I can’t change the world if I don’t work on myself. At least, that’s a tenet of my working philosophy, and it’s important to me. It’s been stated in many ways: practice what you preach; let deeds, not words be your adorning; don’t be a hypocrite; and on and on the advice goes to start making changes with yourself instead of others.
And those changes? I think they begin inside, activated through prayer and meditation. So that’s what I did today.
Baby & I began our day with prayers in a corner of the living room couch. We flip through one board-book prayer book that baby has, and I attempt to read a prayer or two from my prayer book before she eats it. I’m not sure yet what the process means to her, or if she distinguishes it in any way from any of our other sitting-on-couch, reading, mommy-taking-away-books encounters. I do hope that at some point it starts to become a valued part of her life, and I am content with simply making the time for it without having to make it anything it’s not.
There’s a particular prayer Baha’is are asked to say once a day to give us perspective on who we are, where we are, our purpose in life (in fact, there are 3 to choose from – options!). Since baby came it’s been a struggle to make this happen. Sometimes in the beginning brushing my teeth was a struggle, so I think this is understandable! And even lately, just finding the few minutes by myself, at the right time of day, when I can relax and focus and actually remember, has been hard. It’s the remembering of late that has been the hardest since I’m now out of the habit of making time for this daily. Followed by discipline when I do remember but just don’t feel like it. So today when Husband took Baby for a walk, I made it a priority. And it felt good. Something I should do; something I benefit from; something that I believe in.
I set the timer on the stove for 6 minutes which gave me time to say the prayer and then to breathe. Ah yes, breathing. One form of meditation, one I’ve found helpful in the past. After reading some of Pema Chodron’s work this winter I realized that change for all aspects of my life could only begin with daily meditation as that is the source of insight and inspiration and acceptance and understanding of who I am and what I need. But did I start meditating daily? What do you think? I resisted and resisted. I talked about it. I even speculated that this would be one of those things I would believe in and talk about but never get to. And that self-fulfilling prophesy held true until I decided that I actually wanted to change things.
Admittedly, 4 minutes of breathing is not exactly deep meditation. But compared with no minutes, it is light years ahead.
I’m incredibly excited to begin to re-integrate these routines into my days as I can feel how they can grow and enrich the rest of everything I do.