I hope you are enjoying the heat this week. We've had a good mix of rain and sun and my garden is beginning to perk up. I seem to have fallen behind in my posts of late. I still get one out each week, but it is more of a press to get it all done. I stay busy, between artwork, clients, teaching, working on my book, and working a part time job there is no day of rest.
I used to be very regimental about having a meditative practice. The past few years I have been more sporadic about setting aside time. (See above for reasons why). I would always say, "When I get all my tasks done I can meditate." The only problem with this approach is that there is no end to tasks, and even when I do get it all done I am generally all wound up and can't sit still. So more often than not there wasn't time devoted to silence. I also tend to be a night owl so getting it done early in the day was a challenge since I got up later.
Lately I have been feeling the need for more calm. As I have taken on more responsibilities I am needing to center more, otherwise I get pulled into everyone else's story. I have gone back to doing longer seated meditations in the morning. Now I am not waking up at 5 AM or anything, nor am I meditating first thing. I have breakfast first, because nothing interrupts meditation quite like having your stomach growling at you. After breakfast I practice a little tai chi, and then get cleaned up. Meditation comes next before any other tasks.
This has been challenging to keep up. There are always messages to check. Facebook beckons with its promise of social connectivity (and possible art sales too). Text messages come in day and night at all hours that chime luring my attention away from the moment. There are voicemails, emails, and youtube comments to reply to. For this reason screen time is severely limited until after meditation.
I like to use brainwave entrainment to help me meditate. It's a quick way to get your state of mind to change. I flit between different frequencies changing it up each day so I don't get too bored. So some days I am chilling in hyper gamma, other days I will be in deep theta, or even epsilon. Each of these tracks are a half hour and of course part of my brain is screaming at me how much stuff I have to get done. The trick is you have to let it scream and tell it that you have time. I have plenty of time with my weird flexible schedule; the problem has been since I have that time I don't seem to use it well. Part of working for yourself is taking yourself seriously and that means scheduling things and then following that schedule.
So after about two weeks of doing meditation first here is what I notice. I get what I need done and I get it done faster. I had a lot of back logged emotion that was being suppressed. (Hence the crying every time I got deep into meditation). I enjoy turning my phone off at night and I sleep better. I am not missing out on anything by taking this half hour for myself.
So what about you? Is there some self care that you put off till everything is done for the day? Do you makes lists of tasks for yourself all day long? Do you let your electronic screens dictate your attention rather than the other way around? If so maybe you should take a few minutes to get centered each day. Now I know many of you have more rigid schedules than I do, but cheer up recent studies show that as little as seven to ten minutes of meditation a day is enough to rewire neural networks. Maybe your meditation time won't be in the morning,. Maybe it will be on your lunch break, on your commute (if you aren't driving), or in the evening before bed.. Just try carving out a little space for your mental well being. Trust me you have time.
Peace and Blessings,