35 Days of Meditation

10 Oct

I’ve been flaky about blogging because in honor of my 35th birthday, I decided to embark on a different kind of self-reflection process. Blogging helped me understand my stuck-ness in this transition and I finally got to the place where I could be proactive. I wanted to do something active and simple without the pressure of reaching a goal besides just doing it. One of my favorite quotes these days, “You can’t achieve a life”, echoed in my mind.

So, I picked 10 activities to each do for 35 days straight throughout the year. I just completed my first activity: meditation. Prior to this, I had only attempted meditation twice before, once at the East Bay Meditation Center and once with Blue Jaguar in LA. Guided meditation in community was great, but I wasn’t ready. A friend recommended metta meditation – intentionally feeling and projecting love and gratitude for all.

On day 1, I started with one minute (just mindful breathing). I started easy and added a minute each day, eventually building to 35 minutes. I did pretty good days 1-10. I sent love to myself, my niece, my sisters, friends going through hard times, co-workers. I marveled at how my “being” knew which people seemed “right” in that moment and which people I wasn’t ready for.

I started losing it around day 20. My trustworthy ability to focus started to unravel: “May Jason be happy. May Jason be healthy… I really want an iced coffee. May Jason go to Starbucks. Uh… I mean, may Jason be strong. Wait, it’s supposed to be safe. May Jason be safe. What time is it? Oh, I have to text my sister. Put that thought aside. May my sister be at peace. I wonder if that sounds like she’s dead. Hmm, I think the term is ‘at rest’. Wait, who was I focusing on again? … Jason! May Jason be at peace. Whew, glad I got through that. Who should I think about now? It would be weird to focus on an ex-boyfriend. I wonder how so-and-so is doing now. That’s weird, stop wondering about that.”

As things started getting more difficult as I inched closer to 30 minute sits, I was delighted to discover meditation at the beach. The gentle ocean breeze ensured that I didn’t fall asleep and the recurring sound of waves calmed my mind. OC helping me meditate, who knew?

I’ll admit I was relieved when day 35 arrived. No life-changing insights or shifted paradigms, just the wonder of small things. The miracle of breath. The calm found in quiet. The warmth of gratitude. The relief in self-forgiveness.

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