Monday, October 1
It seems entirely auspicious that October 1, the first day of my 30-day meditation journey, falls on a Monday. It’s the start of a new week in one of my favorite months of the year—what a great way to embark on a practice I’ve been interested in for, literally, years.
I wake up early Monday morning (relatively easy, considering I had a restful weekend) all bright-eyed about meditating. I tiptoe downstairs to avoid waking the hubs and two sleeping babes, only to step in a cold, wet mess of cat puke that left me hopping and whisper-cursing. So much for tranquility.
That’s OK, a quick clean-up and I’m off to make some tea. I peek through the blinds over the kitchen sink, hoping the sky will be a lovely pink and I can take advantage of the last of the warm mornings and meditate on my screened-in porch as the sun rises. Pitch dark and not-so-picturesque. OK, fine. A pillow on the living room floor will do.
I keep my phone close by so I know how much time has passed. I get comfortable in lotus position and close my eyes. Inhale, exhale. Try to sit mostly still. This is OK. Oh, wait! Maybe I should light a candle! I hop up (not even one minute has passed) and light a couple of scented candles. Wonderful. Back to lotus position. My goal is 10 minutes, which seems reasonable. I sneak a peek at my phone. Three minutes have passed. And that includes the candle-lighting. This may prove to be tricky.
Tuesday, October 2
Yesterday wasn’t a huge success, but it was a start. I’m bound to find a routine before too long. I’ve been devout with my yoga practice for years, so surely this can’t be too different. I recently finished reading Priscilla Warner’s book Learning to Breathe, about her journey to overcome anxiety through meditation. As someone who has had her fair share of panic attacks, I renew my vow to get serious about meditation. Today, I light the candles before I sit down (See, I’m learning!) and settle in.
Wednesday, October 3
I can see I’m going to need to look into this and prepare myself a bit more than just my candle-lighting ritual (if, after two days, you could even call it a ritual). I thought I could just plop down on a cozy pillow and go for it, but thoughts are constantly flying through my mind, and I’m easily distracted by any external stimuli. (Was that the baby? I’m a little cold. I can still smell last night’s stir fry.) Meditation is proving to be something that is simple, but not easy. After an agonizing 10 minutes on my pillow, when all I accomplish is reminding myself of the meetings that I need to schedule and the laundry that I forgot in the washing machine last night, I decide to find a few books and websites and learn some more about this ancient, scientifically sound, and illusive practice.
Thursday, October 4
My baby is teething and my 3-year-old is covered in what looks like chicken pox. I’ve been up and down all night with both of them. Surely I can skip just one day and still find a rhythm with this? I turn the alarm off.
But I got my second wind late this afternoon, so I’ll try an evening meditation instead. Maybe this will actually be a more sensible time to quiet my mind and be still. Warner mentions Sharon Salzberg in her book, so I looked up her website today and, boom, she’s got the perfect book for me, called Real Happiness, The Power of Meditation, A 28-Day Program. I’ll look for it this weekend. The ultimate CliffsNotes to my commitment!
Friday, October 5
Last night was lovely, and meditation was a great ending to the day. I made it eight full minutes without checking the time and I didn’t feel too antsy or bored. I had been pretty productive during the day, so not much was on my mind as I sat on my pillow next to my candles. The thoughts that came into my head didn’t have that stressful, urgent weight to them that I felt when I meditated first thing in the morning. Then, the whole day was ahead of me and I was eager to just get going already. So here’s my first meditation breakthrough: Nighttime is better for me! Now I’m really getting somewhere.