43 days straight, just over 7 hours and 48 sessions. That’s how much I’ve been able to commit to daily meditation since I started in late December. This may not seem impressive to many people, especially those who practice meditation regularly. To me, though, this is HUGE. It’s the longest stretch I’ve been able to keep meditating and while there are days I just don’t want to set aside the 10 or 15 minutes, like any physical exercise, there is never a time I’ve not felt it’s been worth it. Never. In fact, most days I’m looking forward to the forced stillness.
Yesterday afternoon I spoke with an editor of mine who has become a dear friend (and if she’s reading this right now, she knows who she is!). I hadn’t meditated yet and I mentioned that sometimes I wonder if this meditation thing is working because I’m not sure how it should feel if it is (or isn’t).
Then, yesterday evening, when I finally did meditate, the dreamy accent of the person behind the Headspace app starts off by reminding us we need to be “focusing on where we are at this moment, rather than how well we’ll progressing.” It’s like he knew how I felt and overheard my conversation! Like when you read your horoscope on your birthday and think it’s been written just for you! He reminded us to stop judging our progress because that’s where we get into the zone of frustration and stress.
Trust The Process
Even if it doesn’t always feel like I can get this meditation thing right, even if it doesn’t always feel like I’m able to focus for one minute, let alone 10, I continue to meditate. Why? I knew I needed to make changes in my life after last year.
Perhaps you know the feeling? Have you ever felt like sometimes we’re on a hamster wheel? Going through the motions and checking off the boxes but not feeling like we’re actually going anywhere? I lost a client I had been working with for years. One I loved and long respected and admired. Until something happened within their organization and it all came crashing down. Out of my control, but still, it was a painful reminder that no matter how much of our heart and soul we put into something, it can be lost in snap. We were doing great work together, checking the boxes, going through the motions and then, poof. It all came to a screeching halt and it felt like I got whiplash. That’s how much if 2018 felt for me and why I wanted to put things in place early this year to make changes.
Meditating is helping, even if I can’t really see exactly how. I can feel the changes. I can feel that I’m calmer (yes, my word of the year!). I’m reaching out to organizations who align with my interests and values in the sustainability and social justice space because those are the places where I want to focus my energy and work. Have I secured new work with any of those organizations yet? Not yet. Do I think I will this year? Absolutely. Why? Because I trust the process. I know what I’m capable of doing and I know the decision to bring on a communication consultant is rarely done in a vacuum or without thought about how to budget for it. But I know for sure that if I don’t continue to reach out to those organizations and let them know I’m available, the odds of me having the opportunity to work with them will be considerably lower. So I continue to put the time and energy because I know if I stay with it, something will happen.
That’s why I continue to meditate.
Much has been said about quality over quantity. If you want to produce good work, put the effort in and produce good work. While I don’t disagree with the sentiment, I also know this is a numbers game. You want to run a marathon? You have to log in the miles. You want to become a better writer? You have to write. You want to secure better clients? You have to let them know you’re available. Not just in December or January. But every month. Because you never know when that call will come that tells you thanks for the five or 10 years of working together, but this will be our last month.
Last night I was at the rock climbing gym where my kids practice as part of a team and I overheard their coach pushing one of their teammates to try to finish a challenging route. She was so close, just one step away from making it to the top, but she didn’t feel like she could finish it and was going to let herself fall off the wall. Her coach wouldn’t let her. “Try, just try,” he said. Buoyed by his encouragement, she tried. She didn’t make it and ended up falling off the wall.
“You’ll fall the same distance if you try and don’t make it,” he reminded her. “But you might make it, so why not try?”
Even if we don’t always hit those high notes or finish those routes or secure the clients we want or the stories we pitch, we have to keep getting out there. We have to keep trying. Consistency matters. And so does focusing.
What are you hoping to try this year? Have you taken any steps in January to inch closer to making it happen? Anything I can do to help? Let me know! Until then…stay warm, friends!