Friday, January 29, 2016

Radical Waiting

I have made a radical discovery. It's probably something you've heard of.

Meditation. And waiting.

Dude. Whoa.

I remember back in my twenties I went to a meditation class and I thought I might have both disappeared and fallen asleep. It was incredible. So of course, I never did it again.

I have tried meditating so many times. It goes something like this:

OK, I'm going to meditate now...I'm breathing in. And out. Following oh. I wonder why I hey! We need toothpaste! Ugh, my legs look kind of sausage-y in these pants. Oh, right. OK, back to it. I'm breathing in. And out. And in. And is the alarm going to go off? Do we have anything for the kid's lunches? What am I going to have for lunch today? What's going on this weekend? I want to go camping. I'm terrible at this. I give up.

It was like that every time. I would hear about how amazing meditation is, how it can change your life, and since I'm still way open to some life changing I would try again. I would flail again. So many times that I have a little meditation PTSD. I think about meditation and there's a lot of eye rolling and hurumphing. Until now.

How did I not know about guided meditation? Do you know about it? I have this great app on my phone called "Stop, Breathe, and Think". It is the bomb. It is mostly free- I think I spent $7 on some additional meditations. It asks you how you're feeling and then pops up a few meditations for you to choose from. They run anywhere from 5-20 minutes. I have five minutes!

Turns out I have ten minutes- after a few months of having only five minutes now I can meditate for ten minutes and I can do it every day.

What's radical is not only the meditating but this: it took me a few months to get here- but I'm here. What's radical is that big changes don't happen overnight in these life exploding moments but in the slow but sure collection of days and weeks. This is true about meditating and about being sober, about a lot of other things too.

There is the big decision (I quit drinking, I start meditating, I write every day, I floss at night) and then there's the waiting, the doing over and over until the day you realize that you really have made a difference in your own life, and that it is good. I've started looking at the things I say in my head I could never do and then that's the thing I try to do. A year ago I only did one thing on that list up there, now I do all of them. It took a year, but now here they all are. Part of me.

When I think about change I always imagine it to be sweeping, and instant. This is just not true. Change is slow and steady, it progresses at a pace about fifty times slower than I want but the timing isn't what's important, it's the steadiness that's key. It's about being satisfied with who you are today and being able to hope to be (not have to be) more tomorrow. It's about not letting yourself make bullshit excuses ("I'm too busy/ I don't have time for that" is the biggest bullshit excuse ever- I think that's fear talking) but taking something you think is important and making it important.

I get so impatient with my sweet life- Be all the things I want you to be RIGHT NOW! but really, I am starting to feel so radical in my waiting. My own slow day at a time revolution that takes patience and persistence- ten minutes at a time.


  1. Wow, I'm impressed. I keep thinking one day I'll be patient, but I'm a slow burn on that one, that's for sure. Doing things in small chunks is always the answer, but it's so hard sometimes! Kudos to you for getting where you are! And thanks for showing the way. Big hug to you xo

    1. Being impatient has always been one of my hardest things, but lately, I don't know, it seems like it's ok that things take time because they TAKE. Big hugs back xo

  2. oh, I am so happy that you are finding your way to meditating! and amused too because I logged on to write a post about how I've just managed to put together a whole string of meditation days, so come over and read my version too huh?!

    just thought I'd mention that I only really got to grips with meditating AFTER I started therapy, and I wonder if that's been a factor for you, too?

    I didn't want to be inside my own head prior to that. as I think I said on my own blog at the time, it was like the Wild West in there, only to be entered with all guns blazing.

    anywhere, it's less John Wayne around here than it used to be, glad to hear for you too! huge hugs! Prim xx

    1. Well, I've only been to therapy twice so I can't say that's helped, but really it was the guided part that did it for me- that and being able to see my progress. Plus I love picking how I'm doing mentally and physically, then choosing emotions and then a meditation chooses me. I'm glad you're doing it too! It is helping me chill the fuck out, and it's helping me get some peace when my brain is running 90 miles an hour on every little thing. Much love! Xo

  3. Hi Amy,
    I so relate to your words.
    I always expect myself to change overnight.
    Fat chance.
    I have two speeds…slow and stop.
    But that's okay.

    1. Lol, I'm getting used to my slow speed and figuring out that I really like it. I'm learning to say "ok, so let's do that and see where I am in two weeks" or I like to remember to give myself the list of credit: all the things I'm doing "right". Xo

  4. Oh boy Amy - have you tried Headspace? Fantastic guided meditations - whole 30 day series on depression or anxiety or happiness. And his voice is yummy! If you read Prim's post you'll know about it already but I am a massive fan :)

    1. I started at Headspace but didn't want the subscription thing. I think whatever works is a good thing though :) xoxo

  5. Hi Amy, I have wanted to try meditation for a long time now. But somehow, it never happens. I have just purchased the App you mentioned and will give it a try. I too need to learn patience in my life. When I decide I want something to change, I want it to NOW! Learning to wait... I like it. A x

    1. Learning to wait is so odd because it's like learning to do the thing itself while you're doing the thing. I swear, practice is the secret for everything. Xoxo

  6. Thank you so much for this post. I love guided meditation but I hardly ever do it. That changes now! The app idea is smart. This fits so well with my word of the year: Trust. Waiting is tough, as Tom Petty so eloquently sung, but it's worth it. Thanks for the reminder.