New Year, New Rhythms
Although I have mixed feelings about setting new year’s resolutions, I do find its a great time to establish new rhythms in my life. One thing I’ve learned about this is that I need to start where I’m at, rather than try to go from zero to one hundred overnight.
**What does it mean to start where you’re at?**
Here’s an example, and it’s a real one from my own life. Ultimately, I’d like to bring a meditation practice into my daily rhythm, because I know that for me, meditation keeps me healthy, mentally, physically and emotionally. I’d love to get back to a morning and evening hour-long sitting practice, because when I did that in the past, I experienced profound benefits including more energy, less pain, reduced anxiety and improved relationships. However, I know that if I set that as a goal it’s just too big of a leap and I would fail, which would therefore impact all my subsequent attempts and I would end up less likely than before to have a meditation practice in the future.
I’m a new mom, and there is no way I will get up tomorrow morning or any other day this year and suddenly have the time or energy to sit for an hour. Most people have life circumstances such as mine, or simply have deeply ingrained habits that will take time and gentle self compassion to change.
What works for me is this. Instead of making that huge leap all at once, I slow down and get comfortable with where I’m at right now, no judgement or self criticism. Then, I see where I can make one tiny step from where I’m at to where I want to be. This goes for any goal including all the common new year goals resolutions to lose weight, exercise, stop eating sugar, and so on and so forth.
I want a meditation practice, but I need to let go of the form it takes and integrate it into the life I have right now. To be specific, I can pick something I’m already doing, like nursing the baby, doing the dishes, or changing a diaper even, and practice mindful presence right then and there. With discipline and practice, this can become just as effective as sitting two hours a day, I believe, and over time result in a greater likelihood that my life’s rhythm will include a daily meditation practice.
What would you like to integrate into your daily rhythm? What are some small steps you can take towards those goals? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts, particularly around ways to integrate body, mind and spirit in health and wellness.