In January I kept a diary, a diary of how I was investing my physical, mental and spiritual health each day. I purchased the Eckhart Tolle Day Timer for extra inspiration as I began tracking the time I invested in my health and enlightenment. Kind of sounds funny doesn’t it, the idea that you track the time meditating, doing breath work, the time spent in downward dog. The idea of a fitness diary or a running diary isn’t foreign but somehow we think for spiritual matters we think it should just happen. Too often it doesn’t. I had a kind of vague sense of how I was building a yoga practice, how I woke to meditation and breath work or a practice in gratefulness. When I began writing down what I actually did each day I found that I exercised every day, a fact I am sure none of my readers will find surprising. I had a pretty good routine going of twice weekly weight lifting, one very long endurance workout, a couple short high energy workouts and lots of walking the dogs. Big dogs -- my golden retriever Balto, and my acquired through partnership Saint Bernard, the 200lb Baby Bliss. It’s hard to walk these kinds of dogs slowly, so it is fair to say I get exercise walking the dog.
The spiritual side I realized I am investing less than I thought. Twice weekly yoga is a good start, but the practice of meditation has fallen to the wayside a bit these last few months, and the practice of gratefulness ,which I used to do while lying in bed the first ten minutes of each morning, is almost non existent. Writing down what I did and didn’t do these last few weeks has shown me very clearly that journaling, breath work, and prayer are in the periphery of my life, not a foundational piece of each day. There is no right or wrong in this, and no feeling of needing to add another thing to my list, it is more the realization that some of the things that I value the most are not taking a prominent position in my life.
And so as I review my January Day Timer, I have gained an awareness of how I am spending my time and how I am not spending my time. In fitness what has worked best for me, is to get into a regular routine. I do weights on the same day at the same time each week. Everything in my being resists this movement to order and predictability, but time has proven that it is the best way to get consistent, stress free workouts. I am going to use the same approach to increase the time I spend in my yoga practice and the time I spend in meditation and prayer. This month I will get up each morning and spend the first fifteen minutes breathing and being grateful. I have 27 Buddhist beads to go through each morning; each bead represents something I am grateful for. I am going downstairs right now to put the bracelet back on, so that tomorrow I can write in my diary that I practiced gratefulness. Ooops, I am sounding like that ultra competitive, driven athlete again. I suspect being goal oriented is part of why the diary works for me, which really isn’t a bad thing if it accomplishes the best thing, which is spending time doing the things that are most important to me and my physical, mental and spiritual health. Namaste, Silken