However, for about 20 years I tried (um, read “failed”) to establish a regular routine of either yoga or meditation or both. I had heard about and believed in both as good things I could do for myself. My very earnest attempts at this however, are best summed up not under the heading The Art and Science of Self Care but rather as Elese's Awesome Intentions and Marvelous Wishful Thinking.
My self-care rallying cry was, “I really should do this.”
I hear this a lot from clients who come for coaching. We will delve into an area of their life that isn’t working, and it will become clear that the reason they are feeling increased stress, or are suddenly less able to maintain their cool with the kids, is because they are not taking good care of themselves. When they realize they’ve not been going for walks, not reading, not singing or whatever it is that nourishes them, usually the first thing out of their mouths is, “ Yeah, I know, I really should do this.”
Now, that may be perfectly true. Maybe they should. Whatever that means. I thought I should meditate but that never helped me to actually create a regular practice. Here's the skinny as far as I'm concerned...
- Everyone who has a gym membership and doesn’t go tells themselves they should.
- Everyone who wants to take vacation and doesn’t tells themselves they should.
- Everyone who has an addiction at some point, tells themselves they shouldn’t.
“Should” and “shouldn’t” sound accurate (especially when it come to over-eating and exercise) but they just don’t work to make us do it. They work really well to make us feel bad though! And from what I see, I can never feel bad enough about something to make myself do it.
Fast forward to today.
For the past 4 years I’ve had a daily meditation practice of 20 minutes (sometimes 10 and sometimes 5, I’ll admit) but I rarely miss a day. How did I do that? I started taking notice of what my life was like when I did it, and what it was like when I didn’t. No big deal really. I noticed how much easier my day was when I did meditate. I tuned into that, without really trying to make myself do it, and then apparently I just continued. I continue to continue, I’ve noticed.
My recipe for doing something you are avoiding but that you think will nourish you, support you and make your life easier? Observe. Notice your life with it. Notice your life without it.
Think of it as a Science Experiment.
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