I never thought in a million years I would have trouble sitting still and enjoying the surrounding quiet. Always an avid reader and a frequent library goer, it doesn’t take much to convince me sitting quietly is pretty cool. I’m not sure when it all went South, but here I was left in the cold North not able to relax.
I blame it on the to-do list. We all hate it. If there is one person on the planet in love with the to-do list I’m sure they are: A) either hiding out in a remote location or B) keeping mum. Because if even one person found them and their to-do list loving ways they would be harmed. It wouldn’t be pretty.
The to-do list is never going to go away and that brought me to a realization that I could either bust my butt trying and failing to make it go away or find another solution. I seriously thought I was going crazy. (For those of you who’ve thought I’ve been crazy for years, it was all a disguise meant to fool you into thinking that I was crazy but I really am quite sane.)
All the doing was interfering with my powers of creativity. It had to stop. The endless to-do list tasks: cleaning, fixing this, putting that away, running an “important” errand to the store, organizing my book collection, or catching up on social media crowded my brain with do do do do. It was a chant to inspire a mob. I couldn’t stop long enough to realize I was no longer enjoying any quiet moments.
Coming back to my frequency at the library, I picked up some books on creativity and also found some on mindfulness and meditation. Mindfulness has been talked about a lot lately even in the business world. It seems in our always-on and connected world which brings us closer together, creates wonderful communities, and allows individuals to work from home also robs us of time.
The time to be still.
The time for quiet moments.
So I took the principles of mindfulness and meditation and smushed them together into my own weird approach. I started out with five minutes a day, timed. It was extremely difficult to sit and do NOTHING. The shoulds, have-tos, and one hundred thoughts that told me what a loser I was for just sitting there filtered into my head. The to-do list sat on the counter laughing at my laziness, “You’ll never get me done! Hahaa!” But I stuck to it and gradually increased to fifteen minutes twice a day, most days.
Okay, fine. The second fifteen minutes always gets the shaft. Left by the roadside as the to-do list drives by and splatters mud in her face. So, I got crazy and increased my fifteen minutes in the morning to twenty minutes.
Amazing things started to happen.
I started to have ideas.
Before meditation, thoughts would snap in and out of my head like, “You’re wasting time.” Now my thoughts said, “Here’s a great idea for a toy box, here’s a great idea for a blog post, this is the missing piece in manuscript #3, this is a fantastic idea for organizing your book collection.” The feelings of being frazzled and stressed sort of floated away like bubbles in the wind. Once they popped I would get up from my daily meditation with a smile and really feel the quiet peacefulness surrounding me.
Have you ever experimented with meditation or mindfulness? How had it improved your life?