Challenge Log: 21 Days of Meditating

 

Wednesday 31 March 2021 (Day Before)

I haven’t written my full blog post about what this challenge is yet, and it’s kind of headfucking me that I don’t know what parameters or path I’m going to take. The last two challenges I’ve been so much better prepared.

I must remember my own motto:

Done is better than perfect.

Don’t get your head stuck up your own asshole.

Thursday 1 April 2021 (Day 1)

Here’s the email I sent to my daily penpals:

Dearest Daily Penpal,

Need your advice please!

So, I haven’t quite worked out what to do for my third 21 day challenge yet.

My first two have been CRACKING as you know – first I gave up social media, and then I stopped internet browsing, shopping & smartphone use.

I figured the next step is…

21 days of meditation.

Because I don’t currently have a daily meditation practice.

But now I am getting my head stuck firmly up my own butthole.

Should I:

  • just set a timer?
  • follow a specific program? If so, which one?
  • follow a specific style of meditation? If so, which one?
  • listen to guided meditations? If so, which one?
  • complicating all of this is I don’t want to learn from a culturally appropriative teacher.

I guess I’m feeling a bit of internal pressure about wanting this to be as life-changing as possible (HO HO HO HO), and worrying about whether I’ll make a mistake in what direction I choose.

I sat down today and started a short meditation program by Tara Brach. I’ve done her e-courses before and enjoy her style. But then I found my head wandering around as I did her meditation, wondering if I’d made the right decision. And then whirling back through that dot pointed list of headfukkery above.

Do you have any advice? Even if it’s just to tell me to pull my head out of my own butthole and just meditate anyway?

Thank you, dearest friend.

Love,
Your Penpal,
Leonie
xoxo

Friday 2 April 2021 (Day 2)

I got some more great meditating advice from my daily penpals:

Just keep trying my love!

First, keep it simple. A meditation practice doesn’t have to be complicated or long. Start where you are. Starting with the program of the person you like and mentioned in the email is a perfect way to start.
Another option is to explore 21 days of different types and styles of meditation to find which really resonates with you. You don’t have to do the same type/style for 21 days to meet your goal.

No matter what, even if you just sit there for 20 minutes having thoughts, you have successfully meditated!

You’ve heard of the riddle?:

Why does the rookie monk always say, “One, one, one, one, one….” while meditating?
Because his elder monk instructed him to count slowly while meditating, and to re-start from the beginning when his mind starting to wander again.
So, Leonie, count ONE, ONE, ONE…
and just go!

Saturday 3 April 2021 (Day 3)

I went through my husband’s bookcases (he’s been collecting books on psychology, mindfulness & Buddhism since forever) and grabbed out a stack to read through.

Sunday 4 April 2021 (Day 4)

Monday 5 April 2021 (Day 5)

Spent the day in emergency yesterday with my kid for my regular heart-opening-tune up (oh, and because she needed a foot x-ray). By the time we got home, we hungrily devoured an early dinner and then all headed to bed. I read for a bit, and was going to just fall asleep and call it a day, but decided to sit up, beside my bed, and breathe a hundred breaths instead. I want to try and prove to myself that meditating doesn’t need to be This Whole Big Thing, and can just be crammed in micro-moments.

More good advice from a reader, Shari Sherman… it made me cackle AND was helpful.

Yes, meditation has a way of bringing up all of THAT. Sitting still has a way of bringing up all of that.
My advice, give it some more time. Since you like Tara Brach’s style, I suggest sticking with her for at least a week and then if you still feel like you need something different, then try a different approach. (I have never heard of Tara, so I will check her out.)
I meditate every morning. I follow along with guided meditations from Sarah Prout. I haven’t felt called to go in a different direction yet. I’ve tried different ways and I’ve found that my needs change as I change.
Remember, it’s not 21 days of perfect meditation (not actually a thing). Maybe your challenge should be called 21 days of “exploring” meditation, where you just show up and commit to be still in some form or fashion while you explore different approaches and thoughtfully evaluate what you are responding to. 
Everyone responds differently, but as you explore and share, it opens the door for others to do the same. At least, that is what has been happening during the other challenges.
So here’s my advice:
• Head out of butt.
• Commit to sitting still.
• Remain open to exploring meditation.
• Share your discoveries as only you can!
(How’d you like those bulletpoints?  I just learned that in your Sales Star course– Whoo Hoo!)
Some readings on meditation + cultural appropriation:

Sharing these as I research myself to understand more, not because I’m an expert… the journey of unlearning white supremacy is long and constantly evolving. The first article talks about the history of decapitated Buddha statues, and it brought tears to my eyes. When we bought our property, it came with two Buddha heads cemented as decoration into an outside structure. I’ve been uncomfortable with it, and trying to work out how we can remove. Reading that has pushed the urgency even higher for me. I feel so sorry.

Updated:

I got a ladder to inspect, and they were attached with liquid cement. I got a hammer and chisel, and chipped all the liquid cement out. I managed to bust open a finger and bled all over it, and thought that was fitting. While I was doing it, my husband and kids came to ask what I was doing. I explained to them what I learned, and they thought it was important to do it too. My 11yo in particular is interested in cultural appropriation and racial justice work, and asks me questions about it too. My kids have also seen me call out a family member for saying racist and misogynistic shit. I’m not perfect, but I have to model what I’m learning.

A good (male) friend says:

“I just think after a certain age, we should all have to go back to school for a bit of an update. Unlearn what we learned in school and throughout life and update our understanding about racism, feminism, gender and the environment. And maybe not be allowed to speak publicly until we do.”

11 April (Day 11 of meditating)

I’m now of an age where I like to adopt adorable people in their 20s as my nieces and nephews and enthusiastically encourage all their endeavours while furiously taking notes on how The Youth Of Today Speak. I think this is where I am supposed to put this: 💅 🔥  💯  but definitely not 😂 .

Anyways, one of my adopted nephews is Bilvy who is a ridic talented comic illustrator. He made me THIS masterpiece to encourage me on my latest challenge. BEHOLD!

15 April (Day 15 of meditating)

I’ve been reading through a stack of books on meditation that I retrieved from my husband’s extensive collection.

So far the one that has stuck in my mind most is this short book on meditating by Matthew Johnstone:

I’m an addict of graphic novels – I’m a visual thinker and it helps me understand on a much deeper level. The pictures just stick in my mind, and I return to them over and over again like a touch point.

This one especially:

When I’m meditating now and my mind wanders, I think of this image, and remember that all I need to do is focus on my breath… pay attention to my nose… how the air goes in and out through my nostrils.

This morning I meditated, and I could feel myself becoming as still as a stone Buddha, and thought of this image. And I thought of how the sun would warm my stone skin. How I could watch the floods and the flowers growing afterwards. How at night there would be a huge expanse of stars above me. I could feel a slight smile on my lips.

I started reading a book by HRH Dalai Lama, but stopped because I just felt so cross about the sexist remarks he made a wee while ago. Those remarks really broke my heart… for so long he has been a bastion of compassion and wisdom for the world. Now when I read his words, there’s a part of me that feels so desperately sad that he doesn’t see the divine potential of women (unless they’re a hottie of course!) Oooof. This feels hard. I hope I can one day not feel so sad and triggered, so I can continue to learn from him.

In other news, I’ve started a little bullet-journal-esque habits tracker of all the good daily habits I’m wanting to maintain.

On the whole, I’m super encouraged with how many coloured in blocks I’m managing to do each day.

It doesn’t need to be a perfect run… anything is better than nothing.

I’m off to recline in weekend pose. Fill the well, fill the well, fill the well.

Sunday 18 April 2021 (Day 18 of Meditating)

Notes from Tara Brach’s “Awaken Your Heart, Creativity & Wisdom” course in my art journal. The background is a collage of wrapping paper that my creative penpal Tammy Hudgeon sent me.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Love,

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