What Next?

Saturday marked the end of my self-guided 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program (based on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living).

After eight weeks, daily mindfulness practice has pretty much become a habit for me. I’m making a shift to a vegan diet (this is not part of the program but since starting the mindfulness practice my tastes have just spontaneously changed, so I’m going with it). I’m more patient with the kids than I was. I, mostly, go to bed at a decent hour.

On the other side, though, I’m buying ridiculous quantities of kale, I can’t seem to remember people’s names like I used to, I still yell at my husband, and I’ve lost much of my old interest in reading. And meditation continues to be an almost daily struggle. I don’t feel like doing it even though I know I’ll feel better once I do it.

It reminds me of the summer my husband and I trained for a marathon. We got up before work (and before the North Carolina heat hit) and ran. We did two shorter (3 to 5 miles) runs during the week and a longer run (6+ miles) on the weekends, with cross-training in between. I hadn’t run more than a mile at once before that summer. I would sometimes curse and complain the entire time, but when I sat at my desk and felt the tingle of fatigue in my muscles and the intense relaxation that comes after a workout, it was worth it.*

As far as meditation goes, I know I’ve got farther to go. There will always farther to go because there isn’t a finish line in mindfulness. You just keep running and running and running. The progress is incremental and sporadic and often difficult to detect. Some days I totally feel it and others it’s like starting from the beginning. But even in meditation (to stretch the metaphor even more), every now and then there are water breaks and little packets of power gel to get you through the next leg. This 8-week MBSR program was the most recent pick-me-up of this sort for me.

Now I’m back in the “running and running” part wondering…what’s the next little boost that will come my way?

*For the purposes of this metaphor, let’s ignore the fact that my husband and I never actually ran a marathon. We threw in the towel after a 13-mile practice run during which we realized that we didn’t enjoy chafing. I’m hopeful that I’ll stick with meditation a little better since it doesn’t generally require the use of duct tape or petroleum jelly. Or at least neither the Dalai Lama nor Thich Nhat Hanh has mentioned chafing in anything I’ve read of theirs.

Your turn! What's on your mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s