20 More Minutes, revisited

I said it wouldn’t be easy, didn’t I?

Just 20 minutes a day. It’s so simple, but its been days since I’ve managed to make myself hive off the time. Dropping the practice is both symptom and cause, and it spirals downward until a certain, dark point where I just give up.

But it’s dawned on me that as much as I’ve focused on the quantity of time for mindfulness, I haven’t given much real estate to the quality. Of course it’s important to make an effort to make the most of the time, but treating it like a prescription is the wrong approach. I think when we need 20 More Minutes the most we need to drop the illusion of a standard practice and just get the hell out the door.

So I’m dumbing down the mandate. When you’re really struggling, when tears are welling in your eyes and you don’t know where to turn, try to stop yourself – even in the midst of howling miserably at the moon – and acknowledge that it’s okay to be in the gutter. Accept that at that moment you’re unable to commit 20 minutes to yourself for meditation or exercise or whatever, and that it isn’t one more thing to add to your list of things to feel guilty about.

2o More Minutes is a mindset of acceptance and hope. It shouldn’t be another chore.

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