Even when I think I don't have time I know that doing at least 10 minutes of mediation practice, writing 3 pages, and exercising for 20 minutes changes my entire day. I'm not exactly sure why it works? I just know it does.
Mini Meditation Practice
How do I meditate? It isn't some long drawn out thing. I don't light candles, say special things, chant or wave incense. All I do is sit cross legged on my love seat in my office, set my phone alarm for 10 - 20 minutes, and watch my thoughts.
What does watching my thoughts mean? It means that I say in my head "in" when I am breathing in and "out" when I am breathing out. When my mind wanders, it always does, I just think "thinking" and go back to breathing in and out.
Am I closer to enlightenment? I don't know, but I do know I am closer to sanity when I do this practice every day and I'll take that any day.
Daily Writing Practice
I have been doing this practice for 20 years after reading Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg - who I credit for leading me on the path to sanity in the first place. It also has roots in Julia Cameron's Morning Pages which I read about during the same time.
What do I write in? I have a love of composition books, yes, the black and white ones that I am certain my mom actually used when she was going to school so I use them, but you can use any kind of paper. Don't get hung up on materials, just pick something and go.
What do I write with? Well, I do have a "thing" for Bic clicky pens and dream of having some made just for me. What I am using now though is the B2P pen from Pilot. It is basically gel ink, but again, you could use a crayon, it doesn't matter.
What do I write? The crap in my head. I just get it out. I write about the dream I had, I write about the crummy phone call I got, I write about how I want to be a better person, what I ate, how I miss my dad - just all of it. I write for 3 pages, sometimes more, but not usually. After three pages long hand I am pretty much done.
What does this do? It gets all of those random thoughts out of my head. I don't need to spin things forever around in my brain. I can just write about it and let it go. It is empowering to start the day with a fresh mind.
20 Minutes of Exercise
Is 20 minutes of exercise enough? More is better, but I tell myself that if I just do something for 20 minutes it would be better than sitting on the couch. Ususally it goes for 30 - 60, but I have found to get my ya-ya's out I have to move my body at least 20 minutes to the point of sweating.
What counts as exercise? Walking, running, Nike Fitness App on my iPad/iPhone are all good ways to do this.
How does it help? I was NEVER an exercise person, but now I realize that the crazy energy I have can be used and I sleep better if I exercise. Better sleep, less tired and cranky - not a bad thing!
When I Schedule Mediation, Writing & Exercise:
Morning: Sit & Write
Early Evening: Exercise
It all takes about an hour of my time each day. An hour that leads to me feeling more productive, calmer, making better decisions, not cranky, better sleep. Goodness, it is like a magic formula. Mediation + Writing + Exercise = Happier Me! That is math even I could start to love!