The Circle of Death.
While I am quite certain this was the name of a drinking game I played in college, I now have a new definition for the “COD”.
I have learned to master it – and I’ll share how I did it – but first let me tell you about this electronic circular nemesis to see if you can relate.
The COD I refer to steals my peace.
It interrupts my ability to be present.
It controls my thoughts by demanding my attention.
It introduces issues at inopportune times.
Basically, the COD jacks up my flow. (To put it in, you know, scientific terms)
The circle I am referring to is what our friends at Apple innocently refer to as a “badge”.
That small red circle that perches on the upper right hand corner of each App on your device.
The number inside the Circle of Death is like a mini scale telling you exactly how stressed you should be about this particular App.
Here’s how I interpreted this scale:
Red circle with a single digit = normal levels of cortisol.
Red circle with a number >30 in the center = irritation with a side of elevated heart rate
And (heaven forbid) triple digits = immediate cause for stop, drop, and roll
I don’t remember if my Blackberry had its own version of this ‘feature’ but it’s safe to say that I have spent the better part of the last 7 years engaged in a game of whack-a-mole with the Apple badge notification before deciding that I needed to make a change.
This idea came to me on accident.
I had committed to breaking the habit of checking email/social media first thing in the morning and I had posted about it on Facebook because; accountability.
A former colleague recommended that, to help me not feel tempted to check my phone, I turn off the “Badge Notification” on some of my apps.
I assumed that I would need to call upon a small dose of herculean willpower to ignore those little red numbers while deep breathing my way through the irritation and rising blood pressure.
It had never occurred to me that there was another way.
(Spoiler alert: there’s ALWAYS another way.)
I shared this new strategy on Facebook and the overwhelming response from my peers (all, like, six of them) was horror. “But what if you MISS something!?” they asked, half terrified, half disgusted.
I read their comments (aka warnings) and mentally shrugged.
I don’t know. Didn’t seem like THAT much damage could be done.
I could always turn them back on …?
So I made the brave pilgrimage into the settings of my iPhone and disabled ALL of the notifications for everything that I deemed “extra” to a phones primary purpose. My phone and I had a “come to Jesus” conversation. I her she was allowed to alert me of phone calls and text messages because her flip-style predecessor had done this without stressing me the heck out and the world kept turning. I laid down the law that my iPhone and I were going to follow these same rules.
No more Circle of Death.
I am proud to report that I have not missed a single thing.
I am also happy to tell you that I can look at my phone any time of the day and not feel an ounce of stress. I can actually see my phones background because it’s no longer cluttered by electronic acne and I quite like it.
This is what it ALWAYS looks like:
I have made this recommendation to several people are each has offered favorable feedback.
None of the people I have suggested this to had asked me about ways to better manage their technology (not my area of expertise!) and none of them would’ve sited this as a cause of stress or anxiety – yet each one has found it a helpful strategy for feeling less anxious.
Consider that more peace could be a simple system setting away!
PEACE & LOVE
I am certain there are as many effective meditiaons as there are meditators – and I see value in all of them. This post is meant to give specific and detailed instructions about the meditation that I personally began with as I understand/experience it. This is not to say this is the “only”, “right”, or even “best” place to start, but this is my personal recommendation based on the powerful and positive effects that I experienced firsthand. After trying several apps and techniques, I found that this was the best entry-point for me to start a consistent practice. Maybe this will be an effective entry-point for you too! It can’t hurt to try! If this isn’t your jam – don’t give up on creating your practice! Keep trying different methods until you find the right fit for you!
Oh! And if you haven’t yet done so I recommend reading my post: “Why I Sucked at Meditating (and why you probably do too)” before you get started. Hopefully it will help to dispel some common misconceptions and help you to understand that one of the critical keys to success is simply the commitment to show up.
Gan Puttee Kriya: The Kriya to Make the Impossible Possible
3ho.org has a comprehensive explanation on how to perform the meditation. They’re the experts so I recommend referencing this page for official ‘instructions’: 3HO: Making the Impossible Possible
Here is my less-than-expert, unofficial explanation on what it is and why it worked for me…
First and foremost I sincerely believe that the reason I had such a positive experience with this is that I committed to it for 40 days. As you will discover, this meditation involves “chanting” so keeping my 40 day commitment meant that I sometimes had to tell my friends/family/houseguests that I would need 11 minutes of time during our morning or evening to meditate and chant (= weird conversation). In some instances (when I wanted to avoid said weird conversation) it meant sneaking out of bed at obscure times to whisper the chant and complete the practice on a dark kitchen floor (for example). It meant building 11 more minutes into my morning routine and/or redistributing 11 minutes of my already “busy” day. (See my post “The Lie We’re (almost) All Telling” for my thoughts on this). https://deemullin.wordpress.com/2016/08/23/the-lie-were-almost-all-telling/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true
Suffice it to say, sticking to the 40 days wasn’t ‘easy’ for me either, but I remained committed. I mean, c’mon, 40 days it not that long.
Once I committed and set my intention to do this I created a “meditation space”. If you’re picturing a guest room filled with Buddha statues and silk pillows a la “Arabian Nights” you could not be more off base (although that sounds lovely.) My “meditation space” is a little corner of my living room to the left of my entertainment center where I sat each morning and lit incense in front of my vision board.
For the “Making the Impossible Possible” meditation I sat in “easy pose” – which is a very close cousin to what children call ‘Indian-style’. The meditation is supposed to be practiced with your eyes “9/10ths closed” staring down at the tip of your nose but most of the time (especially in the beginning) I’d notice that my eyes would naturally close. (9/10ths may be ‘ideal’ but I say whatever happens happens – if you’re showing up to meditate I wouldn’t beat yourself up too badly on what’s happening with your eyes.)
Then you begin chanting as you move your thumb to make contact with each of your fingers (pictured on the 3ho.org page). You repeat: SA, TA, NA, MA, RA, MA, DA, SA, SA, SAY, SO, HUNG.
In my past attempts to explain this process I have gotten to this point and have been hit with some silly objections. I have often heard that this string of sounds is “too hard to memorize”.
Let’s be real: If you’re weirded out by the chanting too much to try it, I get that – but don’t kid yourself about the difficulty of memorizing some sounds in order. It’s not hard. Even if you had to spend your entire first session reading (vs keeping the eyes partially or fully closed) you’d certainly have a firm grasp on it by day two.
Most commonly I think people are afraid that this will look and feel funny. It does! But it’s probably not as bad as you think and (for me) the rewards significantly outweigh the “risk” of looking and sounding strange.
The chanting really helped keep my hyperactive mind busy. When I would sit in silence (which I am able to do now that I have a practice, but was unable to ‘start’ with) the mental to-do list was never ending, incessant, and very distracting. I found it impossible to even dip a toe into the pool of “zen” while listening to my limiting self-talk reciting all the things I needed to accomplish in the day and not-so-subtlety pointing out that right now, at this very moment (the moment of meditation-attempt), I was doing precisely zero of the things on the list. Ugh. No Bueno.
The ‘silly’ chanting was a game changer. At first I was preoccupied with keeping the ‘sound-words’ in order. (It wasn’t hard to memorize but I found it required a beneficial amount of mental effort to keep it flowing). Once I had it down, the chant had a kind of calming effect. The sounds, the vibration, the meridians… I won’t attempt a scientific argument but I bought into the idea that the magic was happening.
Here is my video to show how ‘accessible’ this can be: Making the Impossible Possible (like a Type-A New Yorker)
Finding a meditation practice that worked for me was life changing. I invite and encourage you to try this for yourself! I promise – without a doubt – that if you commit to 40 days of this and honor your commitment, you’ll have life changing results as well!
Best of luck getting your practice started and if you try this method, let me know how it goes! I would love to hear about and celebrate all of the “impossibilities” that you’re able to make possible!
PEACE, LOVE & MINDFULNESS.
Almost everyone you know is lying.
They’re lying to you, and they’re lying to themselves.
You’re doing it too!
And yes, I’m guilty as well.
Our widely told, widely accepted, and seriously limiting lie sounds like this:
“I’m just too busy”
“I don’t have any time”
“I really need to find more time”
That’s right. I’m calling it to the carpet. “BUSY” is bullshit.
Saying you’re busy is like saying you’re breathing. It’s so universal that it’s completely useless. Please show me a person who doesn’t believe they’re “busy”. The word is so overused that it’s basically nonsense.
Saying you don’t “have any time” is even more absurd. In many ways ‘time’ is the great equalizer because we all “have” (or “don’t have”) the exact same amount of it. There are 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, 365 days in a year… I mean, you probably know. This is true for everyone currently on the planet as well as everyone who has ever lived. The fact of the matter is that you “have” the same exact amount of time as Albert Einstein, Mother Theresa, Oprah Winfrey, and (as my mug says) Beyoncé.
In addition, I have never once been walking down the street and looked down to find a ‘minute’ lying around – spare change, yes. Minutes, no. You can’t enter a lottery or compete on a game show and win more hours in your day, so where are we all planning on “finding” more time?
Saying that you’re “busy” or that you “don’t have time” implies a lack of control over your life. You paint yourself as a victim – that’s why the busy lie is truly a limiting belief in disguise.
Just because it is widely told and widely accepted does not mean it is not holding you back!
Take control! Stop telling this lie! Embrace the mantra: “Busy is bullshit.”
In no scientific or certain terms, here is what I believe happens when we say that we are “too busy”. Let’s pretend (for example) that you and I are discussing starting a daily meditation practice and you tell me you “really want to” but you’re “just too busy”.
During this dialogue exchange your brain hears something about the daily meditation and thinks ‘Oh, yeah! That would be so good for us!’ but then is quickly thereafter stopped dead in its thought process-tracks by hearing that limiting word: “busy”.
Your brain hears your declaration of “busy” and takes it seriously.
You automatically switch to victim mode. To “lack” mentality. To a place of “not enough”. This is a dangerous mental space to live in! Nothing can grow here!
Here’s the trick: If you were instead to say “I really want to start a meditation practice but I don’t know how I’d fit it into my morning routine” you bring a whole different energy and set of possibilities to this conversation.
I believe that your brain hears that sentence and takes it as a directive rather than a declaration. It’s like you’re asking your subconscious to work on a difficult math problem while you go about your day. Your brain is suddenly deployed on a mission. You’re in a place of possibilities. A place of codes to crack and options to consider. A place of control! This is where ideas blossom!
I’m not suggesting you wake up tomorrow and throw open your bedroom windows while singing to the woodland creatures about all your free time as if you’re in a Disney movie. That’s a place of delusion. That’s not the point.
There is a happy medium.
You will be better served by not defaulting to the common cop out of busy-ness. Stop being a victim and start getting real. Think about whatever task you’re denying yourself because you “don’t have time” for it.
Is it important to you?
Then make it happen. You’re NOT “too busy”.
And if it’s not a priority or you’re “just not that into it,” say so! Claim control. This is your life. It’s not happening to you, it’s happening because of you!
And when it IS important but you just don’t know how you’ll get it done, just sit with that. Try owning one of these responses:
“I don’t know how I’ll fit that in”
“I want to make this happen I am just not sure how yet”
“I’ll probably need to move things around”
“I need to think about how to make it work”
“I don’t know where to start”
Feel the energy of the above statements and how it differs from the energy of “I don’t have time” or “I’m too busy.” This is a simple semantics switch that packs some serious power.
Ready to try it? Good!
First learn to hear yourself. Listen for the B-word. (This takes practice). When you catch it just immediately say out loud (or to yourself depending on the age of surrounding ears) “busy is bullshit.”
Break up with “busy” for good and start realizing all the things you’re able to make possible!
PEACE, LOVE & POSSIBILITIES.