HMC Day 17: When you’ve missed a few days

Holiday Meditation Challenge Day 17.pngWe’ve all been there.

You start a new habit/diet/hobby and for a few days or weeks, you are ALL IN. The novelty factor is high. You’re curious and motivated and know exactly why you wanted to start this new thing, whatever it may be.

And then…it starts to get old. The sparkly attraction is gone. It’s becoming another chore or obligation on your list. Some aspect of it is challenging, boring or uncomfortable. You have to make time for it. It’s not doing what you’d hoped it would do for your mood or your health or your happiness.

So you drop it.

If you’ve missed a day or two (or more) of meditation practice along this journey, I wonder if this phenomenon might be happening with meditation? Or maybe you have the sneaking suspicion that at some point — even if it hasn’t happened yet — this will be you, skipping a few days in a row, and giving up on meditation.

I’m here to encourage you to recommit. Some people decide that meditation is not for them, and that’s perfectly ok. But give it a month! Make sure you’ve really tried before you decide it’s not worth it. Perhaps something is coming up in meditation that’s upsetting or unpleasant — and perhaps that’s a sign that you could use some help sorting that out. Perhaps you find yourself resisting the quiet, afraid of what it will be like to be with yourself. Again — what’s that about, do you think? Might it be worth exploring further in a journal, with your spouse, or with a therapist?

And if you get a little black-and-white with stuff like this, try to let go of that, too. You don’t have to meditate 7 days a week to get the benefits. Just as your mind tends to wander off during meditation and your job is notice what’s happening and bring it back to your focal point, your life might draw you away from meditation, and your job is simply to return to it, to find your seat and try again.

If you haven’t been meditating for the last few days, sit today for as much time as you can muster. Even 5 minutes. Do whatever meditation you like best. Guided or silent; mantra, loving-kindness, body scan — anything. Scroll through past posts for ideas here:

If you have been consistent, sit for 17 minutes in honor of Day 17.
For a 17-minute guided meditation, try this one by Tara Brach: