Meditation is not something you do. It is something you enjoy.
To avoid the most common frustration I hear in my meditation class and elsewhere– let’s skip the sit all together today, shall we? No need to force your mind to be empty. Instead, walk. And try out this delightful, simple, easy practice from Thích Nhất Hạnh, master of mindfulness and all things good:
Oui + Merci.
On the inhale you say “oui…oui….oui” and the exhale “merci….merci…..merci.”
We say yes to life. And thank you.
But wait doesn’t it have to be harder than this? Um, no.
Actually it turns out that being kind to yourself and treating this meditation project as play is so much more likely to open the space for you to grow into a new routine this summer. So if you need a metric, something to keep an eye on, rather than noticing how many thoughts you have (which are actually evidence of stress leaving your body…more on that next week) — could you instead observe how kind you are to yourself?
How kind are you when you miss a day of meditation? Or aren’t able to do your practice when you planned? Or find yourself distracted and in need of redirection to the mantra and the footstep?
Might you be even kinder to yourself next time?
Kindness is the secret sauce for any kind of inner growth.
And Now Choose Your Commitment!
Meditation reconnects you to your sense of choice and freedom in each moment: freedom to enjoy your life, freedom to be with what is here, freedom to begin again.
Engage your sense of choice as you design your practice this week.
Take a moment right now, a few breaths, close your eyes and feel into your body. What is the right commitment for you?
Could you do this walking meditation for 10 minutes every day?
Or maybe 3 times a week? Or just once right now?
Could you begin to play around with different times of day to see what works best for you?
If you already have a regular sitting practice, perhaps you want to add this in as an evening practice or before you sit?
Share your commitment in a reply to the post. I will read and hold that commitment with you. Or share it with a friend. Or on social media (Don’t forget to tag me + use #summerofmeditationchallenge). Or all the above.
Social accountability helps to make it real.
While the gold standard for rewiring your brain with meditation is 30 minutes a day for 8 weeks, the benefits come much sooner and even with smaller doses.*
And the best meditation is the one you do. Oui? Oui.
If You Would Like a Little Bit More…
I promised distilled this Summer. However, these are some of my deeper reflections if you are into that. Xo
QuickStart Mindfulness Question
Where are you saying no to life or fighting + resisting what is?Sometimes we need to take an action to get out of or change a hard situation – other times the invitation is more internal: to shift how we are holding something or what we are making it mean. Zero in on one turtle step which would help you feel better — and share it as a reply to this blog or with a friend. Then do it over the coming week.
Thich Nhat Hanh started his Order of Interbeing with six monks. Now he is the teacher for a truly global + intergenerational meditation community. You have the capacity to deeply inspire and impact those in your daily circle. Consider for a moment who might you impact, even if you never talk meditation, by showing up with more presence in your interactions?
I will be meditating each Friday at noon as the invitation goes out. Join me then or schedule meditation in your calendar at a regular time.
Until next week… where we tackle those pernicious thoughts and what to do with them. xo Courtney
PS Need some one on one support? Schedule a DIY coaching session at a time convenient for you. Read more and access my online coaching calendar here.
Courtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life and leadership coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the host of the Summer of Meditation Challenge and publishes a weekly e-newsletter on real-world mindfulness practices. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and conscious approaches to leadership and parenting. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three young children and remember to water their garden boxes. Courtney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can schedule a complementary conversation to talk more.
Join the Summer of Meditation Challenge Here!