So I Missed A Day, Now What?

The theme of this week of the 28-day meditation challenge is lovingkindness, and what better way to get the metta flowing than to talk about what to do when we've missed a day of meditation and want to throw the whole practice out the window?
 
If you're anything like me, you tend towards an all or nothing approach to life. It's a form of laziness masked as perfectionism. If I can't be certain that I'll make everyone in the room laugh, then I shouldn't try to do stand-up comedy. If I can't write the perfect screenplay, then I might as well not write any screenplay at all. If I can't have a perfect relationship with my ex, then we shouldn't even try. And if I miss a day of meditation during the 28 day meditation challenge, I might as well give up, rightt?
 
Well, to take that approach would be to give in to my mind's tendencies towards eternalize and nihilism. That pendulum in the mind that vacillates between 'all' or 'nothing' isn't necessarily doing me any favors. 
 
So where does compassion come in? Being kind to myself even though I 'messed up.' Knowing that meditation is something compassionate I am doing for myself, and committing to practicing even if my practice (and the practitioner!) is not magazine cover 'perfect.' Deciding that my subjective experience is worth being with. Knowing that my breath is 'good enough' to connect with, even if I forgot to do it yesterday. 
 
Each new breath is a new chance to make the choice to sit down and connect the ground and to become a witness to my experience. Being kind to myself in a culture that habituates us against this is a radical act. Deciding to meet and greet the grey area between 'all' and 'nothing' is a challenging process, and I can give myself some credit for trying. I owe it to myself to keep trying, even when it doesn't feel like anything is happening.
 
Caroline Contillo is a writer, performer and meditation instructor based in New York. She tweets compulsively at @iamcaroline