Monday, May 22nd

Mindfulness Meditation

I vaguely recall a time — what was it, a month ago? — when I was really looking forward to meditation. Now it feels hard. But I have hope, or perhaps faith, that this is a normal phase of the process, and that it will be worth it to stick with it for a while.

I guess I’ll find out.

For today’s meditation I chose a longer one than usual: a mindfulness meditation on self-love. And this was a good one. Coming to the end of it, I remembered again why meditation can be a really valuable tool for positivity.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, May 20th

Repeat and Recharge

Visiting my childhood home this weekend, I decided to repeat the gratitude journal exercise, focused on the place I grew up. I have so many strong memories of this place that even now, twenty years after moving away, driving down that road feels like coming home.

To recharge, I’ll go for a walk on the beach with my family. We’ll go down with all the time in the world to turn over rocks, look for crabs, and enjoy the sound of the waves.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, May 19th

Find Inspiration

I haven’t been to DailyGood for a while, but when I went there looking for today’s inspiration, I found multiple great stories waiting for me. A piece on urban gardening and African Americans in agriculture. Another about perseverance outside your comfort zone, and vulnerability, and… well, to be honest there are a lot of different threads tucked into that one. And a delightful piece about writing that I think could easily apply to any creative endeavor.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 18th

Reflect On Social Connections

There’s a brief description of this exercise here.

This happened to come just after an unusually full and connected day for me, so I decided to do this exercise in the morning, reaching back over the previous day. My three longest social connections:

  • Feedback from someone who is mentoring me in a video project. His comments were excellent and gave me new directions to go, and I felt very in tune with him.
  • A long conversation with a fellow parent while our children played together. I can’t say that the conversation flowed smoothly — I’m not sure either of us is socially adept enough for that — but there were moments where I felt very connected.
  • I ended up taking my two boys out for food, and had an enjoyable meal with them. It isn’t often I spend time with them without their little sister taking my attention.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, May 17th

Loving Kindness Meditation

There’s a brief description of this exercise here.

I’ve been playing around with occasionally doing loving-kindness meditation instead of mindfulness meditation during my morning meditation practice. Anything that moves my day in a positive direction seems like a good thing, and the warmth of loving-kindness meditation is definitely positive.

I was therefore tempted to simply substitute a loving-kindness meditation this morning and call the exercise done. But I decided not to. I only occasionally do meditations later in the day, and I like the effect it has sometimes had on me — like I’m re-centering myself. I did this meditation today, in the early afternoon, and sure enough, it shifted the tone of my day back toward happiness.

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 16th

Gratitude Journal

There’s a brief description of this exercise here.

Part of the point of doing these exercises is to gradually winnow them down to the ones that are most meaningful for me. I’ve been thinking lately that gratitude ought to come up more often in my list; it always has an immediate impact on me.

For today’s gratitude journal I focused on the strength of my body. My mom had a chronic illness until she passed away some years ago, so I have a reference point against which to be grateful that I move easily and without pain, that my hands obey me, that I can pick up my children and go for walks. These are not small things, and I am grateful for every day I have in a healthy body.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, May 15th

Go Outside

I’ve been considering dropping this exercise. Not because it isn’t useful — both research and my own experience agree that going outside can have huge benefits for my mood. But as the weather warms, it’s more likely that I’ll be spending time outside anyway, so I debated whether I really needed the reminder.

I decided to keep it for now, though I may decrease its frequency over the summer. I’ve noticed that, while going outside is good in any case, it’s much more beneficial to me if my focus is on taking a walk or gardening than on, for example, mowing the lawn. Hopefully this exercise will serve to remind me to really enjoy my outside time.

Today promises to be lovely, with the opportunity for lots of gardening and perhaps another walk with the kids.

Happy Monday!

Saturday, May 13th

Repeat and Recharge

I’ve noticed myself struggling lately with the all-day exercises, the ones that require me to keep an eye out during the day for positive moments or kindness. Last Monday I resolved to set a trigger for myself of going through doors, which I would say was mildly successful. I did sometimes remember to think of my exercise when I went through a door. I also became aware of how many doors I go through in a day. Today I want to try to reinforce that trigger further, so I’m going to repeat the Most Moments Are Positive exercise.

To recharge, I decided to do a special one-on-one swim time with my oldest son, who’s currently learning to swim and a little uncertain of it. I love playing in the water and hardly ever get to do so now that I’m an adult, so I’m using the excuse of helping to familiarize him with it, and also spending some good time with him.

Happy Saturday!