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3 Things for a Better Day: a Sneaky Mindfulness Experiment

It’s no secret that I have struggled with mindfulness and meditation.

#SameOldStoryAnotherDay

This week’s episode of the podcast is with Josh Mathe (who was also on Episode 25). We talk about all sorts of things…BUT we also decided to do a 30-day meditation challenge.

If you are interested in braving meditation with me and Josh, check it out here – along with a giveaway.

I also had another podcast interview this week with Craig Kulyk of Create Good Mornings (more coming from him we later)—BUT we also talked about mindfulness and his life’s work of encouraging people to create their best morning in order to have their best life.

I really struggle with this also (guess I struggle with lotsa things.)

One thing that I put into practice this week after talking with Josh and Craig was doing a little morning writing.

And when I say “morning writing,” I mean a teeny, tiny notebook with only 10 lines each page. 10 lines is intentional.  If there is more paper, I will feel that I need to write more. At the same time, I need to be constrained, or it will be four hours later and I’ll still be writing.

So yes, I’m giving myself 10 lines and I’m breaking it up as follows:

– Three things I’m grateful for
– One thing that I’m anxious about (to get the elephant out of the room)
– Two creative tasks that I will accomplish during the day

[Now.  No, this is not all. This little list is in addition to my massive schedule and planner in greater detail it makes me completely nuts. BUT. This is a simple morning exercise to help make my morning better.
It’s an experiment.]

I have found that after three days of doing this little list, I have had a better morning in a better mindset for the day.

Today was remarkable, honestly. The best 5:30am to 9:30am in a long while.

For example, our daughter woke up sick this morning. Sickness is a bummer, but sickness is a big  bummer on long run day.  Anyone who has a long workout scheduled and has it completely blown knows what I am saying. Even if we don’t want to admit it. But it’s true. Bummer.

My husband and she were still sleeping, so I tip-toed into our son’s room and asked him if he would be interested in going to breakfast–just me and him.

He looked so excited. This was new, exciting. We sneaky-snuck out of the house in the dark, and went to Starbucks.

Why this was a revolutionary act, I am not sure. But. It. Was.

Maybe because it was quiet.

Maybe because I had already determined my two main tasks for the day.

Maybe because I had also planned my day last night (also part of Craig’s idea…coming soon).

Maybe because it was a break in the routine, because I was being mindful, or I had started my morning grateful.

Regardless, I sat across from my 10-year-old son and had a morning unlike any other.

I can’t describe what I was thinking as I gave him an uncharacteristically sugary drink and a breakfast sandwich on a school day.

But it was magic.

I looked at how much he had grown; how much of a person he is, versus a child.

I put my phone completely away–that is, until we pulled up baby pictures and looked and giggled at those for a while.

2008 🙂

I listened to his stories.  I just listened and listened, and soaked him in.

As I dropped him off at school, we realized that he had forgotten his lunch box. Sitting on the table at home. Le sigh.

The forgotten lunch box would require a second 40 minute round-trip out of me, as the school doesn’t really have a lunch program to fall back on.

Normally this would’ve been a little bit of an inconvenience. I mean, it is an inconvenience. But because of the morning I’d had, the way my mindset was, I was able to handle the little bump in the road. I could thoughtfully plan when I would make the return trip so he would have his lunch on time for school.

Maybe that doesn’t sound like a big deal.  But I am high-strung, people. I am quite AHHHHH some days.

I would never pretend have all the answers for anything. I’m often  disenchanted and grouchy and confused with much of my life.

But this is definitely something. This morning mindfulness thing.

When I think about the path that I’ve taken over the last 7 years:  first came exercise/movement, then food, then (tackling the) alcohol, then food, and now, this whole mindfulness thing.

I thought I was headed on a good trajectory with mindfulness in the spring. Then I hit a “People Speed-Bump.”

[My term: People Speed-Bump (PSB) means when you are traveling along, smoothly, with a person in your life, and then BUMP! There it is. A total surprise in character.]

A People Speed-Bump happened with a person who had love for meditation.

So meditation and I became something like when people quit going to church because someone in the congregation screws up everything.

It doesn’t mean that God is bad.
It doesn’t mean that God is flawed.
It means that people are flawed. [A People Speed-Bump can screw up everything, though, if we let it.]

Translation: you can’t abandon the fellowship because one person is a total asshole.

(Am I the first person to use the word asshole and church in the same thought bubble? Hmmmm.)

Anyway, that was a revelation for me.

I quit the church member. I have not quit God. 
I quit the person who suggested meditation. I will not dismiss mindfulness and meditation as a practice.

I think there are many ways to stay positive and engaged in our lives even when others around us have disappointed us and created gaping crevasses in our lives we don’t know how we will recover.

The interesting thing is, time pretty much does heal everything.

Our lives at any given moment is about perspective and what we think is actually going on. It’s the story that we tell ourselves at the end of the day that really matters. I’m not necessarily sure it’s even the truth anymore.

The truth is one thing. The truth will certainly set you free. But truth only matters to your life and your well-being if you actually believe the true story.

For the longest time, I believed (core values type stuff) that I would never be a good version of myself. I really believed that I could not be fitter or happier or more joyful. I still struggle with all these things on a daily basis.

Last week, I was such a crab to my family and I’m not sure why they still love me. At the same time, I have tremendous hope and joy, because I’ve chosen to re-write my story, and to decide things aren’t fatal, that I can work and try harder, be better.  Every. Single. Day.

I’ve also decided to ask myself the truth, and what the truth means. And then use the truth as a starting point–not the lies. 

This was a long post that started off about some hot chocolate with my son.

But the things that I’ve gotten out of today are huge.

1. Create a Good Morning

Creating a good morning might just be one of the secrets to having a better life.

I have figured this out, sure. That’s why I usually work out in the mornings. But I have certainly come to the point where the workout is NOT enough; it’s not setting me on the right trajectory.

I need more to my mornings.

So big thanks to Craig Kulyk for this reminder, his work and I look forward to sharing the podcast with him in the future. [If you are thinking this might be a thing for you, you can download Craig’s free guide here, and get started on a better morning.]

 

2. Gratitude: Still the Cat’s Pajamas

Yep. Turns out that taking time to be grateful still is the secret sauce of life.

For example, the other morning when I woke up and didn’t think I was very grateful for anything, even though I knew that wasn’t true. I simply wrote that I was grateful for coffee.

[In that moment, it was a little snarky. I’ll admit that.]

But as I had my cuppa coffee I was a little more mindful of the coffee. I was a little more grateful for the coffee. That sort of turned the day around for me.

Gratitude. It’s what’s for breakfast.

You Can Still Kick Ass

Once we choose to be mindful about things, then we can get back to kicking ass and taking names.

I will never be a zen person. [Although I guess I should never say never.]

But part of my identity and what I like about myself (the short list?) is that I am relentless, hard-working, insomniac who will get sh*t done.

And I am proud of that person. Though I also know that person is totally not everyone’s cuppa coffee. That’s okay too. I think if we are born as a really highly motivated, high-strung type person we can benefit from these sort of practices. In other words, they can work together–without us losing our edge or drive.

It’s highly important to me to remain as functionally crazy and driven as I’ve always been—but just learning to temper it, I guess. Make the crazy work for good, not evil.

So I’ve appreciated these moments this week of exploring mindfulness.

Love to you all,
Meredith

7 Comments

  • Nancy M in NJ

    November 10, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    I am a morning person, also. Much more productive than at night. Might I ask, what are you considering “creative tasks you will accomplish”? I like to read and seldom do so, perhaps that will be my goal. Many thanks to you Meredith, for your insights. I always find your blog insightful.

    Reply
    • Swim Bike Mom

      November 10, 2017 at 7:20 pm

      Creative tasks to me… is something that’s not like “get an oil change” or “do the laundry” —but something that is soul-feeding or goal-oriented… Even if small. Today, I wanted to write this post (check), and also do a new product for the retail stuff (check). 🙂 The biggest thing I am learning is that everyone is different, and you have to do and make lists that suit you best 🙂 Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  • Cindy

    November 10, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    Have you read “loving what is”? Your musings today have a lot of the same wisdom. If you haven’t read it, I suggest it. I think it would resonate with where your thinking is. It has had a profound impact for me! I’m glad you could enjoy such special time with your son. Hope your daughter feels better!

    Reply

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