I joined Inscape's 21 day of Meditation. Scientist say that it takes 21 days to form a habit-- Inscape has provided an accountability group, with guided meditations and exercises to strengthen the home practice. Last night marked one week. I have tried to establish a routine in this "new normal" situation. I am a firm believer in the power of meditation, yet it's really tough to establish a routine that you stick to day in and day out. In my practice, outside of this program, I do a lot more movement meditation than still and count on my body as a guide. Time to time I sit and breath and listen, use apps for guided meditations, and usually feel pretty in tune when in savasana.
I want to document my experience at each end of this 3 week journey. My do's, don'ts, realizations, and methods. I am embarking on this with my partner, so there is the factor of making space in time for two people, adding another level of creating routine. I have added a level to the challenge, which is to journal my observances immediately after the practice. Just a couple sentences to revisit as I finish the challenge and hopefully carry this into each day following.
In our first week, the biggest obstacle has been picking a time for the practice. We wake up differently. I, usually in a rush and just minutes before class starts (thank goodness for doing school in my boxers)... He rests a little longer and focuses on our breakfast, kitties, and cleaning. The Inscape app and prompts are on my phone, so it is easiest for us to practice together. All that being said, we usually defer our practice to the evening. This week we have been experimenting with two different times: right before we start dinner and right before we go to bed.
Before Dinner: Usually around 7pm-- I finish school meetings between 6-6:45 each day. I wanted to see if dropping in to meditation right after a long day of screen time was adequate. We choose before dinner as it is nice to observe the body less full. 7pm has been a little difficult. As it has been the buffer between either school/dinner+chilling or school/dinner+more school, it is challenging to harness focus and be present here. I could see this working well if it were a normal scenario, where I get home from campus, get cozy, and meditate before eating, but without the change in scenery, we both agree that 7pm is a hard time to focus.
Before Bed: We have listened to the tasks from bed for half of the week. This is Dylan's preferred time. He enjoys lying down during the practice. I have mixed feelings about this time. I believe it could be a really nice end to the day, but for me to get the fullest out of my practice, I need to feel it in separation from lying down to sleep. I will admit, this timing helps with drifting off and usually offers a really good night of rest, but as a productive, integrated practice, this is not the best time. In best case scenario, we would continue this practice with a more restful, sleep focused meditation while also having practiced earlier in the day, upright and intentional. The nights we have practiced from bed, I wait to journal and write the first thing when I wake up. This has been a nice way to start the day, but a little less present when talking about the meditation considering the nearly 7 hours of deep sleep between the two.
Our prompts this week have consisted of mostly stress reducing focus.
Day 1: CLEAR YOUR MIND
Day 2: NEW CLARITY
Day 3: RELIEVE ANXIETY
Day 4: REVITALIZE ME
Day 5: EARTH'S LIGHT
Day 6: INNER STRENGTH
Day 7: UNLOCK CREATIVITY
Day 5 and 6 fell on the weekend and I must admit, even in shelter in place, it is hard form me to get anything done, school and meditation practice included. We will be making these up within this week, doing 2 meditations Tuesday and Thursday.
This week, we are excited to explore earlier times that work best. Setting a wake-up and meditate time and also trying as a lunch break.
I guess one of the main things I want to gather, is what I truly get from the practice and how it immediately helps in each situation of time and topic. My favorite task was UNLOCK CREATIVITY. We did this practice from bed after a 10 hour studio work day for me. In this week prepping for finals it is full force, sometimes feeling like I have no space to create aimlessly and that if I don't stick closely to the plan, things will not get finished. I was able to disconnect my thoughts and expectations of my school work in the practice focused on creativity and let my mind roam. I felt in tuned with the rise and fall of my belly as the source, and envisioned color as my breath moved and pushed to all extents of the rest of my body, into physical space.
I would say my stress level overall for the past couple of weeks has not been too high. I've just felt pressure to try to maintain my healthy practice of movement in a new space. I look forward to wrapping up this semester and plan to get back to a daily full body practice, integrate a daily connection to nature, and continue with my still meditation practice.
I am using this 21 day challenge to explore and understand what works best for me and why. It is obvious that there can be many right ways, but it is necessary to explore them all and understand when to use them. Meditation is a great tool for breath and introspection. It is not the easiest practice and maybe that is what makes it so rewarding.
In summary, I would say my night time practice works from a less pushed, driven sort of routine. I have really enjoyed the lax nature of this "new normal" and it has been easy to fall into a total state of rest with little obligation. The challenge this week is to not just meditate when there is free time, but set a time to start of the day with the practice. I am looking forward to results on day 14. I am sooooooo happy to talk with you about meditation. Please reach out if any of this strikes you, if you have any advice or just want to learn more. I am here to remind both you and myself the importance of stillness and connecting to Self.
What does your stillness practice look like these days?