I started my third 21-day meditation challenge recently.
The first time -- a bust. I think I meditated a total of 4 times the entire 3 weeks, and hated every second of it.
The second time -- interesting. Got something out of it, felt more settled, and actually kind of missed it when the 21 days was done.
This time -- struggling to stay focused.
I have never had such a hard time staying focused in this. It was hard the first time, but this time around? Even harder.
Before Deepak can even say "If you find your mind starting to wander…" my mind has wandered and I didn't listen to what I was supposed to do if my mind started to wander.
An aging beloved pet...
A volunteer assignment I took on and haven't been committed to completing…
My child's math struggles….
My mind is anywhere but where it is supposed to be, which is nowhere.
But then finally, I settled on one thought which sounds ridiculous but which I've adapted to any situation:
ENJOY THE PROCESS
This did not come from some meditation expert, therapist, life coach, it came from a fitness instructor, Chalene Johnson.
THIS Chalene Johnson, of TurboJam, then TurboFire, then Chalean Extreme fame.
Here's the context:
I do Chalene's Chalean Extreme (CLX) strength training program, and it will probably be a program I follow the rest of my life. The theory is low and slow reps, medium to heavy weights.
Fill a glass with 8 oz of water, and hold it out straight in front of you. Hold your elbow up to the same height as your shoulder, and keep it steady right in front of you.
Not hard, right?
Now hold that for 10 seconds. 30 seconds. A minute. Two minutes. Five minutes.
See ripples in the water yet?
That's the idea.
It's not about how heavy you lift, it's about how long you hold the rep. You don't need to do 30 bicep curls, you need to do just 12. But by the 12th rep, if that weight was a glass of water it would have ripples in it from the shaking in your muscles because they are so maxed out, because you did the rep so slowly.
Halfway through this workout, Chalene says, "Enjoy the process! It's so much fun building muscle, why would you want to rush it?"
And that's the key to success with her program: do it slowly and enjoy it, or you won't do the whole program. You are building muscle, you are re-shaping your body, why would you want to rush through it and not enjoy it?
Now, apply this to life. Apply this to anything you don't always enjoy.
My kids when they are acting up and bickering: Enjoy the process! They will only be little for a short time. Take a deep breath, be calm, set a good example and parent them while they'll still listen.
Dinner time. Enjoy the process! Look at the vibrant colors of the veggies, listen to the sizzle of the meat cooking in the pan, smell the sauce as it simmers. Instead of rushing through the prep work savor every moment of it.
Laundry. Enjoy the process! Appreciate that your children own so many clothes that need washing, that they are active and healthy to be able to get them so dirty, and be sure to breathe in the clean smell as they come out of the dryer.
Meditation. My mind wanders, I accidentally made a "to do" list, I did not "go within."
Enjoy the process! It's okay to have your mind wander, it's back where it needs to be now, just enjoy this process of finding stillness in your mind and life.
This is my version of "live in the moment." Live in the moment? I don't know what that means. And I ponder it and then feel like I missed out on something because I didn't "live in the moment." I don't get it.
But "enjoy the process?" These three little words give you room to make mistakes. It allows you to have setbacks. Because it's not about the goal, it's about getting to the goal. Savor every sense while you're doing it, and you're "living in the moment," without freaking out if just for a second you don't.
Now you try it -- how would you apply the mantra "enjoy the process?"