1. Detach from expectation
Maybe yesterday I had a great meditation day, but I would not expect the same today. Every day is different. My mood and energy fluctuate a lot every day and that is okay. Stop the expectation game. give yourself more chance to mingle with reality. In the end, any kind of meditation day is okay.
2. Have a go-to meditation when you absolutely do not feel like meditating
For me, it is a 5-minute box breathing. No matter how tired or uninspired I am, I can always do a 5-minute box breathing. Then sometimes magic happens like what the ‘2-minute rule’ states. I planned to only do the box breathing, ended up doing unguided meditation for 15 minutes after that.
3. Figure out your own meditation time
Just because every meditation teacher says you need to meditate upon waking up, does not mean you need to do it. Of course, give it a try, but ultimately give yourself the liberty to find out what works for you. A little hint is when you have your brain fog the most. You know that feeling, when you are tired, a little more irritated than usual, you know you need to take care of something but you are just sitting on the sofa. For me, this brain frog always happens in the late afternoon. That is when I meditate and it helps me to recoup some energy and freshness to go into the night.
4. Try exploring different kinds of meditations, then mix and match.
There are 3 big types of meditations: mindfulness meditation, concentrative mediation, and expressive meditation. ‘The Transformation’ by James Gordon is a great read on this topic.
If I need to release a lot of emotions, I always turn to expressive meditation first (shaking and dancing) then I might transition into unguided mindfulness meditation.
Recently I started to do a 5-minute concentrative meditation first before I do my unguided meditation. It helps me to quiet my mind and better enter the mindful place.
It is a lot of fun for me to figure out what mix & match I need today to bring me back to balance.
5. You can be your own emotional first responder
With meditation, I learn to be my own emotional first responder. I never dreamed it could happen. When sh*t hits the fan, I always cry myself into exhaustion and/or ask for emotional support from my friends and partner. Now I always have a safe place (meditation) and a safe person (myself or my higher self or my inner wise guide) to turn to when I am upset. The good news is that this safe place and safe person are always with me. Knowing I can face my emotions alone in a safe setting gives me so much strength and comfort.
6. My emotions are valid but they do not have to control me or guide my life.
Being with my (strong) emotions in the safe setting of meditation for me is a way to honor my emotions, to tell them yes I see you, yes you are valid, yes you can feel that way. After this validation process, usually, the emotions start to fade and my logic starts to emerge again. Then I am in a more balanced state to decide what to say or what not to say, what to do or what not to do.
7. Transcending the good day/bad day binary thinking
Figuring out how to meditate every day has unexpectedly help me to transcend the good day/bad day binary thinking. Now on a bad stretch of the day, I still encourage myself ‘do not give up on today just yet’. Maybe all I need is a little nap or mediation, then I am all rejuvenated again to face the next stretch. Maybe there are not inherently bad days, maybe I just need to figure out how to bring myself back to balance from moment to moment.
8. 100-day project works
For me, it feels like going to a specific playground. I go there every day and naturally I discover how it is different today. I think about playing there a lot so I naturally receive new ideas on what to explore next.