Super Power Training

Late one night not long ago, my son was engaged with me in an epic battle to avoid going to bed. Every excuse and delay tactic he could throw my way got tossed. Eventually, he settled hard on the old “monsters” routine and we were at a stand off. I was tired and depleted from trying to talk some reason in to a five-year-old. Then, I blurted out an unusual solution. “I have super powers, and I put up a forcefield around our house. No monsters can get in. They can’t even see us.” After a few follow up questions regarding the strength and coverage of this forcefield, my son smiled and finally laid down to go sleep.

Success!

My son felt safe thanks to my “super powers,” and I got to go to bed. The following weeks, however, my son started asking more questions about my powers and what I could and could not do with them. I started to feel guilty about lying to him…

Enter my completely unintentional start to walking the path of mindfulness.

Yes I know, it’s another freaking article about mindfulness! Don’t run away just yet, and yes I will probably bust out the other M-word before this blog is over. I have never been “good” with or consistent at meditating, and the word mindfulness was an interchangeable synonym in my brain’s thesaurus. I was surprised to find out that they are not.

I started my mindfulness journey sitting at my temp-job desk, a cubicle no bigger than an elementary school desk, listening to Audible. I’m late to the audiobook scene. As an English major in undergrad, I maintained my love of good old-fashioned paper and ink books with entitlement. But, when faced with 40 hours a week of mind numbing drudgery to pay the bills, I finally caved and signed up. I had no idea what I was missing.

I have been absorbing so much from self-development books such as Happy is the New Health by David Romanelli, The Practicing Mind by Thomas M. Sterner, The Craving Mind by Judson Brewer, Healthy as F*ck by Oonagh Duncan, Untamed by Glennon Doyle, The Five Keys to Mindful Communication by Susan Gills Chapman, The Mindful Day by Laurie J. Cameron, and Peace in Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh among others. Mindfulness is a topic touched on in all these wonderful works, and I have had some seriously wonderful success applying mindfulness practices in my own life.

Back to my super powers. I do now believe I have started to develop a real super power, and that is mindfulness. I saw the opportunity to change my lie to my son to something wonderful. After a few weeks of intentionally applying mindfulness practices in my life, my son and I have bonded and connected on a new, deeper level. When we spend time together, I live together with my son in that moment and have observed just how much he loves being around me and doing things together.

I asked my son one morning if he would like to start Super Power Training with be in the morning before leave for work. He was all for it. After a quick YouTube search for Mindfulness Meditations for kids, I was happy to find a whole range of options. For the past two weeks we have spent anywhere from 4 to 8 minutes sitting, breathing, and meditating together. My son has a hard time sitting still, but we make a point to begin and end our time together sitting up straight and taking deep breaths. He has slowly been getting better at it, and so have I!

Making Super Power Training part of the morning routine keeps me accountable to my meditation practice every day, added precious quality time with my son to my day, and sets both our days up for success from the start. I am amazed and grateful for just how big of an impact living mindfully has already had in my life, and I am excited to see just how much things will change.

Instead of getting told about the F-bomb my son dropped on the playground, I get to hear about how he spontaneously gave his teacher a hug for the first time. That is some seriously good shit!

Breaking Bad Habits and Building Better Ones

Habits, both good and bad, are hard to break. I have learned how to break bad habits and form new good habits effectively these past couple months. I have finally quit vaping and have incorporated yoga and meditation into my daily routine. Such a feat can seem overwhelming, but I actually found it to be relatively pain free. How can this be?

I have tried quitting smoking (when I smoked cigarettes) and vaping more times than I can count. Full disclosure, it is still a challenge even as I am writing this. Years of using nicotine rewires you brain to become very dependent upon it. Just thinking about vaping can illicit a powerful craving within me. The key to my successful cessation this time lies in what I did before quitting. Instead of setting out to rid my life of a toxic bad habit, like so many people have done for New Year’s resolutions, I decided to first ADD something into my life. I decided to actually give mediation a fair shot.

Dedicating time to a daily meditation routine, in addition to some exercise every day, gave me undeniable positive results. Let me say, I was not a “good” meditator initially. It’s hard for me to sit still for 20 minutes and almost impossible to quite the storm in my head. However, as with most things, time, practice, and dedication produced results. I found myself becoming more mindful in my day to day life. I was able to deal with stress differently and show myself compassion and appreciation for taking the time to do these thing every day. Now, my meditation and yoga/exercise habits are fully established. It is hard for me to “skip” a day, because I have turned it in to a positive habit in my life.

Now I was ready to break my old nemesis and cut ties with nicotine. The compounding benefits of meditation and exercise enable me to be mindful of cravings once I stopped; to label them as mere craving and let them go. During my journey into meditation, I read several books on mindfulness and Buddhist teachings. I am now able to observe my thoughts without getting to attached (most of the time), and find solace in the knowledge that I am not my thoughts and that everything changes.

There is something very empowering and comforting in being able to say to myself that “this is just a craving. It will pass. I am growing.” Also, knowing that the craving and discomfort of no longer vaping would pass was very helpful too. These are things I had hear before but never gave much confidence too. However, in a mindful lifestyle imbued with meditation and self appraisal, I have learned how my thoughts can be so very powerful and also very insignificant. It sounds like an oxymoron, but I’m not nearly as eloquent as a Buddhist monk.

What I can say, is that I have never regretted taking time to meditate. I always feel better to some degree after taking this time to slow down and at the very least I am never worse off for doing so. Exercise is another great mood boosting habit. If you are having a hard time breaking a bad habit, I would highly recommend by starting with adding good habits into your life first. Building these habits gave me an increased sense or self-worth and appreciation for the time and energy I spend doing things. It will help put into perspective the true nature of bad habits working against you.

I have started to pick new good habits to add to my life. These habits include: drinking water first thing in the morning, drinking tea before bead, and stopping eating food for the day after dinner. I enjoy the journey of adding new good habits into my life now, because I know that on the other side of the initial struggle to establish these things in my life is a level of satisfaction and reward that continues to pay off.

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">What do you want to make a new habit in your life? Have you had similar success in breaking bad habits? What works (doesn't work) for you?What do you want to make a new habit in your life? Have you had similar success in breaking bad habits? What works (doesn’t work) for you?