Eric Wainwright is Notable.ca’s Editor-in-Chief
I’m like you.
I’m busy. I’m distracted. I have fears and anxieties. I have ambitions and expectations.
I wake up to emails. I go to bed with emails. Too often it feels like I have more notifications than original thoughts.
I check my inbox at the gym. In between sets I don’t know what to do with 30 seconds of spare time. I need information. I need updates. I feed myself with communication.
And everything just keeps moving. I am a siphon. A drain. In one ear, out the other, someone used to say. Now it’s on one screen and off the next. There is no quiet. Even my dreams are going viral.
I have a job like you. I watch TV like you. I text, and text, and text like you.
But I’m going to change. I’m not just going to say I’m going to change.
I. Am. Going. To. Change.
And I’m taking that first step today. I’m sitting down, alone, for five minutes.
No phone nearby. No Internet in my ear. And I’m going to do it every day for the next month.
When I start speaking with Danielle Mika Nagel, lululemon’s Mindfulness Manager, about my day, about how I expect to be able to do this, I realize the negative patterns I’ve developed over the years. Danielle has been a lululemon ambassador since 2009, has nearly two decades worth of experience with yoga and meditation and now travels internationally to lead both yoga and meditation teacher trainings and retreats. In other words, she’s the perfect person to work with.
She’s also not surprised to hear that my job is one that constantly has me multi-tasking, forever focusing on more than one thing at a time. After all, in a world that measures being up-to-date by the second, the more I pay attention to the more things, the… better?
Not so, apparently. Which is why I’m giving up several habits for the next stretch. It’s why I won’t be bringing my phone into my bedroom, for example (they have these things called ‘alarm clocks’ that used to be really popular). It’s why I won’t be checking email or social media after 8pm. It’s why I won’t be eating lunch in front of my computer – in fact, I may even take a little walk afterwards just to clear my mind.
I’ll be meditating every day for the next month – five minutes in the morning and another five in the evening for the first week. Then 10 minutes each time the second week. Then 15 minutes in the morning and another 15 in the evening for both weeks three and four.
What I hope to accomplish with this combination of meditation and abstention is, quite simply, a clearer mind. One that can focus more, be stressed less often, hold attention longer, and maybe, hopefully, just ‘be’ every once in while.
‘Cause wouldn’t that be nice.
I’ll be checking in over the next 30 days to let you know how it’s all going and if I find what I’m looking for. Until then, wish me luck. If you’re anything like me, you know I’m going to need it.
Also, if you’d like to try to keep up, here is the schedule I’ll be following as well as a 5-minute podcast to help you get started:
Recommendation for Week 1 of your 30-day meditation challenge:
– 6:30am wake up
– Drink a glass of room temperature water with lemon (stimulates digestion and alkalines the body, a natural detox)
– Meditate (5 minutes this week)
– Continue with your regular morning routine of breakfast, working out and shower
– Avoid looking at your e-mails, social media or phone until after your above morning routine
– Eat lunch away from your desk or phone and go for a short walk to aid in digestion
– Meditate (5 minutes)
– Dinner connecting with your partner (no phones at the table)
– Avoid e-mail, social media or phone after 8pm
– If you have a drink, stop drinking by 8pm
– Avoid stimulating conversation and TV after 8pm. You can watch TV but keep it somewhat light. Let your mind and body start to wind down in preparation for a good night’s sleep.
– Shower or have a warm bath
– Get into bed around 9:30pm and read
– Lights out by 10pm
You may still need your alarm clock for the first few mornings but hopefully, after 8.5 hours of restful sleep, you won’t need it. Ideally, you want your body to dictate when to rise and when to sleep. It’s best to get on a routine where your sleep/wake/activity cycles are pretty consistent day to day. If you’re sleep deprived, your meditations will naturally turn to nap time.
You can adjust the routine a bit during the weekend but try not to adjust it by more than 60-90 minutes.