Loyal fans of my blog (a just-barely-plural community, but growing neverthess!) may remember that on January 1st this year, I set a goal to meditate every single day in 2016. 136 days into the year, I am simultaneously very proud that I've kept true to that goal thus far, and FREAKING FRUSTRATED THAT THIS IS TOO HARD AND WHY CAN'T I SHUT OFF MY BRAIN AND THIS DOESN'T FEEL ANY EASIER THAN IT DID FIVE MONTHS AGO AND AAHUHGUSHFDHCNIOHOHWTOHFID!!!
So...you can see it's working.
Meditation is often said to help quiet the "monkey mind," a reference to how the mind can jump around from one topic to another, never staying still, constantly screeching.
Let me tell you, 136 days in, my monkey is still climbing as many trees, swinging from as many branches, and flinging as much poop as he ever did. (My monkey is definitely male, by the way.)
This morning, I crossed 24 hours in total meditation time since the beginning of the year on the Calm app. (I've actually done more than that since I do occasionally use another app called Headspace, or other guided meditations, but still, 24 hours is a nice round number.)
That's a whole day, broken down into more-or-less 10-minute segments across almost five months. That's a whole day of at least trying to be calm. Of trying to visualize calm spaces, beaches, quiet streams, rainbows, shooting beams of golden light, and the like.
A whole day of repeating mantras to myself: "I am just one step away from something incredible. I am so much more than my thoughts. I can create a positive charge. May I be happy. I let go of that which doesn't serve me. Cultivate the fire within you. External change flows from the inside. Compassion and acceptance. The scariest thing in life is the thing you never start." (You get the idea.)
Some days it reallyreallyreally feels like I've made zero progress.
And then I remember, I didn't use to be able to sit still for 10 minutes at a time. Now I can. I didn't use to remember positive thoughts and phrases. And now (on my better days) I do. So...maybe this is all slowly, slowly, ever-so-slowly moving me towards a happier, calmer life.
And maybe eventually, that monkey will get off my back.