The girl with the ridiculously long hair down to her waist decided that she wanted to wear the pink clogs I’d been wearing for six days straight every morning, every afternoon and evening. They were the only ones in the row of slippers at the entrance of the dining all that fit my large, flat feet. But for some reason on day six of ten, she arrived to the hall before me and changed up her slipper selection. Because of her, I had to miserably eat lunch in my socks with cold feet.
I didn’t like her.
The was another woman wearing the knitted hat with cat ears. She and her hat started to annoy me.
On more than one occasion, I ready to go home and get a chicken, maybe steak burrito from my favorite Mexican take out spot.
Did all the meals really have to be vegetarian? What’s wrong with just having a meatless Monday? What about some compassion for carnivores? My butt is sore from sitting. I need more cushions. I need a chair. I really need a burrito. What day is it? What if my apartment burns down while I'm gone. Maybe Trump will be impeached by the time I get back...
These were just a few of the endless thoughts and feelings I worked through during the ten day silent meditation retreat I finished a few days ago. For 10 days, there wasn't any talking to other students, no phones or other electronic gadgets allowed, no books, no writing nor listening to music.
It was just me and my thoughts - the good, the not so good and the super-petty ones in Pecatonica, Illinois learning the practice of Vipassana meditation.
To give a bit more context, meditation has never been my thing. A lot of high performing entrepreneurs and business professionals that I follow often rave about the benefits of meditation. I’ve tried it a few times and have occasionally attended group meditation sittings. Usually during the hour long sessions, I fall asleep or leave feeling irritated from having to sit still for so long pretending to be zen. Meditating alone at home, even guided meditations sucked.
However, my experience of meditation for ten days straight without distractions was different. Without any distractions, multiple meditation sittings in a day and with guidance from Vipassana teachers as needed, I was successful at developing a real meditation practice. The process of overcoming the challenges of a rigorous, non-stop meditation schedule and the myriad of emotions that followed was part of the path that lead to so many enlightening, 'aha' moments.
Eventually, the silence became beautiful as my mind became quieter.
Overall, it was a worthwhile experience and the start of what promised to be rewarding journey of new self discoveries and even greater self awareness. Continuing the practice, I'm eager to experience the long term benefits. I can already tell the difference. Since I've been back, there's an undercurrent of calmness and greater focus in my day to day activities. I'm more patient and relaxed. Even writing is easier.
Plus, the flexibility in my legs from sitting in one position for hours at a time is better than ever!
When I wasn’t moping about pink clogs that didn’t belong to me or craving chicken burritos, I also spent a lot of time thinking deeply about things that truly mattered. Things like what’s next with the ghostwriting and editing business. I'll be blogging more about what's next in the coming weeks.
However, in the meantime, I’m doing one more free webinar masterclass before the year ends. Write and Publish Your Book with Ease will be held on November 7 at 8 p.m. EST. Yes, I'll talk more about my ten day meditation experience - especially more about the techniques I learned that may help you start and finish writing your book in 2020 with greater focus and clarity.
To RSVP, go to www.wordsmithwonder.com/upcoming events.
Alicia N. Ingram is a passionate, hard-nosed book editor, ghostwriter and writing coach who believes well-told stories can transform hearts and minds. This belief fuels her work to help aspiring authors start AND finish writing high quality books. For more information, visit www.wordsmithwonder.com.