It seems only fitting that I am writing this post at 6am after spending much of the last few hours tossing and turning in bed with endless thoughts running through my head. As I near the end of a 2 week vacation, I am presented with what seems to be an endless amount of "stuff" to think about and process. The difference between now and a few years ago before my mindfulness practice is the way I feel about it all. A few years ago, I would have gotten angry about not falling asleep, wondering why and stressing about how the day was going to turn out. I would have added a layer of "self-talk" to the story that only serves to make falling asleep even more of a dream. But now, sometime around 5:30 am, I laid in bed and did a simple loving kindness meditation: "May I be happy, May I be healthy, May I be safe, May I live with ease".
Repeating these words seemed to bring a sense of calmness and acceptance towards my situation. Yes, it would be nice to enter today more well rested and refreshed, but here I was, wide awake, and in a beautiful place in this world. So I got up, grabbed my computer and am now sitting outside on a cozy porch watching the world wake up.
One practice I love doing and reminding others of is what I call "the best friend litmus test". Think of the last time you made a mistake, did something "wrong" or otherwise beat yourself up internally. Think of what you said to yourself. Often, it's something like "boy, that was dumb, I can't believe I did that, what was I thinking?" (or perhaps more colorful dialogue). Now think of a time your best friend told you about something they did that was similar. What would you say to them? Chances are, it wouldn't be the same.
If you wouldn't say it to your best friend, why say it to yourself?
Either sit quietly for 15 minutes or use tracks 1 and 4 (Mindfulness of Body and Breath, Breath and Body)
Then 10 minute Befriending meditation (track 7)
Three-Minute Breathing Space (track 8) - aiming to do twice a day or whenever you feel you need it.
Habit Releaser (choose one or do both!)
1. Reclaiming your life: think back to a time where pressures were less for you and recall activities you used to do then. Choose one thing you used to enjoy and plan to do it this week. It could be 5 minutes or 5 hours, important or trivial, involving others or alone. It is only important that it puts you back in touch with a part of your life that you had forgotten or left behind.
2. Do a good-natured deed for someone else. A random act of kindness for someone you know or a stranger. How can you make the life of someone else just a little bit better? It needn't be big, but notice how you feel when you do it.
Here is your printable homework sheet.