Practicing music (which encompasses a range of activities but mostly it means playing guitar and writing songs)
Meditating in the morning
I haven't told you about it before now for the following reasons and more ...
- I didn't want to jinx my efforts by talking about it too early in the process because I'd tried to do this at least five times before and have failed each time
- It was/is a private journey of commitment (not a public journey of showing-off)
- I didn't want "friendly" advice or any other tips or tricks or hacks from just "anybody." I only wanted feedback and support from people who'd been down the same path or who had some skin in this little game of mine (like my partner and my life coach)
WHY THE HELL?
For most of my life, making myself sit down to practice guitar has been a struggle. I am not -- in this post --going to go into the story of why that is.
Let's just say that proving to myself that I could practice my guitar for at least 365 days in a row would be a way to banish one major self-limiting belief.
Adding meditation to the mix was a logical part of this challenge.
I had been meditating on and off -- sometimes seriously and for many months in a row, sometimes more informally and sporadically -- for roughly 20 years. I already knew how beneficial the practice was to all aspects of my life. Now, I just needed to make it a rock-solid habit.
And here I am at day 401.
Could I have stopped at 365?
Sure! I accomplished my goal of making these into genuine habits.
But something changed. They're MORE than just habits now.
Now, playing my guitar and meditating every day have become so important to my life, I have ZERO desire to stop.
Yes, I'm still counting days and still committed to keeping the streak going. But more than that, I am swimming in the daily acts of music-making and meditating.
The first days and weeks were hard
During the first week, the first two weeks, the first month practicing guitar every day and meditating didn't go swimmingly.
It was a conscious choice and a conscious commitment.
Daily, I struggled to remember to do these two things, to say NO to other activities and obligations, to deliberately create time for them, to put them FIRST before other things.
I literally had to remind myself to meditate and practice with post-it notes and google calendar reminders and notes left around my apartment.
And there were so many temptations and excuses to skip one day or give up one more time, like all the other times I'd given up.
Life is full and I could always think of a million other things that needed doing instead of practicing.
And when I was stressed and pressed for time, was I really going to take 20 minutes out of what? thin air? and meditate?! I was already late, I was already behind on too many things, how was meditating going to help me? An extra 20 minutes was going to help me! Or so the voice inside my head said.
But, this time and every time that voice yelled at me, I listened but I meditated anyway, I picked up my guitar and played anyway.
(i'm happy to go deeper into the specifics of my struggles in a later post. If you want me to, let me know in the comments below.)
RUN TO THE EDGE AND JUMP IN
Finally, after about ten months, things started to go swimmingly.
And now, I just dive into meditating and playing music and bob around in the waters, having fun, open to hanging out and seeing what happens.
It's kinda like every day is the perfect day to go swimming -- the air temperature is hot and makes you want to jump in, and the water is perfect, not too warm, not icy cold.
Running to the edge means sitting down on my meditation pillow, grabbing my meditation beads and starting. Running to the edge means just picking up my guitar and starting in on something, could be writing a song, working on a transcription, playing through chord-progressions, practicing drums, listening to music and analyzing songs and song-structure, working on some ear-training, etc.
I let wonder and curiosity guide me. I don't worry about how little or how much time I spend in the water.
I just jump in and see what happens.
ANYWHERE WITH ANYONE AROUND ME AT ANYTIME FOR ANY AMOUNT OF TIME
Now, I do these two things anywhere and with anyone around me at anytime of the day or night and for any amount of time -- even for one minute and usually for much, much longer.
If I had to list three of the most important things I do every day to keep myself sane, stable, generous, kind, open to change, flexible, humble, they would be:
- working out 6 to 7 days a week
- meditating every day at least once a day
- playing music every day at least once a day
There are other important daily priorities and commitments too, obviously. But these are three out of the half-dozen or so that are fundamental to my well-being.
AND YOU? WHAT'S YOUR STREAK GOING TO BE?
Have you ever gone from 0 to 365 days in a row of practicing a habit?
Or maybe it wasn't 365 days in a row, but it was five days a week of writing, or completing three workouts a week, or eating healthily for one month.
What did you do and how did you do it?
Let me know in the comments below! I'd love to hear about it.
YOU REALLY KNOW IT WHEN YOU CAN TEACH IT
Maybe you'd LIKE to do something like this and you just don't know where to start.
Want to find out how I was able to do this? and want to know what made the difference?
I know what it feels like to try things like this and fail.
As I said in the beginning, I've tried to do this at least five times in the past, and it never, ever worked. I always bailed at some point. I let obligations and duties and travel and basically everything else get in the way.
Send me an email via the contact page and I'll get in touch with you. We can hop on a quick call and decide how committed you are and what your next steps could be and how I could support you.