Among the rush, the responsibilities we all face and work that must be completed, I listen to friends speak about how good it is to relax. Meditation, yoga, deep breathing, vigorous exercise, leisurely walks, gazing at a beautiful nature scene, listening to birds. Shall I go on? I’m sure you can add activities that might help you relax and perhaps you’ve tried one or more yourself.
I bought a series of CDs on mindful meditation and listened to one of them, just once. The narrator’s voice irritated me. She spoke too slowly. I put it back in the case, never to hear it again. The others in the set are still wrapped in cellophane, waiting to be opened. I rejected the whole lot based on one impression.
There are many paths I could take to relax, to calm my mind. I don’t allow myself to try any of them or even make an effort to take the first step. I’m too caught up in the jumble of demands that pound my thoughts.
It’s as if all these very important activities must be completed now, or they’re already late. They fight amongst each another. Their rumble keeps out the slower, more thoughtful possibility of doing something else.
I realize that if I lessen the furious interchange in my mind, life would be easier. According to others who meditate or relax by some other manner, the chatter in the mind is calmed and clarity rules.
- Productivity would rise.
- Organization of tasks would become easier.
- I’d be happier.
Accomplishing even one of those three promises would be welcome. So, why haven’t I done this already?
Habit! That’s the answer.
Last year, I read a wonderful book about habits. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, gives specific suggestions how to build a way of life that’s positive and other ways to eliminate those habits that are harmful. I was so caught up with this book I practically memorized some sections. I underlined paragraphs and phrases that seemed important. Every day I read something from the book. It had become my bible. And then, one day, clearing up the coffee table in the TV room, I placed it on a bookshelf in my office and forgot exactly where I put it. Out of view, its importance faded.
How could I have let that happen? It certainly wasn’t intentional. I wasn’t tired of the book. If anything, it had become more important.
My brain experiences a whirlwind of thoughts about work issues, some of which are difficult or challenging, even unpleasant. I have to decide how to quiet my mind and leave room for calmer, bigger ideas and intentions. Can I change the dissonance between the demands of work and other activities that are more important?
Deep breathing helps and I actually do that – occasionally.
Maybe, later today, I’ll open up one of those CDs and listen to it. Perhaps that can be the beginning.