Our time in this life is limited. And how we respect that time will create a greater possibility for fulfillment. – Ruben Papian
That didn’t go as planned.
I feel anxious. I feel tight. I feel like I lost time.
I guess I don’t know what I expected, but I felt like I couldn’t focus.
That’s what I wrote on Wednesday. I then stepped back and gave writing a rest.
I was so excited to take this course on mindfulness-based stress reduction. It really couldn’t come at a better time. I’ve been practicing mindfulness meditation for just over a year with the guidance of the Headspace App.
I’ve really enjoyed the practices that I’ve done. I wouldn’t say that I’m successful every time I practice, but I’ve never walked away thinking that was a waste of my time.
My solo practice lasts from 15 to 25 minutes. It depends on what I’m focusing on. Sometimes it’s for stress and anxiety, other times it’s for sleep or breathing. It’s also not something I feel I need to do daily, but is something that I do multiple times a week.
At the beginning of the orientation we discussed what mindfulness meant for us. Some people said it was about surrendering and being in the moment. For others it was about acknowledging how their body felt or the thoughts they had. For me, it’s about being active in my movements and my thoughts.
I’ve had many days where I felt like I was floating and going through the motions. I check the clock at 10 and magically hours have passed by.
We discussed how to set up our space – we’re all seated in chairs in front of our computers by the way. The teacher recommended shutting off your phone. I know for me, I would need to have my phone in the other room. Out of sight, out of mind.
I’ve blocked this time off on my calendar so I know when I’m sitting down to do this. I have made a dedicated space for it in my schedule. However, and this is where the language because I won’t instead of I can’t.
I can’t sit still this long and focus. I found myself battling with myself after the first 30 minutes, but let me know start from the beginning.
We went over the course outline and she had us do two practices – one standing and one seated. She had us then break into small groups – the online platform allows for small group video conferencing – where we discussed what we noticed in each practice.
For me, I noticed that standing was more comfortable than being seated. I felt more free and the slow movement felt nice. When seated I noticed that my lower back was really tight and I was struggling to keep my feet on the floor and legs uncrossed.
Typically, during my practice I’m seated with my legs in front, legs crisscrossed or laying down. These postures are most comfortable for me. I’m not opposed to trying new postures, but I also felt like I couldn’t pay attention to what the instructor was saying because I was focusing more on how shitty I felt seated in this way.
After this I felt that I couldn’t be present, I couldn’t focus on the task at hand. I found my mind wandering to my to-do list for the next few days. It wandered around the room. My arms and hand tingled. My legs felt like they needed to move.
It’s possible that this is a fluke and it was just that one day, but it’s more than putting my phone in the other room so I don’t play with it – or telling myself to not check email.
I felt like I was wasting my time and that made me feel horrible. I had this itching feeling that I shouldn’t be doing this with my time.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt like that during or after meditating. I don’t think I’ve ever really felt like that during any workout either.
Meditating for 15 to 25 minutes a few times a week is obviously very different than doing an hour each day and two and a half to three hours for a class, but I honestly didn’t think I would struggle to the commitment in the moments in which I was practicing.
When I told JP about it, he asked what I had expected and I said, I knew it would be difficult because it was longer than what I was used to. However, I didn’t expect to feel that way when I was done, and I know it’s because I was getting distracted with how much I was getting distracted.
The instructor had told us at the beginning of the class it’s normal to realize during the course that it’s not for you and that it could be for a number of reasons including feeling like there’s not enough time do it.
When I think about all the things I want to do in the world, I don’t think there will ever be enough hours in the day to do everything, but I also know that there’s plenty time going forward. I believe that keeping structure allows me to do what I want to do in the time I know I have right now and that it helps me decrease overloading myself. I look at my calendar and I plan out for a week or two at a time so that I can see where I have space to get things done like working out, errands, coaching, sleeping, going to work. I’m so excited about the house and we’re closing in one month – I can’t believe it’s that soon.
I don’t know if I felt like I was wasting my time because I felt satisfied with 30 minutes of meditation or if the busyness of everything else made me feel like I should be chipping away at something else. It could be a combination of the two and I just haven’t been able to see that kind of influence lately.
I withdrew from class. Honestly, I felt like a failure by doing so. I felt like I should suck it up. I felt disappointed, but I also know that if I force myself to do something like this then I’m not going have any benefit and I’m just going to resent it and it could hinder my typical practice – and I’m not interested in doing that. For a couple of days I was mad at myself for withdrawing, but it’s the same message I preach to clients – we need to figure out what works for you and throw out ideas that don’t. So maybe my at-home practice is enough for now and that I need to practice making it a little bit longer and a little different.
It’s an area I want to grow in and I do want to add it to my coaching because I do think it makes a difference, but this path just wasn’t for me. I can get there a different way, at a different time.