Hey there! It’s the weekend! Hope you’ve been able to find some time to check in with yourself this week, especially if there are any areas of your life that you are currently “holding your breath” to get through. We talked about this approach earlier in the week, as it’s one that we all use at some point or another. It’s useful in that it reminds us that all things are temporary, and change is the only constant, but when it becomes a habit, it also ensures that we miss most of our life waiting for it to start.
This weekend’s mindfulness challenge is going to ask you to toughen up, which isn’t our usual approach around here. Sometimes, though, the best way to learn how to be fully present during difficult, challenging or even boring times in our lives is to learn to do it through meditation. It’s a pretty simple assignment: meditate. Try it for at least 2 minutes longer than you normally would, or than you think you can. That’s it. You can use a guided meditation like the ones at the bottom of this page, or others that you find online, or an app that you like, or just sit on your own. The key is to choose an option that is longer than your typical comfort zone for this sort of thing. If your normal mindfulness routine is exclusively about yoga or walking, or something other than sitting, then 2 minutes total may be your personal challenge this time. That’s totally fine. But if you’re not uncomfortable at some point, even for a second, then you need to push those boundaries a little and go for more.
The point here is to reach a place where your body and/or mind tell you it’s time to give up. When you do, just don’t. Instead, just breathe. Don’t struggle, or internally judge or berate yourself, just breathe. If you make it one extra breath, you’ve done it. More, and you get a virtual five-up-top from me. Observe what happens when you don’t immediately respond to that voice telling you that you’re finished. Our thoughts and emotions in that space can tell us a lot about the boundaries we often set for ourselves in life, and the patterns we establish around where and when we set them.
(Caveat: Pain is different than discomfort. If you’re truly in pain, pull the ripcord and get out. If you’re just getting bored, frustrated, or restless, hang in there.)
Taking the power out of our reflexive responses to discomfort gives it back to us, and shows us the extent to which our boundaries may be of our own creation as well as how readily we can shift them simply by deciding to.
All of this insight is brought to you by simple breath and awareness, both of which you have with you right now, in this moment, and always.
Have a mindful weekend!
Photo credit: Patrick Hendry