110 days. Today, yesterday, and for the 108 days prior, I have carved time out of my day to meditate. Every single day. Sometimes it’s been a luxurious 20 minutes, other days a restless, desperate 5. But I’ve done it every single day.
I chose the word carve because it’s been exactly that: a conscious, sometimes arduous choice to take the time to meditate rather than doing something else. It hasn’t happened by accident. I’m seeing now that that’s half the work. And I’m seeing how that commitment to doing something—even when it sucks, especially when it sucks—is actually a superpower.
A few months ago when I would speak to my clients about writing, I’d emphasize the importance of creating an enjoyable writing practice that feels calming and nurturing rather than obligatory. I’d preach that feeling good when you’re writing gives rise to good writing, rather than banging your head against the wall and telling yourself you’re shitty for not doing it sooner. Whatever mental state you’re in when you arrive to write will bleed onto the page.
While I still think all of that is true, I’ve recently realized that sharing these thoughts too early was actually doing my clients a disservice. I was making it seem like writing should always feel good, even from the start. That’s simply not true.
In reality, it’s going to be a long time before a new writer’s writing practice—or any practice we’re new to—feels good. Before we can get to the place where we look forward to writing (or running, or meditating), we need to go through the sticky beginning stages of making ourselves do it, of implementing enough discipline to sit down at the computer or pull out the notebook and put words on the page. When we’re starting out, we need to accept that there will be moments that are not enjoyable.
And that doesn’t mean we stop.
There are some days when I’ve set my meditation timer for 20 minutes and 3 minutes in, I’m ready to bail. That’s where the work is. That’s the day I need to be meditating most.
When I make myself sit there in silence, even though my brain is begging me, begging me, to open up Instagram or go clean the kitchen or take Moon for a walk because I have a million million things to do and because there’s an emotion desperate to be buried—when I make myself sit there in silence and stillness despite all of that, the meditation has a chance to do its magic.
When I make myself wait for the ending bell, I remember I am worth taking time to prioritize myself. I calm my nervous system. I build my resilience.
I’m doing the same thing with my emotional well-being and physical strength. I’m actively choosing to put myself in situations that are uncomfortable, strenuous, sometimes downright unpleasant, for the sake of becoming stronger. Physically, that means pushing myself harder than I have in a long time (while constantly listening to my body as to how much I can handle). Emotionally, it means sitting with uncomfortable feelings—sadness, loneliness, insecurity, doubt—rather than distracting myself or blaming someone else.
Let me reiterate again: this is not fun. But I’m committed to the growth it will bring.
Building emotional resilience in a relationship is particularly interesting. It requires a whole other level of discipline.
It’s easy for me to run to my partner when I’m feeling sad or lonely, but I’m challenging myself not to. I’m trying to first sit with those feelings and deal with them in my own body, in my own nervous system. I don’t want to nurture a relationship of codependence. I want to be perfectly whole of my own accord.
When I can stay with those feelings, I learn that I am capable of handling more than I thought. I become formidable. I become my own fortress, my own house.
I want to cultivate such strength and resilience that, in a time of crisis or deep feeling, I run home to myself.
That means I need to go through some temporary suffering in order to build the sanctuary. And that’s why, my friend, I’ve been sitting down to meditate, every day, for the past 110 days.
I am in my own lane
I will not let myself down
I am in my own place
I am my own house
This refrain from the song Living Room Floor by Sammy Rae and the Friends cracks me right open. When I hear it, especially when sung by a chorus of voices, I imagine all that’s possible when each of us feels content and confident in our own skin. I imagine what the world can be like if we all stood side by side, a collective for evolved consciousness and self-reliance.
Imagine all the emotional suffering we could bypass, all the time we'd spend instead working towards the greater good. Imagine the incredible art we could make, relationships we could build, children we could raise if we started from a place of resilience and clarity.
I see that world for us. I do. I’m working towards it, and I’ll be damned if I’m not dragging everyone I love right along with me.
Yes indeed I am.