Earlier this year, I told you about my plan to implement small monthly changes throughout 2015. It started with a focus on fundamentals and going against my natural tendency to dive whole hog into a project before petering out halfway through.
In that spirit, I kicked off January with a commitment to reverse the tsunami of clutter that seems to accumulate within the space of a single Larry Wilmore Show. I will never truly understand how this happens with only two grown adults in an 800 square foot space. Though I’m sure my husband has some theories. Hence the 15 minutes a day to tidy up. No more, no less.
The update for January….
I succeeded! Ish!
Within a week of getting into the habit, the reinforcing effect of a clean, calming home was really powerful. By week two, I still set a timer but was generally good about sticking with the behavior.
Along the way, though, I noticed something interesting.
While the end result of a clean home was very calming…the reinforcement worked in reverse as well. Even a minimal amount of clutter began making me feel irritated and off kilter. Sure, this compelled me to address the mess right away, but it also made relaxing harder unless I’d tidied up first. Not always an option with schedules and energy levels in constant flux. I’ll keep up the habit for the near future and see which impulse wins out: cleanliness or clutter?
Now for February’s new habit, just begging to be adopted like a labrador puppy: meditation.
Meditation is something I’ve tried with varying degrees of fulfillment over the last couple years. The act itself is enriching but the satisfaction seems to come from somewhere else. It’s the consistency of sticking with a habit and the sense of mindfully taking care of yourself that really sticks with you. Plus, there’s nothing quite as uplifting as doing something you truly thought was beyond your reach like staying still for more than ten minutes.
It may not sound like much on paper but this month’s 15 minutes of daily meditation will be a good proving ground. Will I stay with the practice despite feeling antsy? Can I make space for the discomfort and restlessness? Will my meditation devolve into regular naps?
Maybe. One of the first lessons I learned this month was the importance of meeting yourself where you are. Of simply accepting your circumstances as they come. There’s been no more concrete example of that than the images here. This is my meditation chair. I’d prefer to be on the floor sitting indian style or wrapped into a pretzel on the couch. Unfortunately, a minor nagging injury has forced me to get more creative with how I plan to fulfill this month’s habit. With my normal flexibility compromised, I’ve had to accept the limitation and put effort into making the space more accommodating and inviting for my new, though temporary, reality.