In what feels like a bit of a Groundhog’s Day reoccurring theme here lately on the blog, time keeps zooming – not just flying, zooming – by these days. It does not feel like all that long ago I wrote about my meditation challenge but I was only on Day 15ish at that point, and as of today, I am the “end” – Day 40! What the what?! How did that happen?
I really might have to pinch myself. I can’t believe I managed to do this 40 Days thing without forgetting once (and therefore having to start over). I came super close last week to missing a day and broke out in a sweat when I realized that I made it that far and almost blew it, but apparently by the mid-30s, the practice really becomes a habit, because I clearly neither actually forgot nor had to start over (thank goodness!).
Now, should you decide to take on a similar challenge (and I hope that you do) and you miss a day, please don’t think that is bad. Or even uncommon. I think going 40 days without forgetting is great (and shocking), but persistence is just as much the goal, so starting over if necessary does not mean failure, it means determination.
As for my 40 Days, I tried very hard to use a different “I am…” mantra for each day. I wrote them down to help keep track of my progress, with the goal of simply “I am” being saved for the grand “finale.” Now I keep using “”s around those ending words because I don’t see this challenge as the end of my meditation practice; rather, this is very much just the beginning, although it still feels very much like a milestone moment.
Now if you look at this pic up close, you’ll notice that my no-repetition goal didn’t exactly happen. I didn’t even notice that until just a couple days ago, but apparently I needed to to hear “enough” more than once in the 40 days. Actually, quite a few of these phrases kept coming back to the surface, but beside the one slip up, I really did try to make each day unique.
My process for choosing the mantras sometimes reflected the mood I was in that day, but more days than not, the mantra became a way to counter whatever rabbit hole my brain was trying to go down that day. Translation: if I was feeling unsettled, I used a word like peace or patience. When I felt distracted or detached, I used connection or support as my mantra. It can become so easy for our minds to tell stories; by connecting the breath to a repeated phrase to remind yourself of what/who you really are, you regain control of the narrative. And it totally helps, because each time I used this technique, I would later see examples of peace or support or healing throughout the rest of my day.
Shift your perspective, shift your being. Shift your life.
Most of my meditation continues to take place as I nurse Truman and I love the idea that my breath is calming not only me but also him. And really, for most of the second half of this, I rarely used a mala – just the breath, a mantra, and counting (I did up to 27 and then back down to represent 54, or half of the 108 of a mala).
Now that I’ve met my goal, I plan to continue my meditating mama practice. Rather than record and make each day a new mantra, I plan to go with whatever comes to mind first, even if that means the word “enough” or “peace” day after day after day. I figure the ones that rise to the surface are the ones I most need to hear and the repetition will do my body (brain) good.
Are you trying this? Or are you thinking of trying this? I’d love to hear about your progress!