14 Days of Mixed Nuts
This past week the whip-wielders in Coursera started reminded me that we had reached week ten of “The Science of Well-being”. I walked out of the hallowed halls of university 25 years ago, but the prospect of missing a course deadline still tweaks my anxiety. I have to remind myself that this is simply learning for the joy of learning and personal betterment. Strange how the programming sticks!
I am going to combine some thoughts on weeks eight and nine of the course. First of all, I am behind in my commitment to share my thoughts about the course with you (and my apologies for that). Secondly, if I get this wrapped up we can get into some other stuff that is on my mind. I don’t want my few readers to look back on this period as “Ten Weeks to Total Boredom”.
As we work on the four week implementation of a key “happiness intervention” (in my case – meditation), Professor Laurie Santos provides additional thoughts to guide the way. For the last two weeks, we were to look at ways we could enlist others to help us stick to our plans. We were to also look at ways to make our environment more hospitable to the new routines we wish to create.
Valerie and I started the course together so have been there to encourage each other. It really makes a difference, even when it comes with a bit of jokey harassment.
It always feels sad when we see a relationship where one person is trying to make a change and the other is dragging their heels. That looks like misery. In these instances all one can do is find a support network elsewhere but it is not quite the same. It kind of dovetails with the creation of a good environment, because we really need our partners to be on board with the objective and provide the space, time and resources to assist.
I have also made a very public commitment to my “rewirement” through my blog postings on the course. I consider that to be positive social encouragement.
As for the environment, you would think a household with just one senior dog and no kids would be very conducive to meditation. Well, it can be. But for some reason, the vibes thrown off by a meditator in a room with closed door are apparently irresistible to a dog. Yes, even one who normally sleeps half the day (minimum). The waves of peaceful energy lure him to the door, whereupon a demanding paw is raised to “scritch scritch scritch” and attempt to gain the attention of the zen-like guardian inside. It’s about as relaxing as Frank Costanza (Jerry Stiller) from Seinfeld yelling “Serenity now!” in his gravelly Brooklyn accent.
Noise cancelling headphones work great for blocking out the outside world (and the scritching of dog claws). Having a specific and consistent place for the practice helps “cue the brain” for the activity. Same time, same spot, same cushion – all good.
Disruptions to routine suck but are inevitable. There is nothing to be gained in guilting yourself out. Just resume the practice. It felt good today to resume meditation after missing three days during a road trip. Certainly it would have been better to make the time for meditation, but it simply wasn’t going to happen. I hope someday to be able to drop into meditation mode while in the overstuffed checkout line at the grocery store, but I am not there… yet.