March Mindfulness

I’m overdue on a mindfulness practice update, and March is shaping up to be a big month for mindfulness: goals met, an anniversary, and TWO retreats!

Achieving goals and next steps
In this post, I wrote about the short- and long-term goals I set during the final class of the MBSR program.  By the end of January, I had more or less achieved the first part of my long-term goal (engaging in formal mindfulness practice for 25 minutes/day, 5 days/week).  There were a few hiccups in the second half of January, what with taking care of a sick kiddo and being a bit under the weather myself.

My general rule of thumb is, if I feel tired, but have to choose between mindfulness practice or a nap, I go with mindfulness.  Most times, a 25-minute meditation leaves me feeling as rested and re-energized as napping, if not more so!  The only exception is when I am really and truly sick — then, sometimes, the nap is better.

Despite the January hiccups, I’ve continued my practice, though I’ve gotten a bit more flexible.  Some days, I break my formal practice into two 10- or 15-minute chunks.  I like to make sure I’m getting a continuous 25-30 minutes a few times a week, but flexibility is good, especially for making this work long-term.

Retreats
I’m not sure whether I actually wrote it down or not, but my second long-term goal was to build on my half-day mindfulness retreat experience by attending a 2-day mindfulness retreat sometime in 2015.  I started checking out the retreat options available through Mid-America Dharma back in November, and I penciled in a local, non-residential, weekend-long retreat in March as a good option.

I’m especially excited to share this retreat experience with my mom, who got me into mindfulness practice in the first place.  I’m also a little nervous, but I think it will fine.  My check is in the mail, so no going back now!

In case one retreat is not enough, tomorrow I’ll be repeating my half-day mindfulness retreat experience with Masterpeace Studio.  All previous students in their MBSR program are invited to attend future half-day retreats at no cost, and I’ve had this on my [tentative] calendar since the fall.

Six-month mindfulness anniversary
On Monday, March 9, I will celebrate six months of my mindfulness practice.  It’s just a drop in the bucket, but I feel like I have a great foundation, and the results help me stay committed to continuing both a formal practice and to integrating mindfulness more and more into my daily life.

Three days ago, I received a letter addressed to me, in my handwriting. My first thought was that there was some mistake.  I’d forgotten that at our last MBSR class, we wrote letters to ourselves, to be mailed by our instructor at some time in the future, letters to encourage and inspire our growing practice.  The letter arrived just in time for the half-year anniversary and this month of retreats, which seems appropriate.  Happy Mindful March!

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