The Challenge: Start My Days Mindfully

In a previous blogpost, I wrote at length about the challenges of mindful consumption in an era of information overload and how hard it can be to resist the temptation of always being “connected.”

In an effort to start my days more mindfully and peacefully, I gave myself the following challenge: 7 days, 10 deep breaths each day, 3 sun salutations each day, and a smile in the morning. I wrote daily posts either on my phone or pieces of paper. Needless to say, it was more of a challenge than I anticipated.

DAY 1: I start by breathing deeply my 10 breaths and said to myself, “okay, Angela, you’re starting on the right foot this time.” I walk over to my yoga mat and stand in mountain pose to begin my sun salutations. Good GOD almighty, my body is STIFF. It’s crackling, tightly wound, I feel like a mummy wrapped in my own skin. Slow lower to the ground, up dog, down dog, step to the top of the mat, back extension, and back into mountain. Okay, that’s one.

Smiling is what’s left. I walk to my mirror to brush my teeth and attempt to smile. What is my face doing? This smile looks more like a grimace–deformed and disingenuine. Don’t they say it takes more muscles to frown than to smile?

DAY 2: Total failure. Can’t even begin to tell all of you how quickly I derailed today. Ugh.

DAY 3: Well, I did my 10 deep breaths and I think I smiled but I barely remember. I woke up from the most vivid dreams. Note to self: do not watch movies on extreme survival before bed; subsequent dreams of stitching up your own “extreme” paper cuts at work with nothing but sewing thread will happen. Also, sun salutations, you will be the death of me.

DAY 4: Deep breaths – check. Sun salutations – check. Smile – forget it.

DAY 5: Man, this deep breathing thing is great.  I feel like I can wake up more fully every morning and my first thought isn’t “I’m never getting out of bed ever.” Really don’t want to do these sun salutations, think I may have pulled my hip flexor doing them yesterday. At least smile woman, you can do that.

DAY 6: I should have changed my challenge to do these acts of mindfulness at any time of the day. Most mornings I can only get through the breathing and the smiling and maybe one sun salutation. WHY IS THIS SO HARD?

DAY 7: Well, I had to finish strong, right? Managed all three.

As much as my challenge had the right intention behind it–I found myself feeling very frustrated with how difficult it was to manage. And, maybe that is the lesson. Mindfulness takes practice and intention every day to make a difference. I can say this: I don’t wake up anymore reading my social media feeds and news articles. I wake up with my deep breaths, sometimes a sun salutation and sometimes a smile and a gentle reminder to be mindful.

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