Several weeks ago I taught a workshop at the studio with a dear yogini friend of mine about malas and meditation. I have tried to incorporate meditation into my daily life before, several times, and it has just never stuck, but as part of the workshop, we offered to our group the chance to do a 40 Day meditation challenge in which we would share our experience in a closed Facebook group for the sake of accountability and support.
It took me darn near a week after the workshop and creating the group page to actually begin, even though others totally jumped right on the ball and got to it, posting about their struggles and successes, and even their begin agains. You see, the challenge we picked as our motivation said that if you forgot or didn’t complete a day in your count to 40, you were to start again at Day 1 which I think is totally intimidating and totally awesome, because in our imperfect humanness, there will always be set backs and every day, every breath is an opportunity to begin again, so why not, right? Right.
So finally, the day before my 34th birthday, I began. I won’t go into tons of detail about mala meditation, but the general idea is that you can use a mala to help you count your breaths/mantra and aid your meditation practice. I adore my malas but since this is the first time I have tried using one for meditation, I went with one of my bracelets instead of a full 108 bead-er because, you know, baby steps. Currently I go around mine twice. By the end of my 40 Days, I hope to be up to a full mala with my practice.
As it is, I am now on Day 15! I have not missed a single day, although I have come close to forgetting more than once, and it is entirely possible that I have been flat-out cheating as I have made up my own rules a couple of times. But I’m still meditating so I’m still counting it as doing something good for myself and am feeling the benefits.
How have I been cheating? Well, I have double dipped/multi-tasked a couple of my days both with and without the mala in hand while nursing Truman to sleep for the night or nap. But come on – it is kind of the perfect time for me to do it because the room is dark and quiet (well, with the white noise of a fan on the floor) and he’s mostly nice and still on my lap, so it feels like such a natural time to focus on my breath and bring both of us a little calm and a little peace during those 20 minutes. And so a meditating mama has been born!
With the exception of the Truman sessions, though, I try to meditate away from my family for the sake of quiet and distraction. Trust me – there is still enough distraction floating around in my brain even with the mala, the mantra, and the counting – I don’t need added outside distractions, too!
Today, however, I decided to embrace all the swirliness of this week (hello fridge disaster plus horrendous wind) and I set up shop on my bolster at the door to our sunporch where I have windows open today and could clearly hear the wind, the squeaky fence, the wind chimes, and all that blowing around out there. I put on some instrumental music behind me and settled in to my breath and my mantra for the day (each day I am using an “I am…” statement but the second half has been unique each time).
Not three beads in and I heard little footsteps that I thought I had left in the playroom downstairs come thumping and asking, “Mama….” So I stopped, talked to Raegan about what she needed, and explained (in 4yo speak) what I was doing. I also told her that until I got off my pillow, she would need to leave me alone and be quiet.
Bless her heart, she watched her show on Netflix quietly (mostly – I could still hear it every now and then) and only tried to ask me a question once (which my raised “stop” hand miraculously shushed)! Meditating Mama win!
And so – Day 15. Swirly and semi-distracted but still here and still successful. “I am wonderfully made.” And so are you and so is this (oh my gosh SO WINDY) day.