~ Day 14 ~
~Saturday, December 27th, 2014 ~
Take Back Your Time
No more yes. It’s either HELL YEAH, or no.
– Derek Sivers
Caught up on all my Wake Up tasks for week (I didn’t do anything but journal since Monday). Completed my anchor habit for 35 minutes today. 8 minutes sitting meditation followed by 27 minutes of yoga. During meditation I reached a wonderful state of relaxation and mental clarity within the first 5 minutes. Even though I only got 7 hours of sleep last night I felt alert and well-rested. When, after a few minutes, my mind did go off on a tangent, it was about the birth I attended recently.
Within the past week was my first ever birth as a doula, and it was beautiful. Mom was a first-timer, and I was right there with her for every contraction. It was a wonderful birth and I left the parents very satisfied with me, and more importantly, their own efforts. But what drew me away from my meditation was one small thing that I had said during the birth; in response to her question, “They don’t really do episiotomies anymore do they? Wonder why not?” I said, “it’s better to tear than to be cut because it will heal better”. Seemed innocuous early on in labor but by the end, after an epidural caused her to have to push for 2+ hours, and she wasn’t getting the baby out she did end up getting and episiotomy. I wondered today if this might have in any way contributed to a negative birth experience for her. I thought about how I didn’t want to express judgments like this again, which reminded me that this is a learning process, and I thought, “I am already becoming a better doula.” Then I gently let go of these thoughts and went back to my meditation.
This is what meditating truly is – or so I am finally learning. Meditating is not about forgoing thought, the absence of thought, or the idea that thinking is “bad” and you are a “bad” meditator for thinking. Mindfulness is simply being aware of our thoughts. And when possible, not simply getting caught up in the endless flow of thoughts. We are so caught up in our day-to-day that we are almost always riding our thoughts from one to the next, without ever stepping back and looking at the wave of thoughts we’re riding. Are we acting or reacting? Are we thinking mostly of the future, present, or past? Are we irritable? Impatient? Happy? Relaxed? Stressed? When we don’t take the time to sit and be with our thoughts then we can become a slave to both our thoughts and the emotions they incite. Many of my friends are slaves to their everyday thoughts. I too am a slave to my strong emotions, and when one of these strong feelings – such as anger – comes over me I am often unable to resist the urge to convey a spiteful tone or say something disrespectful. Meditating is like practice for releasing your emotions in more effective ways. Sitting and releasing your need to follow your thoughts where they lead you can increase your ability to act and react mindfully in challenging situations. How can we ever hope to calm ourselves down when we are enraged if we can’t even resist the urge to get up and write down a thought we have while we’re meditating? Practice letting go is practice for life.
Once I found a deep state of relaxation again for a couple minutes I gently brought my awareness outward and started to do my yoga very mindfully. It was a wonderful. Long, slow routine today. Did Inversions from Om Yoga. Held my headstand for 10 full breathes.
Today’s action: Take out a piece of paper and, down the left side, list out every existing time commitment you can think of that you’ve made to other people. This list should include:
✦ Standing coffee, lunch, and dinner dates
✦ Weekly or daily phone calls
✦ Meetup groups
✦ Exercise appointments
✦ Clubs in which you participate
✦ Sports or coaching you do
✦ Any work-outside-of-work appointments
✦ Any TV shows you consistently watch
Once you’ve got what you think is a complete list, make another column on the right side of the page. This is your “keep” list. One by one, go down your list of commitments and decide if this commitment really deserves to take up your precious time, and if it fits in with the image of the person you’re committed to becoming. If it does — and some certainly will — write it down in the “keep” list. But for each commitment that doesn’t belong in your life, axe it.
- SPIRAL Collective
- Twin Cities Doula Project
- Aerial class
- Wed/Sat Yoga class at Svasti
- Dinners with Remy
- Daily TV time
- Daily yoga
- Daily meditation
- Weekly “chore day”
- Reading Circle
- Queer Vegan Dinner