On March 22 2018, I celebrated a big goal - to meditate for 1,000 days in a row. This is one of the hardest - and for sure the most powerful - goal I have attempted and achieved in my life.
Here's a snapshot of my journey.
The beginning (0-120 days)
I started my journey at a yoga retreat, after days of being cared for, good food, daily practices, time to breathe and reconnect to myself. My teacher challenged us to 40 days of meditation and I said yes.
Starting out, I hated meditating. The sitting and stillness, the frustation about "doing nothing" when there was so much to do. The first 120 days were the hardest. I got angry, tired, hungry, downright pissed off. I cried. I sweated. I swore and cursed my thoughts up and down. I checked the timer every 45 seconds. I adjusted my legs, then my arms. I had moments of profound emotional discomfort that were unbearable. And I kept going, I had a goal.
Halfway through (400-600 days)
I want to tell you that by day 121 things got easy. Well...it wasn't until the 450th day that I started to feel better meditating. Less stuff coming up, more acceptance and ease. There were moments of pure bliss sitting still. My legs stopped falling asleep and my hands stayed put. I stopped looking at the timer and could sit longer.
It was around day 500 that I started meditating solely in the mornings. This is when the routine that I have now kicked in: wake up, feed the cats, boil water for tea, and meditate. There were many hard days. Meditation didn't get easier, what did happen was that it didn't matter that it was easy or hard anymore. It just was. And I had to do it.
During this time, I also had big insights and bursts of creativity. It was amazing.
Last half (600-900 days)
At this point I had a rhythm. It was like my body awoke each day and expected to practice. I found this was when I felt the calmest. Challenging times came and I felt grounded despite the chaos. The meditation and I became one. At one point, one of my cats went missing and likely died. I remember feeling it all, and coming to my practice to be in my experience. Meditation was now both a tool and and friend. This was a special time in the journey.
Final 100 (900-1,000 days)
Day 954 was when meditation became a must-do in my life. I made time for it no matter how early I needed to get up in the morning. It became an essential part of my day that now I don't want to live without.
As day 1,000 approached, I felt the power of the practice. Now I see that the single most important thing you can spend 10 minutes or more doing each day is sitting still and breathing.
So many lessons and gifts. Here are five of them.
What I learned from 1,000 days of meditation
Breathing is a silver bullet
Meditation taught me to breathe slowly. If I focus on my breathing, I get calm. When I'm calm, I see more clearly and I make the right choice the first time. It's a direct correlation -
Breathe slow = calm = clear = better choices
The best ideas come from space
Not outer space, inner space. You can't think of ideas, only create the space for them to come. I knew this from reading books about mindfulness, and I experienced its powerful many times over. Space, problem solving and time are very interconnected:
Make space = creative boosts = faster problem solving = more fun
All is well
My capacity to stay positive, focused, and motivated has gone up 10 fold. I see now that no matter what comes my way, truly, all is well.
If you are calm = it will be ok
People ARE DOING their best
One of the greatest lessons is seeing people with more compassion. In meditation I process my feelings and then I am free to see others without my triggers firing. I see so clearly now that people are doing the best they can.
Meditate = process your stuff = more love for others
Cut processing time in half
This is a biggie. I learned that if I meditate I can process everything from loss and grief to failure way faster. And not by rushing or suppressing, but by truly going through it. This is a gift.
Mediate = process fast = more time
Every time I meditated these last 1,000 days, I also journaled my thoughts. At first the entries were full of noise, tasks, complaints, and pain. Now, it's full of love. Some days all I write is "I am love. I am a catalyst for love" over and over again.
Meditatation = love
My hope in sharing this is that my journey inspires your own. Go inward - make today your day one.
So...what happens after 1,000 days? Well, another 1,000. No turning back.