21 Day Practice: Day 1 – Grumpy Monkey

mindful speechA small group of my Reiki students and I have embarked on a 21 day challenge to support mind/body balance and spiritual development.

We are committing to 3 weeks of daily Reiki self-treatment (many of us already do this) combined with an exercise in mindful speech that involves refraining from complaint, gossip, judgment or criticism (self or of others).

The real challenge with the mindful speech part is if you find yourself complaining or criticizing, then you have to count again from Day 1. (So, basically, most of us will be engaging in this part of the challenge for a long time!)

We are simultaneously exploring the 5 Reiki Principles (Precepts) in conjunction with this practice, and it seemed fitting to begin with “Today only, do not anger.”

(Thanks go to the wild, wacky and totally awesome Kimmy Sue Ruby Lou for providing the inspiration for this practice.)

I wanted to hold myself accountable as well as document my journey through this challenge by providing daily updates. So, here goes!

Day 1: 

I’m thinking of creating a video to post on YouTube entitled “21 Day Practice Fail,” wherein I completely end up doing the exact opposite of what the practice exercises say.

OK, so I exaggerate a bit. I did do my daily Reiki self-treatment and also meditated this morning. But that imperative to “speak no word of complaint, gossip, judgment or criticism (self or of others)” whacked me upside the head basically from the moment I set foot out of bed and saw pouring rain for the umpteenth day in a row.

My daughter also gave me an opportunity to practice mindful speech by refusing to get out of bed to go to school. She declared, “Yesterday was the 100th day of school. There’s no more school today” and then pulled the blanket back over her head. Inside my head, I’m coaching myself on. “Deep breaths, mama. YOU didn’t want to get up either. Bring out the Nutella and she’ll come running.” Eventually she did get up and get ready for school, but not before making me second-guess the wisdom of assigning this practice to myself and my students.

During morning meditation, my back and my grumpy monkey mind protested the entire time, but we made it through in one piece, which sometimes is the best thing you can say about your meditation practice.

Reiki self-treatment was a relief after the rigors of zazen. The nearly weeks’ long gloom and rain is kicking me deep into SAD territory. There isn’t nearly enough light in this house or outside , so I need to spark the inner light within.

I quickly came to the realization that our minds are constantly buzzing with low-level chatter, much of it critical or negative. It made me think hard about the kind of messages we receive throughout our life, and how much healthier people would be if even 20% more of what they heard was of a more positive nature.

And imagine if even 20% more of what we told ourselves about ourselves all day long was more positive!

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