A lot of this challenge has an element of deprivation to it: I deprive myself of junk food in favor of vegetables and healthy grains and meats; I deprive myself of sleeping in for improving my sleep schedule; I deprive myself of watching TV to listen to podcasts and to read and write more. But meditation is also teaching me to take it easier on myself.
If my mind wanders in meditation, I gently bring myself back. If I forget to take my vitamins in the morning, I won’t die. If I decide to eat Chinese food and watch TV with my husband instead of making a healthy dinner and cleaning, I will go easy on myself because I have a headache, I’m tired, it’s 90 plus degrees, and I need it. Sometimes you need to practice self-care by giving yourself a break.
And that exact situation happened last night. I hesitated at first over whether or not I should grant myself a lazy night. Considering I’ve spent a lot of time writing, cooking, cleaning and generally “being good,” I felt it was well deserved. Needed even.
I watched TV, wrote, had a couple beers, and went to bed earlier. It was exactly what I needed. I woke up feeling more relaxed this morning than I undoubtedly would have if I had forced myself to do what I should do in favor of what I wanted to do.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes you really need to give yourself a break for your own sanity. No one is meant to be perfect 100% of the time. It’s too hard, and it’s no fun. It’s all about balance. I wouldn’t exchange the hour I had with my husband watching Chopped and eating greasy Chinese food for all of the clean floors and homemade meals in the world. You don’t want life to pass you by because you were busy cleaning and being an unhappy “perfect” person.
Reflecting on my meditation…
Today was the first day off the Calm app; since my 7 day trial is over, I’m using the podcast mentioned here. They’re great (FREE) short meditations. This morning’s meditation particularly affected me because she asked you to imagine yourself on the edge of an exhilarating cliff overlooking the ocean. And I imagined my favorite place in the world: Scotland. She walks you through the smell, feel, and view and encourages you to take power from the waves. It sounds a bit nutty when I describe it, but it was lovely. And she has meditations on everything from reducing stress to dealing with a break up. There’s literally something for everyone.