When trying to improve ourselves, we often think of things we need to stop doing.
We need to stop over-eating. (At least, I do.) We need to stop watching so much t.v. (I’m cutting back.) We need to stop spending so much time on Facebook. (I have, and I’m happier.)
This time of year, though — whether you celebrate spring or Easter or both — is about the magic of rebirth. Winter kills the world, but spring revives it. Nights were growing longer, but now daylight returns. The Christ dies, but comes back to life.
Which raises the question: is there something in your life that needs to be brought back to life? Is there a neglected habit, practice, or project you’ve stopped doing that, if resumed, would make your life better?
For me, that something is a spiritual practice: a tangible daily ritual expressing my commitment to becoming a brighter soul.
In the past, I dabbled with this in various ways, all with good results. But eventually, I allowed distractions to override my good intentions. My commitments to living in ways that express gratitude and compassion slipped. And so, once again, I found myself asleep at the wheel of my own life.
Having noticed this, I have a choice. I can ignore it, and embrace unconscious living, or I can do something about it.
So I’m renewing my commitment to daily meditation. When I meditate, I’m a happier, more stable person. Life remains turbulent, but the eddies, undertows, and rapids buffet me less. My blood pressure plummets. My heart opens. In short: daily meditation makes me more like the person I want to be, and less like the person I don’t want to be.
Last night, I sat quietly for fifteen minutes, my mind (mostly) empty, reconnecting with the people and things in my life I’m most grateful for. This morning, I sat quietly for fifteen minutes, my mind (mostly) empty, absorbing the stillness of a Sunday morning.
I’m already a better person for it.
So, this Easter, I’m reviving a more structured spiritual practice. In sharing this with you, I’m not trying to persuade you to meditate — though if you’re inspired to, that’s fine. Instead, I share this story as a way to invite you to think about something you’ve abandoned that you could revive — something that, resurrected, would make your life better.
Could you finish that book you were writing? Could you start riding that bike again, just one day a week? Could you reconnect with a friend you miss? Could you start baking again? Could you get back to painting, or shooting photos, or making soap, or playing cards, or reading a book a month — just as a way of recapturing the joy of doing those things?
And when you do, could you share that decision, so that your own progress could inspire us, too?
Photo: 30,000 feet above Atlanta, from a trip we took in 2012.