Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Sands of Time

A friend of mine and I were talking about meditation the other day. There’s a place in town that was giving a 5 week seminar, kind of a “meditation 101” series. I got really excited – I could use skills to help me calm my mind, center myself, and just relax. So I looked up the times for the 5 week session each Monday night. I figured that if I dropped off my son Monday mornings so my husband could trade off to pick him up, then I could run home, pack a change of clothes, get changed to be at my 6pm workout, bring some food with me to eat in the car, quickly switch into less sweaty clothes, and then be at the meditation class.

I like to think I’m fairly intelligent, but it took me awhile to see the irony.

Needless to say, I’m not doing this session. BUT, I would like to figure out how to work some mindful meditation into my life. The few times I’ve attempted it I sit there trying to focus on my breath. Then my nose itches. I try to ignore it. It gets worse. I move and scratch. Then resume the position. Then my hand is itchy. And my mind starts wandering. And after what feels like eternity I look up to see that about 2 minutes have gone by.

I guess it just takes practice, and it’s something I should commit to. It got me thinking about all the things I read about, or friends tell me about that are good and healthy and great daily practices. I’ll read about how you should do “x” once a day – and it only takes a few minutes, so it’s easy to make time for it! OK – except there are tons of those “x” items that I “should” do to improve the quality of my life and that of my family. I couldn’t resist doing the math.
  • 8 hours of sleep (recommended –and for me needed!)
  • 9 hours work (7-8 in the office, more in the evenings at home – that’s the nature of my work)
  • 1 hour a day commuting/school pickup & dropoff and such
  • 1 hour in the morning getting myself and family ready, fixing a healthy breakfast, packing lunches
  • 1 hour in the evening cooking a healthy family meal, cleaning up, etc.
  • 30 minutes getting ready for bed
  • 1 hour exercising (including the to and from) – not all days, but 3 days a week on weekdays
  • 1 hour quality kiddo time – playing, reading, whatever
So that’s already 22 hours a day without factoring in all the things that happen that take up more time in random ways (traffic on the way home, stops at the store, calling mom, chatting with my husband, visiting with a friend, etc.). It’s kind of exhausting just writing it all down.

If I start to try to think about all the other things I could do that take just a few minutes a day, I clearly need to be pretty selective about what those are because I just don’t have the time. Gardening in the summer – just needs a few minutes of tending to a day. Meditation – just 15 minutes a day. I like to read and to write too – that’s important to me. And for me there is a lot of value in just doing nothing. Or just laying on the couch with my husband catching up.

So for now – no more stuff. No more hobbies. No more things added to my list that I’ll run out of time for and then feel guilty about not doing. And now I’m heading into a hot bath with essential oils, a couple candles and a good book. Now THAT is a good use of my time!

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