My Holiday Season Meditation Challenge

It's the most wonderful time of the year.  Yeah, right.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  Uh-huh.

You bring up meditation to people who don’t meditate, and it is a two sentence conversation.

“Do you meditate?”

“No. I can’t meditate – I’ve tried.  It’s not for me.”

End of conversation.

And, really, I can relate. A lot of people I know – smart, high-functioning, go-getting types of people – really do not like the idea of meditation, and I think there are two main reasons for this.  No. 1: they don’t know all the different super easy ways there are to meditate.  And No. 2: we live in a really busy world where there is a high premium placed on getting sh*t done, and the idea of sitting around for 5+ minutes doing “nothing” doesn’t sound like too good a use of time. That is me – and about 90% of my friends, too, while we are on the subject.

I am going to be honest, I am not a regular meditator. But I have come to learn, from the times when I have meditated daily, that I really am a less anxious, more grounded, and dare I say more relaxed person.

And THIS is what lead me to create my own “Holiday Meditation Challenge.” My thinking was that it is easy to go a “little” nuts during the holidays; there is so much pulling our attention – gifts to buy, parties to attend, cookies and candy to eat, perfect holiday commercials to envy (YES! YES! I would LOVE to host a party with 25 of my closest, best-dressed, friends where it is perfectly acceptable for me to wear my champagne-sequined track pants and J. Crew d’orsay pumps!)

And so…. meditation challenge accepted.

My instructions: Once a day (I started Nov. 28), I take 5+ minutes for myself to just sit quietly with no gadgets, no commercials, no activities. This is how I “meditate”: just sitting still and watching my thoughts and breathing.  That is it.  I set the timer on my iphone, and everday, I add one minute to my time.  I started with 5 minutes on Nov. 28 and as of today, Dec. 8, I am up to 14 minutes (I missed Dec. 2). As I stick with it, the amount of time I am spending meditating will increase so that just when it is closest to Christmas, I’ll be getting a really good “dose” of quiet just when our world is at its noisiest.

If you think something like this might be useful, I recommend these two articles as a great overview.  This one from Fast Company: FROM OM TO OMG: SCIENCE, YOUR BRAIN, AND THE PRODUCTIVE POWERS OF MEDITATION. (“Even two minutes a day can do wonders.”)  And this blog post from Zenhabits.com: 12 Indispensible Mindful Living Tools.  (Snaps to incomparable Rosie Reardon, life coach extraordinaire, for sharing both of these resources.)  These are both so good, that I have it set up in my calendar to remind me to review once every few months.  I always get something new out of re-reading them.  There are also many good apps you can use to give you some help getting started with meditation.  Headspace is really great, and with that app you can try the first 10 days for free. I credit Headspace with helping me learn to meditate, after many years of unsuccessful tries.  It is simple and very down-to-earth. Tarabrach.com, another excellent option, also has many free guided meditations, which are good if you prefer to have some structure and guidance when meditating.  Tara’s meditations cover a variety of life topics and vary in length so you can do a short meditation or a longer one, depending on your time and mood.

Would love to hear from you if you plan to give this a try.  And, if you have tried already, would love to hear from you what is working for you and what maybe is not.

 

 

 

About The Author

Anne Stericker

City-dweller, designer, writer and lifestyle consultant practicing the art of living well in the 21st Century. Fixated with good coffee, great design, and any little thing that makes life better.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Larry Spinak | 8th Dec 15

    This is a terrific idea. As a “sometimes” meditator myself, this is a nice kick in pants to get me back on track because you’re right – when I do it, I feel ever so slightly more grounded. And even a little of that goes a long way. I read in a book somewhere (I wish I remembered which one): “A ‘good sit’ is the one that you do.”

    • Anne Stericker | 9th Dec 15

      Larry, I love that. A good sit is one where you do. Thank you!

  2. Steve Heller | 19th Dec 15

    Like this, this is good. And nice meeting you & chatting at the iftp shebang tonight.
    I learned mediation back in college. It was taught in an over the top sort of way that I later realized was hardly necessary for what is basically a pretty elementary thing. But I’ve had it as a resource for many years, even though I only intermittently use it when I feel the need or am compelled. I even meta-taught it to my boys (without calling it that) mixed in with the nightly bedtime stories and songs when they were little. And recently am trying to nudge my older sister toward doing it, since she seems to have an interest but is unfortunately intimidated, thinking it in accessible.
    Other things can sometimes pass as cousins to meditation, too, which is cool … for example … improv! 🙂

    • Anne Stericker | 27th Dec 15

      Hi Steve!
      Thank you for your comment! It was nice chatting with you too! I love your comments about teaching it in a roundabout way to your boys. Very cool! Today is Dec. 27 and I am up to 30 minutes a day. Now that Christmas is over, I am committing to 25-30 minutes a days. I am noticing a difference – though it is very hard to describe! Look forward to more conversations about this and other things, including IMPROV!!!! I love it!

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