Taking My Own Advice in the January Push


So we’ve begun the year and some of us have resolutions or at least ideas of what we want to do in 2013. I already feel a January push happening around mine. It’s this feeling of riding momentum on writing projects that are important to me. Good stuff, mostly. Being focused and directed is so heady sometimes.

But I don’t want to neglect other things in the process, things like a tidy home, time with loved ones, cultural excursions, reading more, working out, taking classes, and a promise to myself to begin nourishing my soul with meditation. It’s like a looping question every month, every week, every day -- what stays and what goes?

I’m only a week into this year and already I’m worrying about overbooking, neglecting, missing something, cutting myself into pieces to be everywhere at once?

No. This won’t do. Time to take my own advice. A small shift.

Something sends me to do an Internet search to see if Dr. Eben Alexander’s talk at St. John the Divine in Manhattan has been rescheduled. He was supposed to discuss his book, Proof of Heaven, a Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife, the day Hurricane Sandy hit. Already I feel better because I’m in action, not surrendering to complete isolation around my projects.

Lo and behold, I find the item on the calendar and it’s just days away. How fortuitous. And so a friend and I go and sit in a magnificent, sacred space to listen to a scientist who cannot use his scientific training to explain away the divine journey he went on while he was in a coma in 2008. In the Q&A portion of the program, he says this:

“You don’t have to almost die to get this.”

The audience laughs nervously.

Of course. Because by “this” he means all-powerful knowing love, consciousness not originating in the brain, and connected souls in eternity. What an amazing place to let ourselves go on a weekday evening; there is life-altering information to ponder moving forward. I believe Dr. Alexander is meant to help us awaken and bridge an understanding of science and the divine. That’s on a big level. But I came away with something simpler, too. It was a call to meditate more.

That list I just put before you in this column, did you notice it included meditation? I’m not trying to get all New Age-y on you. I’m driving at a more practical idea. It’s terrific to think and plan and strategize, but it’s also vital to put your ear to the ground and listen. Listen to an instinct to find a cultural activity on the Internet to pull you out of whatever you’ve lulled yourself into. Listen to a complete stranger who went to a universal realm while in a coma, a stranger who incidentally was all about the science and little of the spiritual prior to his 2008 experience, and hear him express the value of meditation in his current life.

Then recall that yes, back in October there was that woman I ran into in my neighborhood who talked about the group meditations she has. And then in November the yoga teacher who told me she has added meditation to her classes. And the health article that explained the value of meditation in regulating high blood pressure.

Brick. Brick. Brick. Like a smack upside the head.

But did I listen? Or even pause?

No. I put meditation on a wish list for 2013. Lame, in retrospect.

When I do what I advocate that my clients do – prioritize -- much more becomes clear. Let’s take a crack at the list. OK. Working out stays. Tidy home stays, but not in the extreme. For now, taking a class goes. Reading happens when I’m moved. Same with cultural excursions. Meditation gets put front and center and implemented immediately.

As for the loved ones, there are so many wonderful people in my life and it’s important that I work it through and spend time with them. This piece, I discovered the first day of the year, must go hand-in-hand with some scathing honesty in my communication.

It goes something like this. I really want to stay in touch with you. I want to come see your new home or linger over coffee or see a movie. But I’m also feeling focused and directed professionally and want to seize the day, so to speak, on some momentum I’ve built. Rather than squander the opportunity for the latter and overbook myself socially, I’m trusting you enough to tell you the truth – I need some time.

This January push, it’s taking on a whole new tone. I’m starting to really like it. I may even meditate it on later.