Back in May, I got a gift subscription to the Calm app — a little perk of being a Kaiser-Permanente member.
For about five weeks I used it (almost) every day to do a 10-minute meditation.
I “discovered” meditation years ago, thanks to Susan Piver’s Open Heart Project. I’ve fallen off the wagon, and gotten back on, many times in the intervening years.
Lately, I’ve been more in the “off” mode, so the Calm app subscription came at a perfect time.
I don’t like the style of the meditations on Calm as much as I like Susan Piver’s style, but hey, it’s free, it’s on my phone, and I like that there’s a new 10-minute recording, the Daily Calm, waiting for me every day, with some piece of insight for me to take away from the session.
Still, after those first five weeks, I fell off the wagon and couldn’t get myself to get back on.
Most mornings, I couldn’t manage to squeeze ten minutes in before something urgent pulled me away.
Then I was at a virtual conference in June where the keynote speaker, a graphic recorder, mentioned that drawing was his form of meditation.
“That’s it!” I thought. “It’s crazy to try to fit both drawing and meditation in every day. But drawing can be my meditation, too.”
It seemed like a good idea at the time.
So for the past five weeks I’ve run an experiment. NOT meditating every day.
I’ll confess, it’s felt good to not have that 10-minute commitment hanging over my head, weighing me down.
The truth is, I knew that calling drawing “my meditation” was really just an excuse.
It came home for me when I was in a planning workshop this past week, and every day the teacher started off with several minutes of “grounding”—what was, essentially, meditation.
Part of me was impatient. Restless. “Really?” I thought, “Can’t we just get on with it?”
(Good grief, am I really like that? Yes, it seems, I really am. I am deeply programmed with a sense of urgency. Which I have come to learn is a characteristic of white supremacy culture. It’s deeply embarrassing and frustrating that I’m this way, but awareness is the first step toward change.)
Once I let go of my impatience and sunk into the meditations, I realized (as I always do in such cases) how very much I needed them.
Which made me realize it was time to pull out my Calm app again.
As someone told me once (oh, wait, that was me!), the most important practice is just getting back on the wagon. And doing so with gentleness and self-compassion.
So I’ve recommitted to a daily meditation practice.
I’ve meditated daily for the past few days.
And what I’ve noticed is the difference it’s making in how I feel. Not just during those 10 minutes, but during the rest of my day.
Anything that makes a positive difference in how I feel needs to be a priority.
Making art does the same thing for me—it makes my whole day go better.
Why wouldn’t I prioritize something that makes my whole day go better?
Alison, who came to my July Virtual Creative Sandbox Retreat, wrote on Facebook afterwards:”What struck me most about the experience is that I had much more energy the rest of the day than I usually do.”
That’s what our creativity does for us. And when we get creative in the company of others — even in the virtual company of others — it amplifies the effect.
Meditation. Creative expression. Connecting with others. These are just a few of the things that make my whole day go better.
What about you?