01 Dec Meditation Reflections and My December Goal
Happy Holidays, dear readers! It is the end of my month of meditation and I am looking forward to a new month of habit-forming. But first, let me share some reflections on my month of Om….
Reflection #1: Adding a Habit is Different
My previous two months had dealt with removing things from my life, namely meat and sugar. There is a distinctly different feel to removing things as opposed to adding them. I enjoyed my daily meditation sessions, although I admit it sometimes felt like another thing to do. I am glad I meditated daily for one month and I do think it improved some aspects of my life, but I am going to try to avoid adding habits for the duration of this experiment. Adding more to my already busy life is not what this year-long experiment is about for me. And since I am a minimalist of sorts, I try to avoid adding “stuff” of any kind (trinkets, commitments, obligations, etc.) to my life whenever possible. Am I open to changing my mind about this as I go? Sure. But for now, I’m looking forward to more months of eliminating unnecessary things.
Reflection #2: Focusing on “The Now” Does Not Always Feel Good, But That Can Be Good
Sometimes your “now” is a rather stressful place to be. One thing I learned about daily meditation is that it can force you to confront parts of your life you had been trying to avoid. This is good, but it is not always pretty. For example, for the last few months I have grown increasingly worried about what to do with my children next year. They will turn five this summer, making them young kindergarteners and I would prefer my boys especially to be on the older end of their grade. I could keep them in preschool for another year, but that is costly and requires me to find childcare. We currently have a live-in au pair, but we were hoping to go without an au pair next year to save money and allow us to have all three bedrooms of our house back. In any case, I had not reached a decision on what to do and I was stressing about this constantly, even when I wasn’t consciously thinking about it. Although I didn’t realize it, my daily meditation sessions were forcing this issue to the front lines.
About mid-month, I had a breakdown: I woke up one Sunday morning in full-on, unable-to-stop-crying mode. I was a complete mess. It had been years since I cried like that. Josh put a movie on for the kids and talked to me until I got myself under control. As we talked, I realized something: I cannot work full-time and take care of this family full-time. We do not have family in Dayton, so I have no one to rely on when kids get sick or accidents happen. This often makes me feel like I am walking on a tightrope without a net. So, I realized that I either need to work less or I need live-in childcare. Last week, I asked at work about a part-time position. I do not know if this will happen, but I am hopeful. And if it doesn’t, we have decided to keep an au pair for the foreseeable future and move to house with at least four bedrooms.
I feel completely at ease with this decision. At Thanksgiving, my mom even remarked that I seemed calmer. Is this all due to meditation? I don’t know. But I don’t think it is a total coincidence that I found the answer to this problem during this month.
Next Month: A Month Without Mindless Eating
Like I said, I am looking forward to another month of living without. For December, I am going to live without mindless eating. What does this mean? I think many of my eating habits are rather mindless. I don’t eat entire bags of potato chips or Oreos by the sleeve, but I tend to eat my meals when I eat them because that’s just what I do. And like a good child, I tend to clean my plate, whether or not I am truly hungry.
So I’ve decided to dedicate December to actually thinking about why I am eating. It basically boils down to this: I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want, but I have to be truly hungry and I have to stop when full. This means that I will need to eat more slowly than usual. It also means that my normal eating times might change. I’ve already experimented with this for a few days and I’ve found that I’m not usually hungry in the morning when I wake up. I prefer to just drink coffee or tea and then I actually start to feel hungry about an hour or two after that. This is a surprise to me, because I normally eat breakfast right away.
I am anticipating that I will need to keep snacks on me, but hey, I’m a mom of triplets; that’s not really a stretch. Also, I’m interested to see how difficult this is when the holiday parties roll around.
Wish me luck! And feel free to join me!