Isn’t it always the way that when life gets hectic or stressful, the first things we let go in our tight schedule are generally those things we most need?

When my life cranked up last year the first thing I let go was my meditation practice. At the start of the year I had a nice little meditation habit happening. But sometime mid year it seriously slipped by the wayside.

I didn’t think too much of it until my Headspace app renewal came through at the start of last month and I realised that in the whole of 2016 I’d not even made it through the three introductory levels!
Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve been making a big effort last year to be a lot more mindful through my day to day life. But I do feel that, for me, adding in a regular block of formal meditation time daily has huge benefits. So I’ve been doing just that since the new year. Not every day yet, but most days, generally switching between my Headspace and Smiling Mind apps depending on how I’m feeling.

The way the Headspace app works is that I’m currently stuck on 20 minute meditations, I need to get through three more 20 minute sessions to move out of the “intro” series, at which point I again have full reign over which track – and which length track – I choose.

Only three steps left til I can make my own choices!

Only three steps left til I can make my own choices!

I gotta say – 20 minutes of meditation is a HUGE stretch for me. I struggle big time. Which is why I keep flipping back to Smiling Mind, where I can choose a lovely seven minute track I can easily manage! I’ve done many, many more seven minute tracks there in 2016 than I have 20 minute tracks here!

But at the same time, I also want to extend my practice, so this morning I headed back to Headspace.

Ready for some zen.

It didn’t exactly turn out that way…

Here’s a brief rundown of at least 19 thoughts that ran through my head through this morning’s meditation.

19-thoughts-pinterest

1) Man I haven’t done this in ages.

2) I do love Andy’s voice.

3) Oops. I closed my eyes, I’m not supposed to do that yet.

4) Okay now I can close my eyes.

5) This is so much easier with my eyes closed.

6) But why do I struggle so much with eyes open meditation? I should be able to go that.

7) Don’t ‘should’ yourself Sarah

8) Gah, you forgot to respond to that person that texted you last Friday

9) I better send that power point presentation off its due today.

10) But I better change that slide that needs changing first…

11) Damn I forgot to link up my new accounting software with my invoicing software.

12) I really should YouTube how to do that.

13) I wonder how hot it’s going to be today?

14) I hope that dress I bought yesterday is okay for tomorrow’s conference?

15) What shoes shall I wear with it?

16) Hair up or hair down with that dress?

17) And what about earrings….?

18) Oh, there’s Andy talking again.

19) That’s right I’m supposed to be meditating…

And that was all in the first five minutes! There were way more thoughts in the following 15 minutes, but that’s okay. I’m slowly more able to not beat myself up about my wandering monkey brain!

You see the whole point of meditation isn’t actually to eliminate thought. It’s about being able to let those little thoughts come and go without getting hooked on to them. Clearly my little meditation hiatus has disrupted my ability to do just that. I did find myself latching on to some of those thoughts. Which is why I still love guided meditations, that little voice in my earbuds gently reminding me to let those thoughts go.

So hopefully I’ll be hearing a little more of Andy from Headspace on a daily basis as I head further into 2017.

What about you? Do you have a regular meditation practice? Any favourite apps? Any advice you can give me to keep a little more focused and build this habit?

I’d love to know your thoughts.

Until next time,

Sarah