July 29, 2019
Every week I sit down and write what I want to stop, start, and continue. That habit, it would seem, should insulate me to some degree both from falling off the wagon on certain habits I’m trying to cultivate and continuing those which I no longer find helpful. Evidence to the contrary is beginning to mount, however. Some habits fall off and others I struggle to kick despite the practice. In those cases, I find external reminders and suggestions immensely helpful.
Take meditation as an example. I’ve been meditating on and off for the better part of six years at this point (which is crazy to even think about), but recently, my practice had become lax. I still “sat on the cushion” most days, but I wasn’t present - not like I’d used to be. I was’t following a guide and I wasn’t as deliberate about refocusing on my breath when my mind wandered.
A conversation with my friend Andrew about meditation reinvigorated my interest in meditation and motivated me to reengage in my practice. I deliberately carved out time in my day. I didn’t limit myself to just the moments before bed as part of a wind-down ritual, but used the long break after four Pomodoro sessions in the morning to reset.1 I was conscious of my wandering monkey-brain and gently brought myself back to the breath. It’s only been a week, so it’s too early to tell whether this is a long term change or not, but it feels like it’s made a difference already.
Over the past six years, however, I’ve been here before. The waxing and waning of any practice happens. It’s during the wane that I count myself lucky that I have friends who will remind me of what I am missing and offer suggestions for new practices to adopt altogether.
1 Yes, I’m still using a Pomodoro timer to manage my time. Fun fact, since mid-April, I’ve completed 1150 intervals, or ~480 hours.
Thanks for reading! My name's Stephen Weiss. I live in Chicago with my wife, Kate, and dog, Finn.
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