Meditation: Headspace, Basics #9 Length: 11 minutes Where: Home Office/Guest Room, Los Angeles How It Felt: Triumphant
I can’t believe it. I mean, I can, because I lived it, and also because I was determined to follow through with this idea. But I am still incredibly proud of myself. I’ve meditated every single day for an entire month. 31 days in a row.
I have never, ever done that before. Not even close.
I decided two things for this particular day. One, I went back to basics- literally. Instead of another abundance meditation (which I’m very excited to get back to!) I chose to do the type of Headspace meditation I started with- same program, same length of time. I wanted to compare apples to apples a bit to see how I feel now compared to when I started.
The second thing I’ve decided is to do end-of-month check-ins as part of this blogging journey. I set some specific (and some vague) goals in my first blog entry that outlined what I was hoping to gain from this experience. Every month, I’m going to list them here, and really try to assess whether I’ve made progress. This should help me understand what I need to focus on going forward, not to mention celebrate any positive effects I am seeing. Yay!
Let’s begin, shall we?
These were the things I “hoped to find” :
- Increased calm, less anxiety– I can seriously measure my progress in this area. Considering how busy I’ve been, I would normally be a lot more anxious, probably to the point of shutdown. Meditation has helped a lot, not to mention building a consistent, daily habit has helped me stay motivated day to day.
- Better balance & handling of my manic episodes– DEFINITELY YES. I’ve had a bit of mania as part of my normal “cycle” but it’s been completely within my ability to handle. Basically, talking a lot and not feeling sleepy or too hungry. Considering how bad my manic episodes were just a couple of months ago, this is a huge win. I attribute this to other things in life as well, because my overall stress level has dropped quite a bit since the election, inauguration, etc, but I’ll just answer honestly and say they are much better.
- Much less reactivity in my daily life– I would say I’ve gotten 5% better at this. I’ve been able to catch myself before getting worked up maybe twice. I’ve been paying more attention to my reactions and am just starting to peel the onion on what it means to live with true equanimity.
- More empathy- for myself & others– I’m generally an overly empathetic person (I am an actor, after all) but I always want to be better. This goal particularly applies to people I find it hard or nearly impossible to find empathy for, as well as going easier on myself. I’m not sure about the first part, probably because we all have so little human contact right now… but I’m going to pay more attention to this going forward. I can say I’ve been gentler with myself, though. Just a little.
- A better understanding of who I am at my core– yes, yes, yes. I’m learning so much about myself on this journey. I’ve always been okay at analyzing myself, but I feel I’m doing it even more quickly now, talking myself out of hard moments faster by realizing what I’m really feeling or what I really need in that instant. Getting still with yourself opens a lot of internal doors.
- Inspiration, ideas, & solutions– I feel this happens about half the time I meditate, currently. I don’t really mind whatever that percentage is, because just getting quiet and breathing is good enough, but it’s cool it inspires my creativity, too. I had an idea for an entire essay about my struggle with poverty in my 20s (one of those “it just wrote itself” moments), I’ve had a few ideas for solutions to problems, or for creative choices. I’m going to pay attention to this now so I can remember some specific ideas for the next check-in.
- A more direct connection to my emotions– I don’t know…. I think so. A more direct connection to my honest emotions, I would say, not my reactive ones.
- Forgiveness– Yes, a little. I think this goes hand in hand with empathy and suffers from the same challenge right now: I’m not interacting with a ton of people. Well, over Zoom, or on the phone, but it’s not like we are getting in big fights or something. But overall, I do think I’ve found forgiveness for little things my husband has done more quickly, and I can think of one person in particular I chose to forgive for her behavior, after feeling angry for several months.
- A deeper capacity for love and acceptance– Yes. I feel this growing. It literally feels like my heart is slowly swelling.
- More range & confidence as an actor– I hope so! I went into an audition yesterday feeling less nervous than usual, I confidently chose several monologues I thought would suit me, thinking I should be prepared for more auditions (how’s that for cocky?), and I can’t wait to test the range part of this one. I have at least one verrrry juicy role coming up, so we’ll see!
- An even more loving marriage– Yep. Definitely. Steve and I are good about always working to grow and be better than before, but this month in particular we’ve been particularly close, diving deeper on some subjects than we have in the past. It’s been cool and has brought us together even more. (He’s been meditating a lot more than usual, too- I wonder how much that affects things!)
- Some wisdom, perhaps– I definitely think so. Learning about equanimity has been life changing. I love all the lessons coming in the abundance meditations, too, like the law of karma or about the scarcity mindset. Even just learning to be better at meditating feels like true wisdom.
- Less annoyance at the world in general when things don’t go the way I think they should– Hmmm… I don’t know. I haven’t been tested much lately… thankfully! Probably not much, I have a serious problem getting annoyed. Will flow some energy here.
- Greater flexibility– Yes. I’m getting a lot more comfortable with last minute plans and changes, and less attached to how I think things should be or go. Again, however, not being tested too much.
- The ability to meditate well– to sit comfortably, to let thoughts pass without grabbing them, to actually get the most out of the practice (with the understanding it will never be “perfect” & that some days will be more challenging than others)– So this question in particular was the reason I wanted to go back to Headspace today. To compare sitting up for the same amount of time, trying to focus using similar voice guidance, etc. I noticed today that I’m slightly better at sitting on my meditation cushion comfortably, but not a huge difference yet. I did struggle to focus today, because my mind is super active, but I stayed the course and kept coming back. I definitely did let thoughts take me with them, however, rather than let them go by. If this scale is 1-100 measuring how “good” I’m getting at mediation, I would say I’ve moved from 1 to 5. I have some good tools, I better understand the process, but I’m still “settling in,” mentally and physically.
- A clear map to that quiet place that lives inside all of us– It’s like the outline is barely beginning to form, but I can just start to feel its presence.
I’m just going to say that I am super proud of myself, but also it’s meant a lot to see so many people reading and following my journey! It’s definitely kept me accountable, and I’m seriously grateful! Your support means so much, truly. Thank you all!