Sunday, March 31, 2013

SOLC 2013 Day 31: Lessons learned

Today marks the end of two challenges I assigned myself this month--the Slice of Life Challenge to blog each day during March, and the Oprah/Chopra 21-Day Meditation Challenge, listening to guiding thoughts and meditating each morning for the last three weeks.

How nice that these goals were met today, Easter Sunday, smack dab in the season of spring and rebirth and new beginnings.  Maybe that's why I'm hesitant to pronounce these challenges as done, met, checked off the list.  Instead, I feel like I've learned a few things to carry me forward.  

Not that I'm feeling all fired up, ready to take on the world.  In my mind, spring is a gentle season, filled with pleasant birdsong, soft rains, breezes and buds just pushing out into the world.  That's how I feel--tender nudges to make small but important changes.  No raging like a hot summer thunderstorm here, barreling out of the gates with missions to accomplish.  Lord knows, I've already got plenty of backlog on my to-do list at work and at home!

So what have I learned?  On writing:

  • It is hard to write.  Hard to get thoughts down on paper in a way that makes sense and flows and says what I want them to say.  Hard to know what to put in and what to leave out.  Hard because  what I may be feeling strongly about in the moment may not be appropriate for the forum I'm writing in.  Hard because I'm ending sentences in prepositions, and that bothers my inner grammar police, but the proper way doesn't sound any better.
  • I like getting feedback.  I can be a feedback junkie...and I'm not sure that's a good thing.  Sometimes it should just be enough to get it down and put it out there.  Which leads me to my next thought--
  • I feel uncomfortable using a blog as a diary.  I really enjoy sharing stories of my past, little snippets of activity like birthdays and baking.  And while some of the best feedback I got was on posts in which I bared my felt kinda weird putting them out there for such a broad audience.  Maybe it's because this is really my blog about reading, and this challenge brought out much more that that.  I'll consider having a separate blog if I attempt this challenge next year.
  • Writing is hard.  Or have I said that already?
Lessons on meditating:
  • Ten minutes is a long time to focus on being still and thought-less.  It helped to have a daily mantra to bring me back from intruding thoughts, but the thoughts kept coming.  
  • I really look forward to my meditation time in the morning.  I've always felt kind of guilty for spending most of my pre-dawn alone time playing games on Facebook.  Meditating for some of that time feeds my spirit, instead of exercising my brain cells (my excuse for game playing).  Since I've heard that both can ward off signs of aging, I'm going to try and continue my meditation practice before squeezing in those rounds of Candy Crush.
  • Having someone else--or something else--time the meditation is awesome.  I've had a folder full of timed meditations on my desktop for ages...I'm finally going to get around to using them!
So there are no earth-shattering conclusions, no major breakthroughs coming out of this month.  Just a nod to myself for stepping up to these challenges, and a plan to take what I've learned and move forward with it, one babystep at a time.


  1. I like your words...spring is gentle with tender nudges to important changes. I like that a lot. It has been quite a month...and I relate to your comment about being a comment junkie. I think we all are. How nice to know that someone has taken the time to respond to something we have written. I hope to see you Tuesdays...this was my first year and I found the structure ha kicked me into writing...not so gentle as a spring nudge. Jackie

    1. Jackie, it's nice to know I'm not the only one! I've entertained the thought of doing the Tuesday slices, but I really need to think about starting another blog for that. I guess I like to compartmentalize my thoughts a bit more. I also feel I need to spend more time reading, and this writing (and commenting on other's blogs) has eaten up quite a chunk of my after-work time!

    2. Chris, yes it has taken a chunk out of the day...and being retired...I have more time....If I were still teaching I would have to cut back on the reading of all the blogs and commenting. Follow what you need to you know best. :-)

  2. I love the way you link that springtime feeling to "tender nudges to make small but important changes" in your life -- neat! (I'm sorry I missed your blog all month, but there are just too many slicers in March! You won my prize and I wanted to "meet" you! I'll be sending it your way soon!) I hope you'll join us for the Tuesday slicing -- it's an incredible community throughout the year, and it's much less demanding than the March Challenge. :-)

    1. Thank you so much, Jennifer! I was so excited to be chosen for a prize. I've already gotten more out of the challenge than I anticipated. If I decide to continue slicing, I'll probably do it under a new and different blog. Thank you for the encouragement--and in advance, for the shadowbox! I will hang it proudly in my classroom.