It can be so frustrating to hear maxims like “let it go,” “be with what is” and “accept the present moment.” Mindfulness is not about pushing the spiritual bypass button and saying it is all good, when it is really not all good. Instead mindfulness is a relational quality—a dynamic stance we can cultivate between ourselves and the present moment.
It opens up an alive, creative space wherein we have room to relax narrow habitual reactions and to respond to situations in fresh ways. Summer is such an open season—it is a beautiful time to cultivate even more breathing room in your day to day life.
Welcome to week one of the Summer of Meditation Challenge!
- thoughts in meditation are evidence of stress leaving the body
- the moment you realize you have a thought is actually your moment of practice. In gently refocusing attention to breath, mantra, or the voice of your guided meditation you rewire your mind. Far from being evidence that you are doing it wrong, thoughts actually are what enable you to change your brain.
- The Challenge describes the specific meditations + mindfulness practices for the week
- The Reflection is an exploration of the 8 pillars of happiness at work: Balance, Concentration, Compassion, Resilience, Communication and Connection, Integrity, Meaning, and Open Awareness. Lastly,
- The Commitment is your opportunity to make a choice and to set your intention for the week. (I’ll tuck in reminders of helpful resources as well.)
Morning Practice. Loving-Kindness or Metta Meditation. There are four traditional phrases: May you be safe, happy, healthy & live with ease. These blessings you offer first to yourself and then outward in concentric circles to a benefactor, friend, neutral person, difficult person and finally to the whole world. You don’t have to do all the categories each day– just always start with yourself and end with everyone. Here is a link to my free guided Loving_Kindness Meditation
- Focus on What You are Grateful for in Your Work. This can be during your shower, on a walk, before you go to bed. Even if much about your work is stressful or upsetting, it can provide clarity to identify and observe the elements you enjoy, if only five minutes a day. This clarity can open up next steps– ranging from shifting your mode of attending to your current work to looking for new work. Plus what we pay attention to grows.
- Create Your Life-Giving Weekly Schedule. Hopefully with a journal and a cup of tea.
Perhaps you can relate?
You may have different things on the ends of your see saw as you try to balance work with the rest of your life: it could be your partner, hobbies, even your own self care which you struggle to keep in balance under the pressure of work demands.
What if instead of feeling like we live on a seesaw trying to create an illusive balance between work and the rest of our lives we saw it more as a mobile– and focused on creating a stable base on which to hang the different dimensions of our life: work, creativity, relationships, spirituality and body care?
Do you have any dedicated green time in your schedule? Or a day to unplug from technology? You may want to complete this exercise in real time, simply observing the flow of your week and jotting down a few words which capture the feel of each day as you go.
If you enjoy writing or journaling I encourage you to get a Summer of Meditation journal and to write down your reflections as we journey together.
Identify one next step you could take to create a weekly flow which feels more balanced.
This right balance between work and rest is what creates the stable foundation for your whole life. Again, don’t take my word on it. Experiment and see how the adjustments makes you feel.
Over to you. What do you what to try on this week?
Jumping in with both feet and committing to it all? Great. Dipping a toe in, ready to start with five minutes of meditation in your morning shower and some journaling. Wonderful. Whatever is right for you, leave it as a comment below. I know you may not be “leave a comment” kind of people…but seriously, I’d love to hear from you and hold you in the process.
PS If you enjoy the loving kindness audio… more guided meditations are available as part of the Meditation Support Circle (Now available as a self-study eCourse.)
Also you can sign up below for the Summer of Meditation Challenge, a free etraining program, and each week receive suggested meditation and real world mindfulness practices and more– right to your inbox!
Join the Summer of Meditation Challenge Here!