Half Way Though #40DaysPresent – What I’ve Learned So Far

So, I’m officially on day 22 of #40DaysPresent.

I’ll be honest, I’m actually surprised I’ve done this for 22 days straight. When I first spoke with Lizzie Muse about a 40 Day meditation – she told me right off the bat that if you missed a day, the clock reset, and it was back to day 1.

Unlearning habits is a hard thing to do. But do you know what’s also hard? Creating NEW habits.

At first it felt weird. I played the mantra on my phone, got into my seated position and closed my eyes. The first time I did it, I felt silly.

Why?

I was judging myself.

I was thinking “What am I getting myself into? Why did you think this was a good idea. How many breaths was that? It’s 8 short inhales, to one big exhale… what count am I on?”

But I stuck through it. And slowly, I started to melt into the 10 minutes of meditation.

The more I opened myself up to this new experience, the more I took out of it.

About a week ago, I bought a card deck called “The Universe Has Your Back.” I have added it to my mediation – I’ll lay out all the cards in a row and do my 10 minutes. At the end, I pick a card and use what it says as my focus for the day.

It’s been incredible how much awareness this brings to me every single day.  Why? When I carve out time for myself, I’m able to find MORE time to work on myself. People have messaged me saying “I’d love to mediate, but I don’t have time”.

We DO have time.

I started finding pockets of time when I put my phone down. When I stopped mindlessly scrolling through Instagram all the time, I found pockets of 5 – 10 minutes, where I was able to write a note, clean a corner, or just read a book.

The time was there all along.

I’ve learned the value of my time in these last 22 days – and I am so grateful.

I cannot wait to see what I learn in the next 18 days – and how I can continue this journey to fully enjoying the present every single day this year.

 

Why I’m Doing #40DaysPresent

Like many people, I consider my phone to be my third hand.

How else am I going to know what’s going on at all moments? How many people liked my last post? What if someone texts me and I don’t respond within 10 seconds?!

It’s been something that I realized, but wore like a badge of honor. If I’m always glued to my phone, that must mean I’m doing something important. It means that I’m in high demand. It means I’m working hard. It means I’m busy.

Right?

A couple weeks ago, Blake said something that got my mind racing. “You come home from work, and then, you are back on the phone still working.”

My first reaction? Um, I think you can all guess that. I was angry. I was appalled that he would think that I would be choosing someone else over him. I was emotional because here I am trying to work two full time jobs so we can have a little bit more money to put on a house.

In a flurry of hand waving and tears, I retreated to our room, trying to figure out what went wrong.

And then it hit me. Even though I was physically sitting right by him, I wasn’t there. I wasn’t present in the present. I was present in the white, blue and grey colors on my phone.

So, #40DaysPresent came to be.

Why 40 days? According to many religious, spiritual and yogic practices, 40 days is how long it takes to break negative habits, and embody new experiences.

Yesterday was my first day. I put a phone usage tracker on my phone,  and was shocked that I spent 5.5 hours of my day on my phone. SHOCKED.

AND that was with me consciously trying to put it down and putting my phone on Do Not Disturb after 7:30PM.

What am I challenging myself to do for 40 days?

  1. Meditate every morning for 10 minutse
  2. Track my phone usage, and to be more cognizant of when and WHY I pick up my phone (using RealizD – free app, no they did not reach out to me. I found them on the app store)
  3. Turn my phone to Do Not Disturb at 7:30PM.

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One of the biggest things I noticed yesterday, is that opening up Instagram & Facebook have just become a habit. So, going forward, I want to make sure I have a reason to open it – what am I hoping to accomplish/feel/find out by opening the app in that moment? Will it add to my present time experience, or will it take away from the present?

Being present in the present. That’s the ultimate goal. Every day is filled with 24 hours, and we don’t get those 24 hours back. We don’t get a moment to press “rewind”, and we definitley don’t get a “do-over”. For me, I want to savor every moment of my life – the good, bad and the ugly, and I don’t want to miss those beautiful moments because I’m tied to a back-lit screen.

You can follow along (or join me), by checking the hashtag #40DaysPresent, or my IG story (which will be LESS populated than it has been, but I will be on there)!

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The Art & Struggle of Practicing Vulnerability

Oooof. Loaded title, huh?

I’ve recently started reading Brene Brown’s “Rising Strong”. I loved her “Daring Greatly” research, about being gutsy enough to dare to be great, and when I saw her speak at the Silicon Valley Conference for Women a couple years ago, I felt something shift in my mind.

That maybe I could turn my dreams into a reality… if I just allowed myself to follow my dream.

But what about all the things that could go wrong? What about paying my loans? What would people think about me?

Enter, vulnerability.

In order to take a leap, you have to allow yourself to be vulnerable. You’re willing to put yourself out there, to a world that owes you absolutely nothing. You’re going to fall. You’re going to fail.

And as Brown says in the introduction of her book, the magic happens when you start to get up again.

I was a clumsy kid (and still am as an adult). For as many times as I fell, twisted something, broke a bone or bumped into the side of the couch, you would have thought that I would be become more graceful in my falls. If anything, I feel like my falls have become louder, more painful, and harder to recover from.

Why? As an adult, shame plays a bigger role in my life than it did as a kid.

If you are falling gracefully, you aren’t aiming high enough.

As I’m reading this book, I can feel a shift again – mainly in my relationships. I explained some of Brene’s book to my husband, and both of us promised to try to be more open about what we are feeling. Instead of getting into a fight because the pasta was cooked too long, we are working to articulate to each other that “it was a long day, and XYZ”. To really get to the heart of the matter.

To be truly vulnerable with each other. To peel back the layers of work life, life life, history and the baggage that we all carry, to really truly know and respect each other.

Is it pretty? No. Is it painful? Just as any sort of growing pains.

But is it worth it? Absolutely.

I’m taking this practice of vulnerability to my entire life. Learning to ask for what I want, and taking the fall, or enjoying the high. The good stuff happens outside your comfort zone, and pushing that comfort zone away and living in that area of vulnerability and valuable DIScomfort is where we will find out our true strength.

Want to join me in reading this book? Sign up for my email list, and we can read it together. Have a book you think I should read next? Shoot me a note!