What was different this month? What was the same?
And just when I think I've got a good hold on how to make this a regular practice...May hits.
How??!! WHY??!! Why is it so hard to do something every day? This thing literally takes 30 seconds, and frequently less, to create. Why is it so hard to create a habitual practice that takes so little time?
It must not have anything to do with the time it takes to do the practice. Which means that it would be equally hard to make a 20-minute meditation practice a regular, every day thing. Maybe it has to do with priority?
On days when I feel good, the #enso4you practice, and my meditation practice, do not take priority. I'm fine, I think, so why do I need to take time for myself today? Sheesh, it sounds so weird when I actually write it out. Taking space, taking time for oneself, that should be equivalent to needing to drink water every day. It SHOULD BE, so why is it NOT?
There are other things that pose as self-love time that are easier to do and less scary. Television. Reading Facebook. I've associated "relaxation" with TV and couches and blankets since I was a kid. But it's not like my brain is easing up on the churning of the to-do list while I'm watching TV, it's just putting it on mute. As soon as the TV is gone, the thoughts are back. And honestly, I never really feel "relaxed" after watching TV--frequently I just feel bad about all the things I didn't do that I should have been doing while I was watching TV.
So maybe, relaxation, for me, isn't about ignoring the churning to-do list. It's there. I need to recognize it.
What if every time I watched a TV show, (because dude, I am NOT giving up Archer...or Doctor Who...or Grantchester) I took a moment to breathe, watch those worried thoughts race around, listen to the things I think that I should be doing, and write them down? I wonder if the act of writing them in that moment will help me to be present in this nice, relaxing moment of watching Archer get yelled at by Lana...again.
I already do this to some extent. I am a chronic List-Maker. But maybe it's important that this happens before I'm about to let myself off the hook for a while.
There's this other practice I've been thinking about recently and considering putting into implementation: Monks at a Buddhist temple would give themselves a cue that happens in daily life as a reminder to take a moment of mindfulness. For one Monk, it was a "bell"--which could literally mean, a bell, but it could also mean a cellphone ring, a bird chirping, a doorbell. And anytime he heard it, he would stop, take a small breath, check in, and keep going.
Alright, June Goals:
1. Write out to-do/Stream-of-Consciousness thoughts for 30 seconds before watching TV.
2. Take a moment of mindfulness every time I go up or down stairs.
Follow us on Instagram to see what or who all these ensos are dedicated to! (it might be to YOU!)
What is #Enso4You? On January 1st of 2016 I set out to create an Enso-a-day for one year. Each Enso is meant to thank a person, place or thing that has inspired me. Every month I check in on this blog to assess the difference this practice is making in my day to day life.
An Enso is a symbol created on an exhale of breath which represents a moment when the mind is free, to let the body create.
The #enso4you's are posted on Instagram, Twitter, and more rarely, Facebook.
CREATE YOUR OWN #ENSO4YOU JOURNEY:
If you would like to make one Enso, or even join me on this wild journey, here are the guidelines I'm following:
1. The Enso can be made out of anything, but it must be made out of things I already own.
2. I will post and update once a month on www.ensotheatre.com/blog.
3. The update will answer the questions: What did you notice before, during and after each Enso was created? What was different? What was the same?
Sometimes I use a Sumi-e Board to paint my ensos. All you need is water and a paintbrush, and as soon as you paint your enso, it starts to evaporate and you can paint again. The cheapest one I found is $15, you can get it online here.
Leave a comment and/or a picture if you make an enso! I'd love to chat with you about your experience.
As always, THANK YOU, for being on the path with me.
Caitlin Lushington is the Co-Artistic Director of the Enso Theatre Ensemble, a teacher, director, and actress. Sometimes she works too hard, sometimes she forgets things, and she strives to put the car keys back in the same place every time. She drinks tea every morning from her TARDIS mug and "Mr. Tea" diffuser. She loves the morning and wishes she had a photographic memory, so she could remember the names of every person she meets.