I can't believe we're starting week four already! I've made it three weeks, and only missed two meditation sessions! My practice hasn't yet evolved into an unskippable habit yet, but I'm hopeful it will as I continue to stick with it.
I'm excited and nervous for this week's practice: Lovingkindness Meditation! It will be interesting to see what happens when I direct Lovingkindness at myself, and I already have a list of people I'm not looking forward to trying to send Lovingkindness to! I'll have to start with the neutral people and see how that goes.
Each week as we've extended our practice into new territory, I've felt threatened, and uncomfortably challenged. Don't I deserve a cookie just for trying to follow my breath for twenty minutes? Why do I have to concentrate on my thoughts and feelings, too?? This week is by far the most challenging evolution, but after the practice I've had the last few weeks, I feel like maybe I can do it.
It's so timely for me that we embark on Lovingkindness meditation today: It's Ash Wednesday! Catholics all over the world are getting their foreheads smudged, and embarking on a 40-day journey of sacrifice and self improvement. The facebook buzz the last few days has been, "I don't know what to give up for Lent yet!" Giving up something you enjoy can obviously help you to grow by showing you you can be happy without it, and by providing you with time and money you can use for the good of others, but I decided several years ago that the 'giving up' model was self-limiting.
The last few years I've tried to focus on an area I feel it would benefit me to grow in, and challenge myself to identify unhelpful patterns, and build in more thoughtfulness and love.
This year I'll be working with anger, and judgment: trying to find greater compassion and understanding of others and myself when mistakes or painful situations happen. I'm so excited to kick off this forty-day journey with a week-long primer on Lovingkindness meditation. I'm hopeful I can keep up this practice throughout Lent and beyond, bringing greater empathy and love into my life...
Though I'm looking forward to watching myself change, I'm also aware that getting fixated on the results could lead to trouble: anger and frustration directed at myself for not meeting my expectations, for starters! By bringing more awareness and compassion into my interactions with myself, I'll have more patience and love at my disposal when dealing with others...
Wish me luck!