On Meditation and Rituals

One of my resolutions for 2014 was to meditate daily. So far, I’ve meditated most days.

Bad ideas include: laying down, meditating while tired, meditating before (invariably becomes while) I sleep, and breathing loudly on public transport.

I’ve invested in the HeadSpace app. At $80 for a one-year subscription, I really do consider it an investment in my health and wellbeing. When I meditate, I am more patient, level, and less likely to fly off in any overly-emotional direction. 

Since trying a number of ways, times and places to meditate, I’ve found the Goldilocks situation – in the morning, after breakfast but before I do anything else. I aim to replicate this as often as possible.

Routines and rituals hold a funny spot in my life. While I would like to be a spontaneous person, I find that routines and rituals are what anchors me. I despise this, because it’s true of all the fragile people in the world (alzheimer’s patients, the very young and very old etc). But I guess I’ve got a bit of that in me. I also like that rituals ensure things get done. Meditating, exercising, medication, adequate sleep; these are all fairly well planned out and sit in a (sometimes actual, sometimes mental) schedule. And going through these rituals often triggers other things. Meditating makes me slow down and be mindful. Exercising (while decidedly a work-in-progress) kick-starts my day and often gives my brain the time it needs to have ideas. My bedtime ritual makes me sleepy, and my morning ritual ensures days don’t get wasted (too often).

So what’s my writing ritual? I wish I could say that I do it spontaneously and with joy, but mostly it’s about chaining myself to my desk (increasingly my chair, table given up in favour of soft snuggly leather) for an hour each day and making that hour be about my work. Not editing or applying or invoicing or looking at opportunities or checking Google Analytics or watching jumping animal gifs. For one solid hour every day, I sit down and only my pen moves. All other stuff normally chews up a fair portion of my non-bookselling days. Just one hour each day goes towards weaving words into stories. If I have a deadline or a piece takes off, it will become much more than an hour. But in-between times, I show up until something sticks. I flex the muscles of my creative brain.

What are your rituals, and how do you write?

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3 Responses to On Meditation and Rituals

  1. Geoff says:

    Fascinating. I’ve never really been able to meditate without falling asleep. Hopefully now that we’ve got a spare room we can use it for that!

  2. Shannon McKeogh says:

    How are you finding the Headspace app? I loved it and bought a month-by-month subscription but when it got to Take 20 I found it really hard to fit twenty minutes into the day and I started skipping days. I ended up cancelling my subscription. I think 10 minutes is a lot more accessible.

    • Hey! Yeah I’m most of the way through 15 minutes now, and have skipped a few days. I don’t know if it’s because it’s too long, I think it’s more about finding a specific place for it in my routine. Prioritising it, rather than hoping to fit it in “somewhere”.

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