Feb 11- Shifting Habits

Meditation: Chopra, Creating Abundance: Living Unity-Streaming
Length: 15 minutes
Where: Home Office/Guest Room, Los Angeles
How It Felt: Beautiful
Who Joined Me: Steve

Day 18 Centering Thought: “I celebrate my unity with all life, knowing we are all one.”

Ok, real talk- these next few blogs probably won’t be incredibly long or prolific (not that any of them have been exactly prolific, but, you know). Not only is Valentine’s Day a very big deal in the Janisse-Carmichael household, but we love celebrating Chinese New Year, too! Plus, due to COVID stuff, this is really the one weekend this month Steve is here (out of a ten day trip). SO- put all of that together, and you get one epic, cheesy, celebratory, romantic, exciting, cuddly long weekend!

This is exactly the recipe for a time that used to stop my good habits in their tracks. Generally, in the past, as soon as I got busy or distracted, gone went the meditating, the yoga, the language practice, the work I meant to stay on top of. Gone went workouts, time to plan ahead, keeping the house clean.

But now, I feel completely different! Creating one consistent habit- meditating, which I guess you could say is two habits since I write about each one, but they sort of go hand in hand- has caused something in my brain to simply switch on the “Be Consistent” button.

My home is clean and rather organized, and the laundry is caught up, for example. I’ve just figured out that if I make a little time each day, it goes a long way. That probably seems totally obvious, but it’s easier said than done! (We will also see if I can keep these habits as consistent as they are now once life starts back up again in a vaccinated world- hope so!)

I’ve obviously made time to meditate every day, without fail, but I’ve also managed to keep up with my blogs no more than 24 hours after I complete a session. I’ve always studied different languages intermittently, choosing a “focus” language every 6-12 months, but for the first time in my life, I’m studying every single day. My Duolingo streak just passed 75 days! I’m also using a grammar book and Rosetta Stone to round out the practice, which is more attention than I’ve given a single language since college.

I’m reading a book a week, working out most days, keeping my to-do list in check, and I’ve even noticed I’m better at getting back to people! When I get a text or email I would normally put off til I felt like dealing with it, I’m just responding.

Now, like I said, this is an experiment under controlled conditions. I’m home a lot, there isn’t a lot to do socially, I’m not in class or having to leave my house for rehearsal or performances. My hope is that I’ve so engrained these consistent habits into the fabric of my life when things start moving again that I just continue without thinking. I would like to simply keep making space for these things in my day, and hold myself to my own schedule.

It will be a challenge, but I’m excited to try!

To quickly touch on the meditation, the lesson was all about unity. We are not individuals, but, at our core, we are one with all living things. Some pretty West Coast hippy stuff, but I am totally into it. I am a big believer that suffering of anyone belongs to all of us, that we are responsible for each other, and that someone else’s win takes nothing away from me.

I remember having a discussion with an ex-boyfriend in college about people we knew who got angry and jealous when a fellow actor booked a good job. We both thought that was crazy, and agreed that being happy for people felt much better, plus we would hope our friends would be happy for us when it’s our turn! He said something to the effect of, “One person finding happiness or success takes nothing away from me. In fact, it should add to my own happiness, since I should be happy for them.”

I always loved that and think of it to this day. Their success takes nothing from me. My success is my own to have, and it will come in the way that is meant for me.

What is for you shall not pass you by.

So, should we end this with a factory farming PSA, in the spirit of being one with all living things?

People, friends, hear me: some will disagree, but I understand if you want to eat meat. I don’t personally, but that’s just for me. We are all different. This is my point:

You can eat meat and not support farms that torture the animals their entire lives just to save a buck or two. There are options for family farms, pasture- and humanely-raised animals. It just takes a little research, maybe an extra dollar or three (but not always!), and, often, just taking the time to read packages. You can take a minute here and there to sign petitions calling for a factory farming ban. You can ask your local stores to carry more humane options, and if enough people ask and buy the items, they will keep them stocked! There are great vegan cheese options now (I’m very picky about cheese, but I’ve found some great ones- check out Chao), there are humanely-raised options in most Target aisles, and even Burger King sells a hell of an Impossible Whopper if you want to lower your meat consumption altogether.

What I’m saying is- it isn’t hard to be a little kinder to your fellow living creatures. Do you really want to put food into your precious body that is full of suffering and pain? We can consume animals and do so with respect for their lives, their sacrifice, and the food their bodies provide.

Is it preachy? Yeah, of course. There is really no way to say that stuff without getting a little preachy. Plenty of people will feel annoyed I said it at all, while others will be annoyed I don’t just say “never, ever eat any animal products or you’re terrible.” But this is the spot I’ve landed in for now, and I’m pretty passionate about it. It was the first thing I thought of when this meditation started.

We have to slow down and get back in touch with our planet, our roots, our responsibilities to all of it, to one another. If we don’t, we will cause so much more needless suffering, and likely the end of an inhabitable planet, just for some short term greed or laziness, not to mention at the sacrifice of our own happiness and fulfillment. This is real stuff. It’s important.

If you’re interested- and, if you’re reading a meditation blog, I have a feeling you’re the type to care about something greater than yourself- here are a few resources to get you started, or to help you get even better at choosing humane options. Hope these are helpful!




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