We get to begin again. Every single time. That has been one of the consistent messages I have gotten in every experience I have had with meditation. Wow. What a concept. If you mess up, just start over. No judgement, no consequences, and it’s actually a good thing. Realizing you’re following your thoughts or have fallen asleep and then coming back to the breath shows growth. Where else in life is that a thing? Messed up on the job? “Hey that’s cool – just start over – no judgement!” Burned the cake? No worries, just start over! Very few things are so forgiving. Either there are consequences or there just isn’t the time or resources to start over. But meditation is different. You can always start again. You always get another chance. So when I finished listening to day three of the Real Happiness Challenge and still hadn’t started blogging, my tendency was to say, “it’s already day three and too late to participate. Maybe next year.” Just like I had said last year. But then I thought, no. Not this time. Let’s begin again. So here I am.
I was first exposed to meditation in a half day class at a Zen Center in Minneapolis in my mid 20’s. I’d love to say that that was the foundation of my practice and that I went home and began meditating every day, practiced yoga and became a meditation teacher! Alas, that was not the path my life took. I was young, in a relationship, working and volunteering, and had plenty of time to develop a consistent practice. But I didn’t. I don’t even know why I didn’t except that I’ve always had a challenge with consistent follow through.
Meditation came in and out of my life over the next 15 years. A two week working stay at a Buddhist Center in England, a few classes at a center in Madison, an 8-week Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) program for depression where I was introduced to the methods of Jon Kabat-Zinn and a one day retreat session on loving kindness with Sharon Salzberg. Every time I felt a deep connection to meditation as if I had found my place, my people – I had come home. And yet life, kids, moves, work – almost anything has come before this beautiful practice that helps me be the kind of person I want to be.
Now, 40, living in a 776ft house, homeschooling two kids, starting a freelance business, trying to lose weight, and working to save my marriage, I have found myself experiencing anger. A lot. So much that it’s affecting everything and everyone around me. I tried sleeping more, exercising, eating better and it all helped but not enough. I was still so angry and at a loss of what to do. And then I realized. I needed to meditate. I could no longer justify not finding the time for it. I needed to begin again. And the amazing thing is, is that I could begin again. No judgement, no worries, just begin again. Begin again and help myself become the person I want to be. So here I am, day three, beginning again with all of you wonderful people who are sharing this journey. Thank you for joining me on this journey and thank you for providing this opportunity, Sharon. Here’s to a new beginning!