Somewhere between obligation and longing lies contentment

Yesterday I forgot to meditate. All right, I chose not to meditate. That's because I am like 99.8% of the human population and when I experience something that makes me feel instantly, genuinely better about myself and my life, something that is scientifically proven to be good for me, something that requires just a little bit of effort—not even effort but simply intention—I do it two times, sing its praises, and then stop. And then feel guilty.

Yesterday, instead of meditating, I made my daughter's lunch and walked the dog. And then when I looked at the clock, I realized that if I took the time to meditate, I would be late to meet my friend David for coffee. The [imagine a word here that means what people mean when they use the word irony] is that I was still late to meet him, because I went the slow way and hit traffic.

And other than a nice chat with David, it felt like I was in traffic for the rest of the day. I hated everything I wrote. I resented my to-do list for feeling neglected and silently judging me. Unable to do anything for myself, I focused on my family obligations. And unable to do anything for myself, I resented my family obligations.

I was convinced yesterday turned out the way it did because I didn't meditate. Amy thinks that perhaps it was a little bigger than that—that what happened at the end of the week was simply the emotional equivalent of the pain meds wearing off. The newness of the leave, of writing, of surfing, of seeing friends in the middle of the day, and, yes, the newness of meditating masked the anxiety associated with this transition. "The anxiety was like a wave forming," she said. "It was bound to come to shore eventually. The key is being able to spot those waves and ride them instead of having them crash on you." (We seem to be using a lot of surfing metaphors around the house lately.)

As frustrating as yesterday was, it was a revelation to see that I am capable of creating my worst self without the Bogeyman of work to blame. I'll try to remember that when I'm back at work.

Plus, the longing for meditation produced the necessary commitment to try it again today. Once again, we pulled out the yoga mat, placed it in the backyard, and listened to the mix of birds and sirens that forms our neighborhood soundtrack. The dog is still trying to figure out what we're up to, but I think eventually he'll stop trying to wake us up by licking our faces while we close our eyes and breathe. 

After we finished, I turned to Amy and said, "I want to meditate with you every morning. I really love meditating with you."

"I really love it too," she said. "Your breathing helped me not think about the piles in the garage."