How can it be October and I can’t remember where September went? That’s got to change.
This first weekend in October seemed like the perfect time to lay down some new habits – ones that would put me in charge of my schedule vs. the other way around.
Once September hit and I left my summer island, my days became jammed with commitments I’d been unwilling to make for the past 3 months.
I’m trying to fit too much into a day and I know it.
Each night, I crawl into bed, half asleep, and try to read – but… I’m out cold before I’ve even turned the page.
This first weekend in October begins the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. It’s a perfect time to reset. The irony is, when fall comes, everyone gets busy. For Jews it’s especially busy as 2 of the most sacred holidays come 10 days apart right at the outset of autumn. These holidays force us to slow down just when we are ramping up. Maybe that’s an intentional reminder to put on the breaks before we become runaway trains. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Most of my friends who go to temple usually collapse into their seats exhausted from the organizing, cooking and cleaning from prepping for their families.
Many of us are juggling our busy lives, making sure to see our kids, be attentive to our friends and give our aging parents the support they need.
I know I’m not the only one racing through my days. My book club was desperately searching for a date for our next meeting in late October and we were all struggling to find a clear spot on our calendars.
A communal exhale was palpable as our discussion got underway once we’d stopped checking our calendars and figuring out our what’s next. As soon as we started focusing, on our book, there was a calm that enveloped us. We were enjoying the connectivity that talking about a common subject with friends brought to us all.
So, when I took notice that the entire month of September just slipped away — I decided to try to change that with a very conscious strategy and I’m anticipating great success with it. The strategy relates to intentionally recreating that feeling from book club when the background noise begins to clear and the mind settles on what is right in front of it.
This October I’m setting an intention for the next 2 months to schedule in a daily practice to help me become way more present.
I’ve started to see the benefits already in just 48 hours. Here’s what’s working:
- Head clearing. Each morning before I get out of bed, I’m recommitting to my headspace meditation app (10 min). I put in my earplugs and just sit. I love it!
- I’m keeping a journal of not only what I’m doing but a few sentences of how I felt doing it. I will probably never reread it but the act of writing it down inscribes it in the book of my life (again something I will never read).
- No skipping exercise. One-hour minimum of exercise to keep my serotonin at the “happy” level seems like a modest investment in joy. This makes my doggy happy too when she gets to join in.
- Practicing my listening skills is long overdue. I’m going to try to tame my mind from wandering off and getting distracted, when someone is talking to me. When I find that I’m not listening, I’m going to try to take notice of where my mind is heading and bring it back. This will take some work!
- Thinking positively. When I start to become negative about something or someone in my life I’m going to try to stop and reset my thinking. This works most of the time unless someone has gotten under my skin and I can’t shake it off. Hey I’m not a saint!
- Marital tech break. I’m going to put all my technology away for the first 5 minutes when my husband comes home – and then see how long I can continue. My husband doubts I can do this but I know if I do, it’s going to be a win win move.
Every day starting fresh and focused I should be able to look back from December to the 2 months prior and know that I wasn’t just mindlessly moving through my days. Even if I can’t recall exactly what happened — it should feel great to know I was present each and every day. This is the recipe that meditators, yogis and behaviorists suggest in one form or another — it’s been tested so I’m game to give it a go.
How about you?