If you’ve ever talked to me for more than 5 seconds, you know that I’m big into self-reflection and self-awareness. However, in a world where we’re moving at top speed all day every day, having a moment to collect your thoughts may feel impossible.
I mean, when your coffee is bought on an app and your pizza is ordered online, instant gratification is no longer something that is pined for, but something that we literally have at our fingertips. And while that’s all well and good, it can mean that things like meditation can be hard to do. We’re overstimulated, and sitting still just isn’t something that people do. Hell, some of us even stand at our desks to work!
While I would like to eventually get into traditional meditation, the fact of the matter is that active meditation is better suited to my life as it is now.
Active meditation? I’ve never heard of such a thing! Well, apparently it is indeed a thing, I googled it right after I typed it (I wanted to be the one to coin it, but oh well. Back to the drawing board on words I can make up…).
I’ve heard that taking mindful walks in nature and practicing mindful eating are good active mediation techniques, but let’s be real — it’s not always feasible to drive out to nature for a hike in the middle of a busy week or to eat mindfully when you’re trying to eat an entire Chipotle burrito too fast for your stomach or guilt to catch up with you.
Bullet journaling is a great way to keep you on track with some solid self-reflection time. I’m sure you’ve heard of bullet journaling and seen it online — pages on pages of very talented people drawing out different charts and museum-worthy drawings…
While I sit there with my pen looking like looking like Patrick when he was trying to build a seahorse stable.
Seriously, words are my talent (and I’m sure that some of you would find even that hard to believe). Nonetheless, I’m hopeless with a drawing utensil and I’m only okay with a paintbrush if you have someone in front of me giving me simplified instructions and put a cider in me. You get the idea.
The unfortunate thing is: for people like me, bullet journaling can be daunting.
I hate knowing that I’ll never have the skill (or the patience, honestly) to make my journal pretty. So what to I do? GRAPHS. I look up the simplest shapes to draw and I do them. I go over the same lines 3 times with all different colors. It may not be pretty, but it’s mine (I also like to brag that my partner made the leather cover for it…he’s a pretty impressive human being if I do say so myself).
The other thing about bullet journals is that you have to fill them in yourself. Sure, they’re supposed to be personalized to fit you and your schedule, but with one empty notebook, I now have 6 different themed pages with no idea where any of them will end or if they’ll eventually intersect. Now, don’t get me wrong, chaos can be fun, but soon my daily gratitude section is going to run into my mood chart…what am I, an animal?!
The good news is: as mindfulness becomes more important and prevalent, more companies are putting out guided journals to give you the chance for your own moment of self-reflection. So far, I own one Q&A journal, one Dawn and Dusk journal, one Do One Thing a Day that Centers You journal, and one Do One Thing a Day that Makes You Happy journal.
Whew, it’s a good thing that I don’t go overboard with anything ever.
But obviously you don’t need to own 17 different reflection journals to take just a moment to yourself and jot down some thoughts. What I like about guided journals is that they provide you with a prompt and not too much space…so you have your topic in front of you and you can’t even write much! Huzzah!
If writing is less your speed, I’ve found reading, yoga, and painting my nails to be other great active meditation techniques. And those are obviously just my personal ideas. Any activity you can do where you’re solely focused on one thing and you’re taking care of yourself can serve as meditation for you. Anything that makes you feel calm and centered. The trick is to figure out one or two activities like that and try to do them every day.
Even taking one moment of gratitude right when you wake up or right before you go asleep can help you reflect on all of the blessings that you currently have. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love to complain about anything and everything, but it can be good to switch it up every once in a while. Instead of complaining about waking up early in the morning, I can be grateful for the opportunity to flip through more radio stations playing morning talk shows instead of music (seriously, why do they all stop playing music at once?!) while I drive to work in a music-less zombie-like fog!
It’s that easy!
Odds are that every day, you’re working your mind and your body at least a little bit by simply waking up in the morning. It’s time to give that soul a little attention. Give yourself two minutes. You deserve it.
Photography by my talented fiancé. You can find him on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/hope_grows_here/