Most of my life I have been a major New Year's curmudgeon. I obnoxiously espoused how silly resolutions were, how absolutely unrealistic and empty they were. Im sorry if I offended anyone. This year, in an effort to help my 9-year-old daughter Lucia (still hopeful and optimistic) understand the concept of resolve, I made a "Goals and Dreams for 2014" chart. It's basically a big piece of butcher paper on our wall with a jar of sharpies next to it. It is an open invitation for anyone to write their goals and dreams for the upcoming year.
For some reason, introducing "Goals and Dreams" instead of "Resolutions" helped me. I found myself happily writing three of them: meditate three times a week; do sit ups; and stop eating sweets for the month of January. I felt different committing to actions that I perceived to be for me as opposed to resolutions that I historically viewed as punishments. All of the things I committed to on our Goals and Dreams chart were things that would help me, so even though they might be hard or restrictive, they were gifts (goals and dreams) that would make my life better. It is January 17th and I can proudly report that I've accomplished my goals and dreams successfully for 17 days straight.
The trick for me with the meditation has been to keep it really short and sweet. A short 5-10 minute meditation (depending on the rush factor associated with any particular morning) is what I'm committed to. About two weeks ago Lucia asked if she could meditate with me in the morning. I've mediated with Lucia a handful of times in the past but nothing regular. Now most mornings Lucia wants to do it. "Mom," she'll ask when she wakes up, "did you wait for me to meditate?!!" To my great surprise, Lucia really loves this morning ritual. We sit in the living room cross-legged, facing each other, set the timer, close our eyes and breathe.
I explained the first time we meditated together to try to just focus on her breath and keep her mind as clear as possible from other thoughts. Last week after the harp-tone of my timer alarm sounded and we slowly opened our eyes to see each other, Lucia said, "Mommy, while I was meditating, I kept thinking about other stuff, but then I'd remind myself, 'don't think about that stuff, you're mediating.'"
"That's meditating," I explained to Lucia. "You're teaching your brain to quiet down."
That morning after I dropped Lucia at school I went to take a yoga class. During Savasana I listened to Frani coaxing us into relaxation. "Inhale let your belly rise...." My mind, as it often does, wandered. I thought about the work ahead of me, scheduling piano lessons, toffee bars, and eventually landed on my morning meditation with Lucia. Wise words from a nine-year old helped me calm my brain down, "Don't think about that stuff, you're meditating."