Monthly Archives: March 2012

I am Surprised I am Not Failing

This month, I’m trying to get off Facebook. I am not planning to delete my account. But I want to spend less time turning to Facebook as a way to distract myself from loneliness and hard work.

1. Nurture local friendships

At first blush, I wasn’t sure I was doing very well at this. But looking at my calendar, I’ve had 3 coffee dates in the last 4 days with a mix of new people and people I’ve been getting to know. Last Monday, I had dinner with some friends I hadn’t seen in 3 months (they were kind enough to only give me a small guilt trip). Earlier this month, I went to a couple of events where I was open to connecting with new people – and did.

This is where setting goals and checking in is so important. According to my internal sense, nothing had changed. I was pretty sure I hadn’t hung out with anyone. As often happens, I was wrong.

2. Walk or meditate in the morning before getting online

This was going awesome, until it rained for a week straight. When I didn’t have walking as an option, I fell back in to old patterns.

I felt especially hard hit with the combo of rain, daylight savings time, Mercury retrograde, and changes at work that finally are giving me some space to breathe. I didn’t want to get out of bed all week, and when I did get out of bed, I wanted to do something soothing and mind numbing.

Even with the challenges, I felt more conscious of switching to Facebook this week. Awareness is the first step of behavior change!

When it’s raining out, my morning routine will now include time in front of the light box.

3. Writing 5 minutes every day

I am not sure how to evaluate this goal.

I certainly have spent a ton of time writing at work. But I think this is for personal writing.

I have written something nearly every day either in my journal or online at the Floating Playground. It feels like a secret, sneaky way to count up the writing I have done.

Yet, I think this should count toward my goal: “I want to be writing more. I have so much to reflect on right now, tons of blogging material …. In setting this small goal, I get worried that there is not enough time.”

The goal is to get me reflecting on my life, in some small but measurable way. To prove that this is doable, even with everything else going on. And I have – at least 14 of the first 17 days of the month. Given that I’ve turned so much of my attention to rest and restoration, this is actually pretty amazing.

4. Practicing restoration when I’m tired

This month has been a lot of practice in saying, “I’m tired! Of course I’m tired! Anyone would be tired if they had been doing everything I have been doing. It’s time to rest!”

Rest has meant:

  • Reading fiction while relaxing in a warm bath
  • Creating safe rooms for the part of me that’s super tired and overwhelmed
  • Getting some new bedding that helps my bed look like the safe room I keep envisioning – super soft feathery bed, covered in piles of white pillows and the softest blankets
  • Faking a nap
  • Sleeping in
  • Not worrying about any of these goals, or meditating, or anything else that I remotely feel like I’m supposed to do

I felt especially worried about not meditating. It has been such a stabilizing force for me, and I worried it was gone forever.

My catastrophizing mind is surprised to see that I just had 2 days where I didn’t meditate at all, and 4 days where I meditated less than my 30 minutes per day. But over the course of the last week, I’ve meditated for 30 minutes 3 out of 7 days. Not bad.

I am seeing a pattern where I’ve done limited meditation on Thursday and Friday the past two weeks. I may want to be more intentional this upcoming week about incorporating at least a small sit on these days. And notice what is making sitting hard. The end of the work week? A perception that I need to let loose?

Get Off Facebook

Why, hello March! Let’s play with intention and starting small. And let’s practice doing things daily that sustain me, but are so easy to let slide when things get busy!

And when I’m worried I can’t do all these new things, just remember – get off Facebook.

1. Nurture local friendships

I moved to the Bay Area just over a year ago. I am in that period where I’m longing for good, strong local community, but it hasn’t really gelled yet.

I have lots of good people in my life and lots of acquaintances. But with life being hard and busy right now, I’m finding myself reluctant to lean heavily on people I am just getting to know.

Life has felt heavy for most of this past year. I want to connect with people in lighthearted ways in addition to being able to lean in for the heavy parts.

I would like to connect with people I’m already connected with, and be open to meeting new people as well.

2. Walk or meditate in the morning before getting online

I started this after a Facebook confession that my morning habit was usually to get directly on Facebook. It’s a terrible way to wake up to the day, so many inputs, articles to get distracted by, pictures to comment on.

I would eventually like to have a different relationship to Facebook, one that’s more intentional about my desire to connect, and less about my desire to check out from whatever I’m working on. But I wanted to start small with something that felt doable and concrete. I already started this habit a few days ago, but I want to continue it this month because I know how pernicious Facebook is.

3. Writing 5 minutes every day

I want to be writing more. I have so much to reflect on right now, tons of blogging material.

Yet I’m usually tired of being on my computer by the time I get done with work. It’s one of the perils of working a full time job from home and then wanting to do some work on the side, also from home.

In setting this small goal, I get worried that there is not enough time. If I set a goal of 20 minutes per day, will that encroach on my meditation time? Can I really meditate for 30 minutes, write for 30 minutes, go for a walk, work for 8 hours, and have time for friends, feeding myself, etc, etc?

I don’t believe this is possible.

Yet, I also am afraid to count up how many hours I spend on Facebook. Or watching TV. There is likely time.

I’m starting small to not freak out the parts of me that believe in “NO TIME!” We will see how it goes.

4. Practicing restoration when I’m tired

I am often reluctant to rest.

Tired? Eat something for an energy boost. Or check Facebook to take my mind off whatever is bothering me. Or push through and hope my work is engaging enough to get me a second wind.

I have had a few emotionally draining days lately. And it’s true – I don’t have a lot of space to just stop and lay in bed for 10 hours.

But perhaps there are options between sleeping 10 hours and ignoring the fact that I need rest. To try:

  • Restorative yoga poses
  • Create a safe room for the part of me that’s super tired and overwhelmed
  • Step outside for ten deep breaths
  • Drink water
  • Take a 20-minute nap (or fake a nap)

Getting the Hang of Level Two

This month’s goals looked different than I expected. I rewrote January’s goals, wanting to deepen into them. I got what I needed, even if I didn’t exactly achieve these goals.

1. Meditate for 30 minutes every day. Including (and especially) while on vacation with my family.

While I found it hard to maintain meditation while on vacation, I meditated two more times than I normally would have. Progress.

Even more exciting was how easy it felt to return to meditation after I got home. I’ve meditated every day, a minimum of 15 minutes, and 30 minutes or more most days.

I’m finding it hard to talk to people about how easy meditation feels right now. For folks who are struggling with meditation, it touches their pain at how hard daily practice can be. People who have been meditating daily for ages don’t remember when their practice solidified. I’m so excited about this, and it’s hard not to easily talk to people about it.

2. Use the even greater cuts at work to focus on what is absolutely essential.

At my mid-month check-in, I changed this to “How do I relate to work in a way that is sustainable?”

In addition to meditation, I also started some daily practices to help with entering work mindfully, and finishing the day by releasing it. Some combination of these practices are allowing me to interact with my work in a different way. While the work is still impossibly hard, I feel a lot more spaciousness around it.

I review these phrases daily:

  • I forgive myself for any pain and suffering I have caused myself or others due to my own ignorance and confusion.
  • I ask forgiveness from all those whose pain and suffering I have caused due to my ignorance and confusion.
  • May I show kindness and patience for the world by being kind and patient with myself.
  • May I show love for the world by loving myself, just as I am.
  • May I learn from any mistakes I made today, and use what I have learned to benefit all beings.

3. Ask (everyone) for help.

I am getting a lot of help. It’s sometimes hard to fully take it in, as I am not getting help from some key places where I am expecting it. It’s easy to get sucked into the stories of pain that come up when I’m told help is coming and it doesn’t appear.

But that’s not all of what’s happening. There’s a lot of help coming from unexpected places. And there’s even more help available, if I just ask for it.

I’m noticing I feel a lot more ease in asking for help, in identifying who to ask for help, and taking it in. I think it’s about time to drop this story that I’m bad at asking for help.

In the spirit of receiving for help, I’m looking for a few good folks to step up as my posse in my latest journey.

4. Be Nourished By Everything

In my daily practices for entering and exiting work, I start the day with five things I’m grateful for and end the day with five things I have learned.

Naming the small, beautiful things in life reminds me to be nourished by all that is good in my world. Framing the hard parts as lessons learned helps me remember how fucking up nourishes me too.