He and I are both growing.
The universe set things up nicely for me this week since, without any planning on my part, my Headspace.com meditation program has me working through the “Change” packet.
Andy Puddicombe’s guided meditations via Headspace give you the option to either choose a theme or simply focus on the breath. I had already completed most of the theme packs without having chosen “Change,” since life has been moving pretty smoothly and change wasn’t one of my challenges.
But these past ten days have been mindfulness boot camp, with “Change” being at the center of it all.
The foundations for my well-being are 1) sleep; 2) meditation; 3) exercise; 4) creative output; and 5) maintaining a little bit of space in my life–chunks of time between the “busy” parts–to process experiences and new information (gardening counts).
Apollo has knocked all five of them down.
If Andy Puddicombe is the mindfulness good cop–reassuring me that the mere act of trying to stay present in the midst of change is commendable–Apollo is the bad cop. Maybe a better analogy is the military drill sergeant who’s constantly screaming, “Is that the best you can do?!!! Not good enough! We’ll just have to make it harder until you get it right!”
It’s not just Apollo, of course. It’s also the convergence of deadlines this week that have required learning a lot of new stuff (Power Point, public speaking, photography marketing, and much more).
And in a classic case of “Be careful what you wish for,” the copy editor sent the final chunk of my book back to me a week ago. I haven’t had a spare minute to even open the document (will get to that as soon as I finish this post).
But the Headspace “Change” pack reminds me that this is all temporary.
My morning routine — paramount to my productivity — is shot to hell until Apollo is house trained.
My garden will be under siege until Apollo matures (but isn’t it a little sad when a puppy grows out of his utter delight in pouncing on daffodils and lapping raindrops from sedum petals?).
Garden photography sessions will have to start with Apollo being relegated to his play pen, since the camera strap and any subject I might choose are puppy magnets. That means I may lose the special light that caught my eye by the time I get the camera set, but special light will come again. And the image may still be good enough after the light has changed. Mindfulness has helped me be OK with good enough.
My writing sessions will be plagued with distractions for god knows how long, but eventually he (like my old friend Spirit) will lie quietly at my feet while I type away in the early morning hours.
And instead of depriving my sleep and sending me back to bed (resulting in missed fitness classes and fewer running dates this past week with friends), hopefully Apollo can join me on the trail one day.
These days, change is the new normal. Change means:
- fitting my 20 minutes of meditation in later in the day than usual;
- forcing myself to write in the midst of distraction;
- learning to exercise at different times of day;
- forging ahead with tasks that I know are in alignment with my purpose, even when I have less breathing room in between than usual.
Because it’s all temporary.
Apollo is already a very different puppy from the one we brought home ten days ago. He’s a living, breathing package of change. But at the same time, like all dogs, he epitomizes presence, completely tuned in to the sensory wonders of the world — the tug and texture of the rope swing…
the cool morning dew…
the luxury of sleeping on a pile of shoes (OK, that one’s probably dog-specific).
Apollo is teaching me to be comfortable with uncertainty. He’s showing me that, despite this brief period of extra challenge to my routine, my habits will be strong enough to handle it.
So I will forgive myself for a missed work-out here or a skipped meditation session there. Missing them simply reinforces further to me just how important these habits are to my well-being.
Until next week (when everything will be different again in one way or another)…
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