Monday, July 16, 2012

Mindfulness Project: Week One [Review]

We're finishing up the first week of the Mindfulness Project, and I wanted to check in with everyone to let you know how it's going.

To start, the week was simultaneously more difficult and easier than I thought it would be, in that some days were incredibly easy, and some days it was challenging to take the time to meditate, and to try to be aware. I found I actually had to open up Beginning Mindfulness once or twice to remind myself what being mindful of the moment meant. And honestly, right now, I'm not sure I completely understand, though had you asked me a week ago, I would've said I understood the concept completely.

Meditating was actually an easier task than I thought it would it be, and I enjoy it. The time passes quickly, and it feels good to sit down and do it after Felicity is alseep (and I mean really asleep, so I don't have to think about her possibly crying or needing a loving word to calm a fuss).

Positive Changes in the First Week:
  • I'm walking and sitting with better posture; I think this is because my lower and upper back muscles are strengthening while I'm meditating, which hopefully will counteract the "nursing slouch" it's almost impossible to avoid.
  • I'm more thankful throughout the day; it's hard not to feel gratitude when I'm constantly checking in with myself. For instance, I'm walking and it's really lovely outside. I am on a walk because I have an egalitarian husband who looks forward to watching the baby for me so I can remain a sane person. And I feel thankful for the weather, the breeze, my thoughtful, feminist husband, my sweet baby. And some anticipation for the pot of tea and chocolate macaroon I am soon to enjoy.
  • I'm more compassionate; I've been making a conscious effort to not jump to negative conclusions about people I see/meet, and when I find myself thinking poorly of someone else, I then make myself try to understand why I came to the snap judgment I did, and why that kind of thinking is problematic. All in all, I've been more willing to give strangers the benefit of the doubt.
While there are several positive changes I can already identify, the week also had it's challenges. Ian and I completely forgot to do our meditation one night, and we usually have to force ourselves to set aside the ten minutes before bed. Of course it feels good once you're doing it, but, like forming any other positive habit, sometimes its hard to jump into an action without a little mental resistance (or plain forgetfulness).

And of course I feel like I no longer understand what 'mindfulness' completely means. I have the Mindful Clock on my computer that dings every fifteen mintues, and sometimes when it goes, I struggle to understand what I'm supposed to do and what I am doing. I usually stop what I'm doing, take three deep breaths, and think about what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. I haven't memorized my gatha from last week, and rarely remember to carry it about with me.

And sometimes, like just now, when the bell rang as I was typing the above paragraph, all I can think to say to myself is, "You're here, sitting, typing your blog entry." And is that actually being aware? Probably not. I need to spend more time thinking about what motivates my activities, and to really think about why I'm doing something as I'm doing it.