Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Starting Over

At lunch today, I read an article in the February 2007 Yoga Journal by Phillip Moffitt, titled Starting Over. It really resonated with me. He writes about meditating and how we continually pull our focus back to our breath. We don’t follow the roving thoughts, we don’t rant about what we’re doing; we just start over. And he says that we need to apply this practice of starting over to all areas of our life where we are struggling.

In health and exercise, don’t fret, give up or get angry when we lose our focus. Just say, “I’ve lost my focus. I’ve fallen off the wagon AND I’m getting back on. I’ll do my Pilates, my flossing, my daily walk, or whatever discipline we have fallen away from. When I read this, I thought, This would work for me. I could use it to get back on track with the house. Instead of feeling overwhelmed when I look at the mess in the two back rooms, I can say “Okay, I’ve lost my focus here AND I’m going to pick up some things and put them away or throw them away.” “Okay, I feel overwhelmed and panicky and I’m going to put away at least one thing and make the room look a little bit better.” He says “You simply do what you care about as well as you can.” “…you attend as best you can to the immediate situation that is challenging you.”

He also says “…if you discover you are overeating in this moment, you simply stop eating…no drama; you just get right back on your path and start over.” I think that I’ve started doing this with the dirty dishes. I’ve been washing them more regularly. And when I start thinking “Oh, no, I don’t want to do this, blah, blah, blah,” I’ve been reminding myself of Cheri Huber’s words about “what if it isn’t about being good or bad, what if it’s just about the dishes?” and I go out and wash them. I do still have to stop the whiny thoughts that loop through my brain about “well, if you had washed them yesterday you wouldn’t have had this many—this dish would already have been clean, and this one and not that one.” And I’ve been just letting those rabid thoughts go.

So I’ve started doing this starting over practice in that area. Now I need to make it my daily practice for other things. He recommends choosing one or two areas to concentrate on until we can get it to be a habit. He also says to begin by noticing “what happens when you waste time feeling discouraged, escaping, or indulging your restless mind.” He says to “let meditation be your laboratory for training your mind to think and respond in this new way.” We just need to bring our attention back to our breath when our minds wander. Start over. Say “Yes, I just got lost, and now I’ll just start over.”

And a practical way to apply this new practice is right here on my blog. So, I got lost and busy and overwhelmed and I let my blog go AND now I’m just starting over. I’m posting an entry. I’m writing. I’m back on the blogging path. Thank you Phillip Moffitt!