meditation challenge

If Don/Jon can meditate, so can Dimity + Adrienne, right?

A few months ago, Adrienne Martini and I embarked on a 30-day foam rolling challenge, which was definitely successful in relieving kinks in the hips, calves, and quads. (And we know you’re dying to know: yes, our foam rollers are still in regular use.)

You can’t foam roll your brain though, so what do you do with the mental kinks? Meditate through them, of course. Which brings us to our second 30-ish day challenge: meditating for 10 minutes for 30 days. Were we successful in a meditation challenge? Take a deep inhale and read on.

[Listen to the accompanying podcast:
AMR Trains: Meditation for Beginners + a 30-ish Day Challenge]

Adrienne’s history with meditation: I think calling it a “history” gives it too much weight. Over that last couple of decades, I have meditated on and off. My previous streak was about ten days.

Dimity’s history with meditation: I have tried, off and on, for years. To give you an idea, I asked for Sharon Salzberg’s Real Happiness one year for Christmas, mostly because it came with an accompanying CD for audio guidance.

That said, the first time I tried meditation was at a weekend program (not related to meditation) at the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe: I think we had to sit for 30 minutes. I remember my joints being incredibly uncomfortable and my breath being really loud and my wondering why and how anybody does this.

A typical meditation session for Adrienne went like this: Open the Calm app. Find Jeff Warren’s Daily Trip. Sit on my bedroom floor; close my eyes; and listen.

meditation challenge

Just another day at the zoo with the mental monkeys.

A typical meditation session for Dimity went like this: Take a seat in a comfy, high-backed, living-room-ish chair. Swipe to the free Insight Timer app. Find a meditation I had bookmarked; my favorite teachers include Jack Kornfield, Melli O’Brienn (love her Aussie accent), Jean Vitrano, and Sharon S. I like repeating the same sessions; that way, I’m not wondering what is coming next.

The part of meditation that Adrienne loved the best: The moments after I open my eyes. It feels like my whole brain has been rebooted.

The part of meditation that Dimity loved best: The reminder that each breath is a chance to begin again. There is no “there” in meditation—or at least not at the level I meditate—and I love the idea that there is no failure either. Just sit and breathe and begin again when you need do. The sentiment is so forgiving and full of grace—and works in the real world too.

The hardest part of meditation for Adrienne: Sitting still. Seriously. Any other time during the day, I’m thrilled to just sit for a few minutes. When what I need to do is sit for a few minutes, I want to do anything but that.

The hardest part of meditation for Dimity: When I was thrown off my routine. It’s easy to make meditation a priority when you have a flexible morning schedule and are in a quiet house. When I traveled or didn’t get to it until bedtime, it was much harder to make the time.

Also, I anticipated the old monkey mind was going to be a big source of self-judgment, but I really appreciated that every teacher mentions it in one fashion or another. It’s when—not if—your mind starts to wander. In other words, my mental treadmill, typically whirring at 6 mph all day long, is normal.

meditation challenge

Adrienne meditating in Iceland. Not pictured: her nearby husband playing Angry Birds.

How many days Adrienne missed: Five or six. Making a big time zone swing – we went to Iceland for a week – makes counting days a little tricky.

How many days Dimity missed: Two or three. It would’ve been three or four, but I did an impromptu session on the O’Hare tarmac, when a crackling Doritos bag—and the accompanying Cool Ranch flavor—almost put me over the edge. I found my feet, I found my breath, and I hung out there until I felt calmer.

Misc. thoughts from Adrienne: Once I gave myself permission to meditate for less than ten minutes, it was easier to find the motivation to do it – and it was just as much of a reset as a longer session. For me, four to five minutes was the sweet spot. Perhaps meditation is a muscle and I’ll increase my endurance with practice?

Misc. thoughts from Dimity: Once I dropped the ideas about what meditation had to look like—Eat, Pray, Love; a shrine with a pillow on the floor; lots of candles; definitely cross-legged positioning; quiet all around—and just sat in my comfy chair with the guidance of a teacher in my app, I found it much more accessible. (Big surprise there, I realize.) It’s kind of like running: you can worry about how you look, or you can concentrate on how it makes you feel.

Will Adrienne keep it up? Maybe? The reminder is still set in my phone, which means that I get a reminder every day. Some days, I heed it.

Will Dimity keep it up? You betcha. After all, each breath is a chance to begin again.

Do you meditate? Any tips for beginners?