Sunday, April 3, 2016

Building an analogue habit / The 100 days of Meditation

Few weeks ago, I reached the epic goal in the most beautifully anti-climatic way. I completed my "100 day" project. 

I first came across the idea of #The100DayProject when I attended and spoke at the recent "The Beyond Inspiration" gathering. There, Sarah Ehlinger (check out her Instagram @verysarie) shared her story about The 100 Days Project she was just finishing and how it shifted her creative career. At the end of the gathering, I left the room promising myself that I would love to shift something in my life by challenging myself with The 100Day Project. 

Knowing myself and everyday juggle we have at home and the studio, I knew that whatever I decided to tackle as a part of The 100Day Project needed to be simple and straight forward... Around the same time I started to practice morning meditation using Headspace app. So combining these two ideas came together somewhat natually.

My objective for 100Day Project: 
To write a thought, feeling, a word... that came to my mind during and/or after my meditation using pen and paper. 

So the journey began on 11/8/2015. 

I would be truly truly truly honest. When I started, I made sure that I felt okay if I skipped a day or two (or three) here and there. I didn't and still don't even get out of my bed to meditate (as Headspace suggests to sit and meditate). I open my eyes, roll to the side to turn on my app on iPhone and simply start. This helped me tremendously to keep things real and stay on the path. I also have been on a backseat driver for the family morning routines... like making breakfast and packing lunch for girls. (Thank you Frido!!!)

Doing a guided meditation with Headspace has been really good for my process too. App works as a motivation since I can see all the past meditation I have done and also be able to unlock and choose new practice and focus when I complete a series. Every time my mind wildly wonder, there is a gentle reminder which brings me back to the intension of why I am there. Some early sessions I fell in sleep during the practice and I remember writing on my IG update with 100 day project "need more sleep". Some other days felt more substantial as building blocks to think and feel differently about the world around me. 

Here are some thoughts... about meditation and the project. 

I never knew what I would get out of this process... but I think it actually changed my life. 
Through last fall into the early 2016 had been very full of life learning for me. A lot of processing about what happened in the past. Defining and redefining what it meant to embrace life's imperfection. Getting to know myself more and feeling okay with it. And meditation really took a part in shaping my thoughts to move forward. It gave me tools to think about relationship with myself and people around me more constructively and with warmer lenses and filters. Now I have meditated somewhat daily for 5 months or so, I can see the difference in the way my body feels after finishing the 20 minutes session. Even on the day I wake up with light headache, the headache usually clears off by the time I finish the day's meditation. And I am more ready to greet the day. 

Feeling and thoughts do not define who we are. 
Meditation has been a constant reminder that feelings and thoughts are just feelings and thoughts. They are not definitive and they don't define who we are. It's normal for us to feel things (both positive and negative). Our job is not about just celebrating positive feelings and pushing away negative ones. Instead acknowledging that those feelings exist and remind ourselves that they come and go. This way of framing our feelings helped me to let go some of the way I felt and resented about painful memories from the past. My favorite metaphor has been that our mind is like a big body of ocean water. Some parts have tons of waves because storm is passing through but deep inside the sea... there is always quietness and stillness. And any storm pass with time.

Embracing our rich interior world. 
Meditation is such an interesting concept. It seems so simple (just sit or lay down and close eyes to think nothing, right???)... but I quickly learned it was very very hard. My mind often wildly wondered in so many different direction. About 50 days into the project, it struck me that I did not even know that our minds did that...wondering... aimlessly and subconsciously before I started practicing meditation. And how important it is for our minds to get a break from constantly inhaling information... and have a chance to reach into deep pockets of subconsciousness. 

We always look outward for more inspiration and information but to remember that we all have very unique and rich interior world that we can journey through is also so important. 

To be able to share and carry tangible footsteps of growth in me. 
Putting the project out there on the IG world made me realize that we all share similar feelings. Some days I was surprised to read through comments that were triggered by some sentiment I wrote earlier the day. I didn't realize until I started sharing... that we are unique yet hold something that we can all relate through the core of who we are as humans. A lot of people mentioned to me that they are looking forward to starting their version of 100 days of meditation and I am grateful that I can contribute to the world in the way of sharing.

My 100th day was just like another day. No particularly insightful thoughts from the meditation. Nothing really glorifying and it was perfect the way. Today I am officially "done" with the project which I started back in November... but I decided to keep going. My body and my mind actually crave the ritual of meditating and writing if I skip few days in a row. Sometime between the 1st and 100 days of meditation, this newly introduced analogue routine transformed itself from feeling foreign and trivial to an established habit that is now a part of my everyday. 

I am thankful to have tangible footsteps of my meditation written and documented with my words. Something I can hold onto. Something my girls can hold onto someday... when time is right. 


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