Creating a Meaningful Life: Home Hopping

IMG_8963 (1) Rob and I have been hopping from apartment to apartment every couple of months for the last 16 months. It isn’t a popular lifestyle (most people are confused when we explain what we’re doing), so I was very surprised when a friend passed along an article about a couple, David and Elaine, who are essentially doing the same thing we did, in the same city we did it in, and at roughly the same time as us. I had been trotting along on this life path assuming we were the only ones who moved around this much. It was a breath of fresh air reading about the differences (they used Airbnb to locate apartments) and similarities (a very smelly first apartment in Chelsea) of their experience. I know this way of life isn’t for everyone (on a bad day it isn’t even for me), but it was validating to learn about someone else who is living almost the same crazy-but-meaningful life we are.

Elaine will tell you the constant change has honed her awareness of passing time”. As soon as I read that line I realized how much this path of life has enriched Rob’s and my life, both individually and as a couple. This “Ah, ha!” moment put all the stress, uncomfortableness and crappy situations that inevitably arise when you are moving around a lot, into perspective. Moving every couple of months has certainly made us more aware of how quickly time passes. With this awareness comes a new appreciation for the people in our lives, the events that happen, the life we are living and each other. And this new appreciation has definitely brought more meaning to our lives.

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We aren’t going to live the rest of our lives like this (though it probably won’t end as soon as we originally thought), but until then I am going to savor the meaningful life we have been creating, cherish the fact that we chose it and be grateful at how lucky we are to be able to live this life.

Creating a Meaningful Life: Learning to Meditate

meditationI think I have hit my stride with meditating. Finding my focus has become something I can do relatively easily, and I am able to concentrate for longer and longer stretches of time. The newest trick I learned is that when I find myself starting to get lost in thought, I simply think to myself “thinking” or “wandering” and that brings my awareness back to the meditation and my breath and I am able to let go of my thoughts. I’ve also learned that focusing on the feelings and sensations in different parts of my body makes me feel lighter and helps me concentrate. So I think I can safely say that the habit of meditating at least once a day as been formed. I really enjoy it and look forward to it every morning and night. The only thing I haven’t seen a huge shift in, is my ability to handle stressful situations or not become angry over petty things. I had hoped that the somewhat simple act of meditating once a day would help transform my mind, but I am beginning to see it might take more than that. My next goal is to use shorter guided meditations (3-5 minutes) when I am stressed, feeling anxious or feeling angry to help curb those feelings in the moment. Eventually, I hope, it will become second nature for my mind to steer itself away from those negative feelings.

During the last week, I explored guided meditation a bit more and at the moment it is my preferred method of meditating. I also added meditating into my nightly routine because I really see a difference in how quickly I fall asleep and how deeply I sleep when I have meditated before bed. I plan to keep up the guided meditations in the coming week and to try out ‘in the moment meditation’ when it is needed. I am in the final stretches of cramming for my CA real estate license exam, so ‘in the moment meditation’ might be tried out a lot. Wish me luck!

Creating a Meaningful Life: Learning to Meditate

meditationA professor in college once told our class that you’ll know you found the right partner for you when you like who you are when you’re with them. It made me realize that the Sonja I had been in past relationships was not a Sonja that I liked. When I met Rob, I finally was able to see what my professor had been talking about. He is patient, caring, genuinely kind, always looks at the world with a cup half full mentality and will go out of his way to help anyone. I inherited a lot of these qualities from my mom, so they have always been there. But for a long time they were buried beneath my shell of anger, impatience, jealousy, and selfishness. Over the last five years a lot of these qualities have been unearthed by simply being around him and subconsciously mimicking how he lives his life. In the last year or so I became more consciously aware of how exhausting it is when I am in a bad mood, impatient, angry, or just generally in a bad mood. While a good portion of the time I like the Sonja I have become, there are still times that the other Sonja rears her ugly head. I decided to make more of an effort to be a kind and positive person. Life is too short to be spend it angry or unhappy. The Happy Vibes posts were my first step in working to be more positive, more of the time. And I have noticed a change. I take time each day and week to think about a moment I am in and appreciate it for making me happy. This change has given me motivation to find other ways to learn how to be present in each moment, and to find the positive in any situation. So when Rob mentioned he’d heard a segment on Smart Passive Income about morning routines and meditation, I was intrigued.

Now while I do try a lot of different ways of improving my life and health (like taking creative writing classes, not drinking for two months or doing VB6) I always approach them with skepticism. Before fully committing to learning how to meditate, I wanted to try it a few times. I’ve spent the last month practicing sporadically. I did a quick search to find a few tips and techniques and have been trying them all out to see what seems to work best for me. I haven’t noticed a significant change in my overall mood yet, and honestly it is not easy. However, the few times I have done it, I have really enjoyed it. I have felt light, happy and calm afterwards. I have been able to get to a point in each session where I feel weightless, as if I am floating, and I really love that feeling. At this point though, I haven’t been able to hold that feeling long. It has inspired me though, to practice more consistently, and research more tips and techniques.

My goal is to meditate for 10 minutes every morning to start my day off feeling light and happy. I’d also like to use meditation as a tool in specific situations that stress me out or make me feel angry, to calm myself down and look at whatever the situation is in a more positive light. As I move forward in this journey of practicing meditation I will share with you the techniques I try, which ones work best for me, and if I see a change in my overall mood. For the next week my goal is to meditate each morning using the counting breath technique. If meditation is something you have wanted to try, I invite you to try the techniques I try each week and tell me how they work for you. I would also be interested in tips and techniques from all of you since this all new to me. I can’t wait to share this new journey with you!