Well I am almost halfway through my challenge. For 14 days I have sat for 15 minutes in mindfulness meditation each day. It’s not been easy some days, for example on Day 3 I had to go to the doctors which completely ruined my routine, increased my anxiety and pain. This had a knock on effect to Day 4 leaving me in pain and exhausted and having to lie down to meditate. But I still did it. So how has this last two weeks effected me?
I have been more patient, less quick to get stressed at outwardly, I still need to work on my thoughts! Here is my diary entry for day 6:
External distractions of the meditating mind
It’s Saturday. The peace and quiet of the week is shattered by noisy children and an excited dog.
Tea. Tablets. Tremendous amount of noise. This mornings practice was extremely trying. My thoughts went from “for goodness sake shut the dog up” to “ for goodness sake will you shut up” but not in such a polite manner. The dog wants to play the children don’t. The postman arrives, the dog goes berserk. Miss P brings the post up, clomp, clomp, clomp. Whose idea was it to take the carpet off the stairs? Oh yeah, mine. I don’t say a word, raise my finger to my lips to tell her quiet and pat the bed for her to put the post down.
Yes! I didn’t lose my shit.
Clomp. Stomp. Clomp. Back down the stairs she goes, dog is whining, Little Pea is shouting be quiet.
Breathe it all out. The poster of Buddha that says “Let that shit go” pops into my head. I realise I’m thinking and go back to my breath.
This might sound strange coming from someone who has a chronic pain condition but I became more aware of my body, not just my pain.
I was having trouble with physical sensations that distracting me as much as my thoughts. Rather than be annoyed and force myself to concentrate I followed these sensations and realised how tense I was holding my body. I used the breath the relax, I didn’t fight the pain just breathed into it.
Meditation for pain relief isn’t about getting rid of pain, it is acceptance of pain. To hurt is a way of life now but by focusing on just my pain I hadn’t noticed how much I was holding my body in a way that causes more pain.
Routine and meditation practice
Anyone who meditates is aware that a routine is good for getting a solid practice but becoming stuck in routine isn’t healthy. I realised that I was getting annoyed when my routine was disrupted and that wasn’t helping me
Little Pea was also going out this morning so I decided that rather than rush my practice to fit in around what was happening, I would get everyone sorted before I devoted time to myself. In the past changing my plans has increased my anxiety. This morning was no different except I chose to go with it. I chose to let those damned butterflies flutter for a bit longer on the promise I would have practice. I chose to sit and accept my anxieties rather than fight them.
It was a relief to sit and breath when I had my chance and also ….that I got through it. It made me realise that sometimes my inflexibility can cause as much anxiety as not having plans. To rigidly stick to a schedule isn’t necessarily good, life isn’t scheduled and we can’t control every moment. It is finding the balance between needing to plan and allowing those plans to change and being able to manage the anxiety that arises.
This has been a huge learning curve – letting go of my need to control my routine. Two weeks in and I’ve realised that with all the kids at home on the weekend I needed to find an alternative time for meditation. I’ve worked out that they are less likely to interrupt me in the afternoon or evening so if I practice then I’m more relaxed.
Check back in a couple of weeks to read how the full 30 days went!