It's somewhat by happenstance that I'm posting this around Thanksgiving - but timely, nonetheless.
A few weeks ago, I was able to spend some time with a friend (and colleague) who was visiting Minneapolis. She's awesome... and she has done quite a bit of research on spirituality, positive thinking, meditation, and all that jazz.
I'll admit that I'm not very familiar with all of that, so may not explain this all very well. Thanks to her, though, I have been thinking about it more. She did an informal "session" for a few of us to teach us about some of the basics. One of the things I really appreciated she wasn't to push or negate any religious beliefs of anyone. She shared some info herself, we listened to a recording, meditated for 5 minutes looking at a candle flame (which actually isn't as strange as it sounds), and did a couple of other activities.
Honestly, I wasn't sure what I'd think about all of this... but I was pleasantly surprised and left with a few take-aways that have kept me thinking since then. Thanks, Tiffany!
- Take time for you. Think about it - how much time do you spend thinking about others, doing things for others, working for others? .... Now, compare that to how much you think about yourself and do things for yourself. This is where the idea of meditation comes in - and not necessarily like you may be imagining - sitting cross-legged, saying "ohm...." repeatedly. It's about taking a few minutes to do clear your head and think about you. Sit however you feel comfortable. Take some deep breaths, even for 30 seconds... sit quietly for 5 minutes... spend 30 minutes or an hour clearing your head. And, get really crazy - take a whole day to yourself (gasp!) Who has the time? Right? You do - just take it. It's not selfish. It's necessary.
- It's OK to Recommit. It's not uncommon for us to get down on ourselves when we fail at something - and we all fail. I messed up my diet and ate that cookie (or box of cookies); I was late (again); I screwed up on (insert most recent mess-up here). We have a tendency to be really hard on ourselves, beat ourselves up, and not let things go. But, whatever wagon we've recently fallen off of, we need to learn that it's OK to recommit ourselves to our goals and move forward. So what if I ate the (box of) cookies? I'll do better tomorrow and I'll recommit to (insert name of wagon here).
- A life of gratitude. This has been what has stuck with me the most. Related to (#1) how we don't take time to reflect and (#2) our tendency to look at the glass half-empty. Thinking about the things we're grateful for can help lead to a life of more positive thinking, and help us to remember that life isn't so bad, or hard, or insane, after all. So, take time for yourself (#1) and think about what you're grateful for (#3). And, if you get sidetracked and stop for a while, it's OK... just recommit (#2) to remembering what we are grateful for.
Tonight, I'm taking time for me - sitting down and writing, which is something I enjoy doing for me. And, tonight I am thinking about some things I'm grateful for:
- Tiffany for making me pay attention to these things.
- vacation days so I can be off until next Monday, because I hardly ever take time off.
- a job to take vacation days from.
- Tiffany for giving us a burned copy of her birthday-mix CD so I haven't had to hear the song I hate the most for weeks!
- friends who call to tell me random things that make me laugh (I'm looking at you, KVO).
- family who will love me no matter what.
- and - you, for humoring me and reading what I write.
And, in the spirit of Thanksgiving this week - what are you grateful for?