A few days after I wrote my last post, I went to a yoga and wellness center in western Massachusetts for a three-day relaxation retreat which Jeff had given me for Christmas. When I got there, I turned off my phone, put it in my glove box, and parked my car far away from the center so I wouldn’t be tempted to get it. I wanted to unplug, really unplug.
The retreat was, in a word, amazing. I practiced a lot of yoga and meditation, took classes, ate some of the most amazing vegetarian food I’ve ever had, had a massage, wrote in my journal, drank tea, and met some incredible people.
On my last morning there, after yoga and a transformation seminar, I went for a 4ish mile trail run that completely blew my mind. I felt everything – the wind on my skin, the prickle of sweat at the nape of my neck and on my arms. I could even TASTE the peppery nuttiness of the trail.
Before that day? I am not sure I have ever felt such a depth of contentment and happiness like EVER. Without a doubt, it was one of the most life-affirming experiences I have ever had.
And I came home armed with a gentle yoga DVD, a chant CD, and many Ideas and Plans on how to bring what I learned there into my Real Life.
Except, well, having a sense of contentment and well-being is much easier when your phone is off and you have zero responsibility to anyone and your hardest decision is how to fill your time with seminars and yoga classes.
Within days of being home, the happiness and contentment faded, and Stress and Worry and Anxiety again took up residence. And I spent a fair amount of time worrying over the fact that I’ve created a life for myself that’s not conducive to stillness and contentment and well-being.
Which is pretty damn comical if you consider it – I’m stressed over the fact that I’m stressed!
Despite this, since I got home, I’ve forced myself to get up early and spend an hour, an hour and a half of my morning practicing yoga, meditation, and journaling. There are mornings where it hasn’t gone very well; I’ve managed a measly 10 minutes sitting in stillness, my mind jumping all over the place, counting the seconds until I can be released.
It feels very much like I’ve been fumbling my way towards a practice. I’ve had days of doing just a little something, days where I didn’t do anything, days where I did too much that’s not sustainable (forgot to pack Owen’s lunch that day, oops!).
But in the past couple of days, a routine has emerged. And I think it’s repeatable.
At 5am, I wake up to Garrison Keillor’s “Writer’s Almanac” on the local classical music station. Then I go downstairs to my living room, where I practice a half hour of gentle yoga with a DVD. Then I meditate.
(A note: I can only manage nine and a half minutes or so of meditation right now at once before my mind is all annoyed and frustrated. It’s totally a teenager, with crossed arms and rolled eyes. Not only am I embarrassing it with this meditation nonsense, but I’m TOTALLY putting it out, too. It wants to get to the mall and get some new jeans at Forever 21 or something, because it’s looking at its watch and tapping its foot, going, Okaaaaaaaaaaaaay, you’ve done your meditation thing. Can we GO ALREADY? It’s totally comical and makes me smile every time my eyes pop open before the 10 minute app timer bell rings.)
Then I go into the kitchen and have my morning coffee and write in my journal. And I create an intention for my day, something I work at doing for the day.
(For example? Today’s intention: Be present. I’ve been multitasking too much and giving half my attention to everything. Today I want to work on giving my full attention to whatever I am doing.)
I have read that it takes 21 days for an activity or practice to become a habit. For my practice, today is Day 4.
But, you guys… I have a PRACTICE. Something that’s sustainable, something I can do to create for stillness and silence in my life.
And I am so excited to begin.