Last week (actually, almost a week and a half ago, so January 22 to the 28) I committed to meditate every day. I picked this because I knew I was in a bit of a slump mentally and thought, honestly, it would be easy.
Never, ever assume anything will be easy is what I learned that week. Meditation, with the help of the app Headspace (a year-long subscription to which our school district gifted to us back in September), was really difficult for me, even for just five minutes. My legs would feel restless, my brain would wander around more than usual, and I just couldn’t get comfortable and in it.
What I learned, by the end of the week, was two things: One, if I wrote in my prayer journal before meditating, it made world of difference. I could concentrate, I felt more at peace, and was able to embrace those five minutes of mental and physical quiet. This was a great discovery for me, because it validated the idea that writing in my prayer journal does more than just help me document the ways in which God is present in my life (though that’s really important to me); writing in there actually has a physical and mental effect on my being.
The second thing I learned was that while I had hoped meditating would help calm and settle me, there were perhaps more effective ways to do that (though I haven’t given up entirely on meditation). Inspired by a blogger/IG person that I really love, Autumn at A Whole Story. A while back, she had shown a portion her morning routine on Facebook. It was super basic, just some stretching (she’s a yoga teacher) and writing in her planner to prep for the day. I saw that and thought to myself, “I CAN DO THAT.” And so I did.
It gave me exactly what I had hoped meditating would, a sense of calm and peace as I moved throughout the rest of my day. I think one of the biggest issues with meditation, for me, was that I really only could do it at night. I knew that even five minutes of sitting in silence would be interrupted by…something…if I did it first thing in the morning. This routine of stretching and planning, while still a time I wanted quiet and just a few minutes alone, was far more durable to interruption and therefore more conducive to our somewhat rowdy morning routine.
So, on my list of Little Enoughs, I looked at the one that said “stretch in bed before getting up” and I switched it up a bit in my mind to “stretch, plan, and take your vitamins each morning”. And that is what I tackled this past week. I did just that every day and it’s been great. This is the first Little Enough, besides drinking water, that I think I will have no issue carrying over into another week. Those 20 minutes I took to make my body feel good and take some time to breathe and orient myself before getting the kids to school and heading to work did more for me than any other morning habit I have (which includes hitting the snooze button too many times).
This coming week I plan on cutting out all processed sugar. I had planned that for last week, but the stretching was such a gimme and I don’t think I was quite ready to give up the sugar. It’s something I need to do, or at least practice for a week, and this seems like the best time to do it, at least for the near future.
We’ll see how it goes!