My 40 days of meditation {in review}

As you may remember, for Lent this year I decided to focus on ADDING something, rather than taking something away. I just felt like there was more meaning behind adding something beneficial to my life than there was restricting myself from sweets, chips, peanut butter, etc.

Since there were so many of you who commented and said you were interested in trying it with me, I wanted to check in and give you my thoughts now that the 40 days are over.

The verdict? Overall, I really liked it! But,was I good at it? Not really. Was it easy? Definitely not. Did I do it every day? Nope-I have to admit that I missed days here and there and didn’t always want to take time to sit and do it, but that’s ok. I didn’t want it to become another task; I wanted to WANT to do it because I felt the benefits. Therefore, if I wasn’t feeling it, I didn’t do it.

And that is OK. I’m proud of myself for realizing that!

just breathe

I have to say, though, “meditating” for just 10 minutes a day for a month + (give or take a few days… well, actually just take a few days) was much harder than I anticipated. There were some nights where I just couldn’t shut my mind off! It was so frustrating, but rather than getting upset over it, I just let my thoughts come in and tried to let them go right back out (I have to thank my date here- he’s actually the one who turned me onto meditating and when I voiced my frustrations to him about my racing mind, he told me to acknowledge them, let them come in and then let them out. It helped). This wasn’t always successful, but I tried! Some nights I used the 10 minutes to just think, because clearly I had a lot of thoughts that were racing through my mind. Yet other nights I was able to sit there, peacefully, and just breathe innnn and outtttt with big belly breaths.

breathe

Will I continue this now that Lent is over? I’d like to say I will do it a few times a week, but if I’m being totally honest, I don’t know if I actually will. It’s not that I didn’t like it, but it was another added thing to my day. Granted, I should put down my computer/iPad/phone earlier or shut off my TV earlier or get up 10 minutes earlier to get in the 10 minutes of quiet, still, ME time. But sometimes we aren’t always as good at doing things we know we should do, right? Sometimes it’s easier to talk about the things we could/should/would do rather than actually taking the time to DO them. In the end, doing more and talking less is something I could really benefit from… anyone else?

I hope all of you were successful with Lent this year- I want to know how it went! Were you able to last all 40 days? Did you cheat at all? Have you decided to adopt the change you made for longer than the Lenton period? Any advice to help me do more and talk less?

Advertisements

For the next 40 days…

Well, at this point, it’s the next 31 days, but who’s counting?! Anyway, as a Catholic (not as much of a practicing Catholic as I should be…), we “give something up” during the Lenton season, which lasts 40 days. Over the years, I’ve given up gum, ice cream, chips, French fries and soda, to name a few.

lent- no junk

Source

This past year, though, when I thought about what I wanted to “give up”, I was stumped. I thought about a lot of different things, but wasn’t really sold on anything; I just couldn’t find something that I thought I should give up (well, besides texting while driving, which should be an every day thing, not just a Lenton thing). Instead, I decided to add something. Something that I knew wouldn’t be easy, but that I knew would be beneficial to me.

What is that, you ask? Meditation.

lent-meditate

Source

Say, what?! The girl who doesn’t ever stop, is always adding more on her plate and complains about those two things all the time probably too often is adding meditation to her schedule?

Yup. It’s true. I’ve decided to take 10 minutes of my day to just be still. No tv, no music, no iPad, no computer/blogging, no Facebook/Twitter/Instagram. Just me, being still and focusing on my breath. Inhaling and exhaling for 10. whole. minutes. You may not think that would be that hard, but for me, it’s been incredibly hard! As soon as I shut my eyes, my mind starts racing sounds a little something like this:

“Shoot. I forgot to do respond to that email.”

“What am I going to teach in kickboxing tomorrow? I like that burpee-kick move I’ve been doing.”

“Should I work from home tomorrow?”

“What should I wear to the gym tomorrow? New blue pants?”

“What time do I have to get up?”

“Monique. You’re just supposed to be breathing here, not thinking. Breathe in, breathe out. There you go. I should have a snack before bed….”

As you can see, it has been a real challenge for me to turn OFF my thoughts and to focus on my breath. But, at the end of the day, I think this is really good for me. It’s time every day when I can just sit, without any distractions. And, you know what? It’s getting easier! My thoughts have slowed down and I really look forward to those 10 minutes of my day. I’ve also been sleeping better since I started doing this, and I have to attribute it to the fact that I’m giving myself time to decompress before I go to bed. Normally, I am blogging or catching up on social media right until the time I go to bed, which means when I get in bed, I spend a good chunk of time trying to unwind from the day and slow my thoughts before I’m able to actually fall asleep.

Since I’ve seen some positive changes and I’m only a week in, I’m interested to see how the next 31 days will go with this challenge. If you’re like me and could agree with anything I said in this post, I urge you to try it- turn off all electronics, set your timer and close your eyes for 10 minutes. I’d love to know what you think and how it makes you feel!

Questions for you: What did you give up for Lent, if you’re Catholic? Have you ever meditated? Do you do anything before bed to help you relax?

I hope you all have a great St. Patty’s Day weekend! If you’re looking for tips on how to stay in control and to make good decisions, check out the post I wrote last year: Tips to Stay [Relatively] Healthy on St. Patrick’s Day… there are some good tips to keep in mind 🙂