So what can we try that’s different?
Here are some things I’ve found useful:
- Make a date with yourself. I have a Zen sewing teacher, helping me with a sewing project that I often put off, over and over. He tells me to make a date with myself: put it on the calendar. And it works! I encourage you to be serious about this date, and not take it lightly.
- Ask yourself if you really want to. Zen teacher Norman Fischer says that the process of committing yourself to morning meditation starts the night before: ask yourself if you really want to do it. If you say Yes, then ask again: “Are you sure?” If you say No, then take it off your calendar and sleep in. But if you really want to do it, then really commit yourself, because it’s important to you.
- Treat it as sacred. As I said, don’t treat it lightly — we often treat our commitments to ourselves as something that don’t matter, that can be pushed back without consequence. But what if this were a sacred appointment? Something elevated beyond the ordinary, that we treat as really important to us? Something that is a way to honor ourselves and our best intentions? Something that we’ll even enjoy!
- Honor what shows up, and honor yourself. As you approach your date with yourself, you might feel resistance. Fear or uncertainty. A desire to put it off, or to treat it with less importance. Honor that — really turn towards it and let yourself feel it, like it’s an important feeling. But also honor yourself — can you see that showing up for yourself is also important?
- Bring a sense of curiosity, play, appreciation. This doesn’t have to be a white-knuckle experience, where you force yourself to do something you don’t want to do. It can be a place of curiosity, where you let yourself explore and play and learn. It can be a place of joy, of appreciation for yourself and for the activity. Can you find out what that might be like for yourself?
I’d love to hear more about what you discover as you practice with all of this, and start to honor how important you are to yourself.