Meditation Monday – Stillness

franz_von_sales

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”
-Saint Francis de Sales

It’s easy to feel at peace and confident at the start of the year. For many of us, this is the time to start new projects, set new goals, and shoot for the stars.

And that’s good.

But soon after that optimistic surge, the rest of the world decides to intrude, reminding us of all the pain and sorrow in the world, filling our time with obligations we have that are outside of our control.

We all talk about how much busier we are now than we were one, five, ten, or twenty years ago. How the world is speeding up.

All that may be true. But we were complaining about it a hundred years ago, so this feeling of relative acceleration isn’t new. And it’s not going away.

“Never be in a hurry.”

Just because the world around you demands that you move faster doesn’t mean that you have to listen. You can refuse this beast of busy-ness (never satisfied no matter how much you feed it) by simply finding a quiet moment in the day.

During days that seem intent on eating up our time by the hour, setting aside ten minutes to be still feels like a day at the beach.

And we could all use a day at the beach in January.

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Meditation Monday – On Boundaries

Boundaries are about what we say no to. We say no to things in order to make time for the things we’ve said yes to.

“Yes, I’ll volunteer to tutor.”

“No, I can’t play a game with you right now.”

“No, I don’t want to go to that movie.”

“Yes, I think I will read a book.”

“No, I don’t have time for that meeting.”

“Yes, I would be happy to take on that project.”

Over and over and over we face decisions that come up against our boundaries. If we have concrete, conscious boundaries, then we will say “Yes” or “No” with confidence. But more often than not, our boundaries are soft, mutable, theoretical things.

“I probably shouldn’t stay up any later…” …but I go ahead and start up one more YouTube video anyway.

“I’d like to help my friend out tonight…” …but it’s just too cold out, so I guess I won’t bother.

“I’ll get around to writing at some point today…” …or tomorrow, or next week, or next year.

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.”
-Brené Brown

I love this quote. I just came across it on my meditation app recently, and it easily struck home for me.

It also got me to thinking about myself. About how my boundaries are just as important for controlling my self-behavior as they are for fending off others.

And it comes with an equal amount of disappointment.

When I say no to a social outing, in order to stay home and write, I maybe distance myself a bit from friends and family.

In the same way, when I say no to playing a video game, I distance one version of my future self from another. The vision I have of myself in the future, when playing video games, is a vastly different one than when I write, or read, or meditate, or, or, or…

And so on.

The options we have before us for our future are uncountable. And the decisions we make in each moment are what will define the future we inherit.

Setting the proper boundaries — deciding what we will say “no” to our present self about — helps guide us to an intentional future, instead of a random one.

Meditation Monday – On Regret

“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”

This moment is all we have. Not the last one. Not the next one.

Only now.

So do not worry about tomorrow. And do not sorrow over yesterday’s troubles.

Focus instead on the best thing you can do in this moment.

Looking back at what you might have done or should have done or would have done if only you knew then what you know now is a useless exercise unless it helps you make a better decision today. Right now. In this moment.

 

Meditation Monday – On Imperfect Beginnings

Every day is a chance to start.

Even when knee-deep in a project with no end in sight, you still have to make the decision to start.

And that start isn’t going to be perfect. It might not even be pretty. You aren’t going to have the right tools, the right vision, the right pace. It’s going to be more difficult and take much longer than you expect at the start.

But none of that is an excuse not to start.

“Do not let perfect be the enemy of good.”

It’s a common-enough saying these days. But I find it weak. Passive. Overly negative.

Instead, make this your mantra.

“Perfect is the enemy of good.”

Nothing is or ever will be perfect. But that does not excuse us from seeking to make things better than they are. To make them good enough.

But if you’re constantly waiting for perfection. The perfect idea. The perfect moment. The perfect team. The perfect feeling. The perfect whatever. Then you’re never going to start.

And not starting is the easiest way to continue living the same life you have now.