A Different Kind of Exercise

I suck at meditating. For years, I tried different ideas, everything from walking meditation to meditation classes to simply taking five slow, mindful breathes while sitting on the floor of my closet.

Nothing worked. I didn't have the time or money to go to meditation classes, walking meditations were really just walks and if I managed three breathes on my closet floor before either thinking "this is stupid" or noticing the pile of laundry in the corner, well, that was a miracle.

Now I know that part of meditating successfully is being non-judgmental, generous and kind to yourself. So the mere fact that I have said, on more occasions than I can count, that I suck at mediating really points up how bad I am at the entire concept.

But over the past several months, I've adopted an entirely new view of meditation, thinking of it more like mental exercise than something I'm supposed to be naturally good at. I’ve written in this blog about my journey to try to master double-unders. It has gone on for five years and still, sometimes they work and sometimes they don't. But I keep trying because I know that learning a new skill, especially a challenging one, takes time and because I believe in the importance of exercise.

So rather than sit down and expect myself to be able to stay focused, calm and mindful for ten full minutes, I treat each of my daily meditation sessions simply as the chance to practice. To get better. To exercise my mind while I slowly learn a new skill.

Looking at it differently, I guess I would say I'm attempting to approach meditation with a growth mindset, as something I do to get mentally stronger, the same way I do situps, or burpees or struggle with double-unders to get physically stronger.

If you haven't tried meditation with an eye toward just practicing and learning a new skill, I invite you to join me on the journey. I'm currently using the Daily Calm app, but I've also used Headspace (Andy has a great British accent) and I know there are many other apps out there to try, most of which give you at least 10 sessions to try for free.

Let me know how it goes for you. You'll find me sitting on the floor of my closet.