga, breath work and meditations to practice. The effort comes not from the actual act of the meditation; the effort comes in getting my ass onto that mat. And even as I type, there it sits, right in front of me, beckoning me to sit, waiting for me to occupy. (I am coming, just let me get this written!!)
The theory here is that it takes 40 days to make or break a habit and yes, this is a habit that I want in my life. To be fair and kind it is a habit that I have incorporated some days and the truth of the matter is that those are the days where I find myself flowing through the day with less effort. In short it allows me to be who I am, wherever I am, whomever I am with.
If we believe we are human beings then being is really what we are meant to do, right? But even as I sit and begin my practice on the mat my mind is swirling with the list of things I must get done. We are NOT human doings, and yet, so much of our self worth is measured in how much we do! I find it harder and harder to meditate with this spring air, bright sunshine and not to mention a full moon that has kept me up for the past 2 nights! So in essence you could make the leap that I NEED this time to myself in stillness even more. And I do!
I was in a restaurant the other day; the first day of this 40-day challenge and the waitress walked over to our table and asked if she could interrupt. She then went on to say that she wished she had had a camera because in all of her years of waitressing, never had she seen someone who was so completely in the moment. She went on to describe how I was looking and listening to my lunch date with such presence. She then thanked us and made her way away from the table. I tucked that gem away in my back pocket as a reminder of just how important it is to have that phone away in my purse, to make eye contact and to “really” listen.
She said I was “in the moment”. In the moment is where I strive to be, but with a very busy mind, a phone, ipad and laptop at my fingertips and so much to “do” it is rare to actually be there.
As I walk into one of my schools after the quarter has closed, there is an enormous banner celebrating all of those in the school who made the honors list. First glance seems benign enough, unless of course you were one point away from making any of those lists or even if you were miles away from making that list, the bottom line is that if you are not there, well you pretty much suck. You didn’t DO enough to make the list of the elites.
I see so much time spent on busy work when I am in classrooms. The language is all about what is and isn’t done! There is a done work basket, there are finished folders, lists of things to get done in the morning while the teacher meets with other students, but the idea of just being with a book or a piece of writing for an extended period of time doesn’t seem like enough anymore! This worries me, as that sense of getting lost in a book or in one’s own writing or wondering and inquiring in science or social studies is a critical part of becoming real learners. I cringe when I hear teachers telling kids to put their book away to complete a worksheet on silent e. So they comply, follow directions to get that busy work worksheet done, even though they were living and breathing silent e’s in their own reading. Sometimes I want to yell out, STOP the madness! Just let them BE!!
The rate of yogi’s and yoga studios has increased like wildfire across this nation. Yoga means union and the ultimate purpose of yoga practice is to prepare one to meditate. Movement before stillness. Doing to “be”. In this age of technology that continues to move at warp speed it is easy to get caught in the fast lane, moving forward, forward, forward…but towards what? From pre-school to the best kindergarten, from Elementary school to Middle to High School to get into the very best colleges. The race is on, but you know what? At the end of all of that education you still have people seeking out a way to make meaning of their lives and hopefully a place to work that allows them to live and work with purpose. If we are always looking ahead at the next step then we are never really here? Are we? The idea of slowing down, taking the back roads to just wind one’s way through the countryside is where I want to be and I believe it is where many of us want to be, but we can’t because we are so revved up and moving too quickly to even realize there are options.
So today, like the next 36 days, I will get myself to that mat, I will meditate, do some yoga and notice. I will “do” the practice to “be”. And while I know every day will be far from rosy, at least I will have that time every day to sit in stillness, to remember why I am here and fully embrace the notion of being, for at least 3 minutes each day. Now onto that mat!