the dreaming pear

life {enchanted}

Filtering by Tag: 365 Days of Meditation

Brevity for the sake of continuity

It’s getting late, so this meditation update will be a quick one. So far I have meditated every day this year except one! My current streak is 94 days.

April meditation progress

April meditation progress

Our new house is feeling more and more like home every day. April brought violets to our backyard, followed by an unexpected snowstorm, a week of the flu, and an opportunity to see Singing in the Rain again in the theater.

April violets

April violets

April snow

April snow

I am also coming closer to my goal of having space to create again, but for the moment I am content to enjoy previous creations. I had a photograph selected for Bronson’s annual Employee Art Exhibit, which is currently on display in the Bronson Hospital Medical Office Pavilion until June. It’s nice to see my work hanging in public again!

Patterns of engagement

I was intending to do all of my meditation progress posts at the beginning of each new month, but when I sat down to write my post for March on April 1, I noticed that I had done my intentions for the year post on January 1, my first update on February 2, and my next update on March 3. So to continue with the pattern I unwittingly created, I am choosing to do my March meditation update on April 4! I’m hoping to make it a true pattern every month.

March was successful!

I meditated every day in March, for at least 5 minutes, sometimes 10 on weekends when my morning timeline isn’t as strict. I also consistently added some yoga adaptations that help stretch out my lower back, which is often stiff in the mornings.

The best part of my meditation practice so far is that our dogs are now meditating with me!

My husband and I have two Australian Shepherds; one is a toy, one is a mini, and they bring me joy every day. Our mini aussie is a snuggler, and every time I sit down on the floor he runs to me and enthusiastically pushes himself headfirst into my arms, with his tail wagging excitedly. I always encourage this, because I love it, and at first when I sit down on my meditation cushions he runs up to me and we snuggle for a moment, often with our toy aussie laying next to me on his back (he’s a much more independent boyo than the mini) asking for belly rubs, which I always give happily.

As soon as I pick up my phone, set the meditation timer, settle into my half lotus meditation posture, and take my first deep breath, both dogs go off and curl up a few feet away from me, lying peacefully still for the duration of my meditation. When the gong rings to signal the end of the meditation time, I shift, and flex my wrists and hands, and our mini snuggler runs right back into my lap, licking my hands and asking to play while I do the rest of my stretches.

At first I found it remarkable that our dogs should seem so aware and mindful. The more I reflect on it, though, the more I see that they are much more in tune than I am to nuanced body language and energy, as this is their main form of communication, with each other and with me. It’s only natural that if I am embodying stillness and peace, they too will find rest in those moments. As soon as I am ready to move again, their energy picks up as well. Very in tune little beings they are.

I am happy to be successfully resonating mindfulness for them.

A few other moments of note in March: my husband and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary, which delights and amazes me all over again with each passing year we share; I baked bread again for the first time in many years, which I also find to be meditative and heart-ful; the tulips my husband bought for our kitchen window bloomed beautifully, even as it snowed outside on the last day of March; and I bought some seeds to begin our first plantlings in our new home.

May April bring even more growth from the stillness.

Snow Tulips

Snow Tulips

March Meditation Progress

March Meditation Progress

February Success!

I was able to successfully put my missed meditation day at the end of January behind me, and I have continued to meditate daily ever since! February is my first completed month of meditation, and I’m feeling the pleasure and gratitude of a partial goal realized.

I have learned that it’s best for me to meditate as soon as I get up in the morning, since that is the easiest time of day for me to control my routine and develop a daily habit. I also enjoy the sense of additional calm it gives me going into each day.

I’ve started with just five minutes of meditation at a time, but my hope is to gradually increase the duration. I’ve been trying out ten minutes on weekends, when my schedule isn’t as rushed, and I’ve also added in a few yoga poses now and then.

My ideal is to do both meditation and yoga every day, so I’m pleased that I’ve started adding in a little yoga, but I’m still only planning to track the meditation this year. One goal at a time works best for me.

Small steps.

With the additional clarity I’ve gained from my meditation exploration I’ve also had the headspace to attempt to bring more vegetables into my daily food habits, and to think more about my plans for my art. Nothing concrete yet, but I am donating one of my framed photographs to the silent auction at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Hooley for Healing at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe in Kalamazoo, on Saturday, March 16 at 12 pm. The photographs are of the Downhill House ruins at Mussenden Temple on the Antrim Coast of Northern Ireland, matted and framed by The Framemaker in Kalamazoo.

Downhill House, Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland

Downhill House, Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland

All in all, despite some extreme weather and two bouts with viruses, February wrapped up quite nicely. I’m grateful and looking forward to March!

February Meditation Progress.png

365 Days of Meditation

February is beginning, and I am now one month in to my 365 Days of Meditation project.

I’m uncomfortable with New Year’s resolutions, because my track record of following through on goals is anything but consistent. I also have a tendency to dream big, with many lofty goals, all of which I want to see completed immediately, or yesterday. This year, to help myself tame those tendencies and create consistency I decided to focus on one small goal, with a single measurable step I can take every day: meditation.

I know the value of meditation in my own life and desire to make it a daily habit for myself. My hope is that by engaging in that one, small success every day I will also have the motivation to work toward my other goals as well, but the only goal I am holding myself accountable to is daily meditation.

To increase my accountability I plan to share my progress along the way. The Calm app that I use for meditation has a tracking calendar that shows a visual representation of daily progress and the current number of meditation days in a row. Before I started this project on January 1st my longest streak was 5 days. My plan was to meditate every day this year, to see a full bubble on every day of the calendar and see a 365 day streak at the end of the year.

I have already failed.

I successfully meditated every day of January, until the last. On January 31st I forgot to meditate. When I woke up February 1st and realized I hadn’t meditated the day before a wave of disappointment washed over me. My dream of perfection for the year was no longer possible.

I breathed in, I breathed out, I got out my meditation cushion, sat down, and started up the timer again.

In a way it was a relief to know that I don’t have to strive for perfection any more, that one missed day here or there will be ok, as long as I don’t let it keep me from sitting down again the next day, and the next day, and the next.

Today I meditated.

I’m going to make it a good day.

365 Meditation Progress January 2019.png

New year, new home, new intentions for engagement

Happy New Year, and Happy January!

I have taken a break from my creative endeavors since closing my studio in the Park Trades Center three (!) years ago. It has been a time of growth in other areas of my life, and I am tremendously excited for the new beginnings that have arisen as a result.

I am in a new physical space now, a new home. We are just beginning to settle in, and a new year seems like perfect timing for growing a new creative space as well. To begin that process I am setting an intention for myself this year to be present and engaged every day.

The immediate result of that intention is a renewed focus on meditation. I am currently using the free version of the Calm meditation app for the meditation timer and to keep myself accountable. It has a calendar that updates after each session, and I used it again today for the first time in a while.

It has been 219 days since my last meditation.

I love the practice and meditate regularly in theory, but I have not been disciplined in practice. My intention for this year is a 365 day meditation project.

Day 1, success.

My hope is that a renewed sense of presence and engagement in all areas of my life will gradually follow.

Just breathe.