How many times have you restarted a practice? Have you restarted flossing your teeth the month before or after a cleaning? On the first day of classes, have you made a promise to take better notes, review those notes nightly, or complete all homework tasks? How many times have you said, “This time it’s going to be different” to yourself?
I’m no different from you. But this time I was able to continue my new habit, daily meditation, for nearly a year. Then something happened. I have no idea why I fell out of a daily practice. I just stopped.
The Anatomy of Restarting
My life slowly deteriorated. I got sick after experiencing wellness for over seven years. My knees and hip joints ached. Soreness crept into my leg muscles. I felt so tired, it seemed sleep was pointless. In desperation, I turned to meditation for help, the tears stinging my cheeks. I’d lost the memory of what was once routine.
The next morning at the breakfast table, after pouring my morning coffee and complaining of extraordinary fatigue, I announced, “I’m heading to the office to meditate.” “Okay,” they replied, like it was nothing unusual. I expected fanfare, encouragement, a pat on the back.
I let the dogs outside, eager to start their day playing in the yard. Distractions removed, I slowly descended the stairs, half-empty coffee cup in hand., I approached my return to routine without enthusiasm, the old feelings of inadequacy in residence inside my mind.
Taking the First Step
Sitting in front of my laptop, headphones in place, I clicked ‘Play’ on a familiar guided meditation. The comfort of Bronwen’s melodious voice immediately relaxed my neck and shoulders. My breathing eased into a natural rhythm. As she led me through each phase, I felt layers of stress lift. My arms felt light, cushioned on pillows of air as I pressed my palms together in gassho. A sense of peace returned to my body, soul, and mind.
Once the 30- minute meditation concluded, my hands moving effortlessly into self-healing, their warmth resting on my face, then moving through the positions, stress dissolving like steam over a bowl of oatmeal on a cold morning. a gently boiling open pan. A huge sigh escaped my lips, the final stress released.
My tiredness fatigue had been considerably reduced, but it was still present. Slowly, as I started my daily chores, I felt the return of my normal energy level until the fatigue was completely gone, replaced by a sense of euphoria.
What Was Different?
I really thought that my meditation practice would have been like starting over. Back to square one. But Tthe opposite was true. I had entered a new level of peace and compassion for myself that was stronger and deeper. Returning to an established routine was much easier than I expected, and all it took was the first step.
Now, as I write, the physical and mental pull to put on the headphones and enter a state of relaxation is stronger than even my desire to write….