Successful tweak – meditation before sleeping

For the last 10 days, I have meditated in bed before sleeping.

I updated my pre-sleep routine. It now starts with meditating for 10 minutes – usually Daily Calm, though yesterday I tried and liked a quiet meditation. Then I massage my feet, ankles and achilles with a massage ball before wearing sleeping socks (keeping feet warm). Finally, I read a book till the eyes shut off – usually 5-15 minutes.

I have been really enjoying this routine. The meditation calms me down drastically. The massage helps the feet stay fitter while I am increasing running mileage (or at least I think it helps). Then I read something – an easy book1 or a few paragraphs of Meditations (Marcus Aurelius).

I have been having really good sleep – drifting into it peacefully, and waking calm. The anxieties from rest of the day have mostly kept at bay. I’m lovin’ it.

Continue reading Successful tweak – meditation before sleeping

Failed tweak – Morning meditation

I usually meditate at either middle or end of the day – when the head is usually frazzled or distracted, and needs a dose of calm and care.

Since everyone talks and writes about it, today I decided to meditate in the morning. At about 6 AM, after finishing coffee and before starting work, I took 15-20 minutes to meditate with Calm.

The meditation itself was good, and I may have maintained the focus better. But due to the timing, it wasn’t as useful as usual. I was already calm and focused before the meditation (early morning is my favourite, and most productive work time). So the marginal benefit provided by the meditation was small.

Later when I felt the need for meditation in late afternoon, I hesitated – ‘because I had already done the session for the day’. It was a stupid self-argument, but I listened to it and didn’t spend the 15 mins. I have paid for it with a distracted mind and subsequent low productivity all evening.

Looking forward, I could fight that argument (‘already done it today’) in my head with logic. But that’s a system 2 action, and system 2 is lazy so I’ll probably end up failing more often than not.

I could set a fixed afternoon time to create a rule/habit, but that will have a similar constraint – I will end up meditating when its scheduled, and not when I need it.

So, instead I am declaring the morning meditation a failed tweak, and will instead go back to meditating when I want/need during the day.

Tweaks for 2019 – Practice mindfulness

Multi-tasking was considered a desirable quality when I was in college and in my early working years. In hindsight, it was an easy escape too – when things get tough in one area, switch to the other. Smartphones, social media, TV and multi-tab browsers have added to the toll – all together in the cause of making my current easily distracted present self.

Mindfulness, focus, being in the present – all define an ability to stop becoming a multi-tasker. To get back to being fully focused on just the present act – whether its working, playing with the boy, reading, or even watching TV (‘watch the TV, put down the phone’).

The reason for why the previous two changes (1, 2) are hard is mindfulness (lack of) as well. Remembering to slow down – while talking or eating – both require active focus. It would be hard to focus on slowing down when I am too distracted to even fully notice the act of talking or eating (e.g. watching a TV show while eating, or thinking of ‘what are they thinking’ while talking).

Eventually, I hope to turn them both into habits so that I speak and eat slowly even unconsciously. But till I get there, I will need to be focused in the present – be mindful of the act to be able to slow myself down.

Finally, mindfulness may help me get better at not just the tasks that I enjoy (spreadsheets, coding, running), but also the tasks that I don’t (reaching out to people, writing better copy, socialising). Continue reading Tweaks for 2019 – Practice mindfulness

Meditation observations: Reactivity

Today’s meditation session was on observing, noting and not-reacting to distractions.

There were three kinds of stimuli causing distractions – external sounds, body sensations and thoughts.

Chewie made some noise a few times while I was mediating. These sounds were the easiest distraction to recover from.

I felt a bit of a tinge in the lower back, and some funny sensations in fingers. These too were relatively easy and quick to recover from.

There were thoughts. Lots of thoughts, mostly about people and things that I would rather not think about. These were the hardest to recover from. And a few of them recurred during the session.

There was progress made though. By the end of the session, I was able to have longer sustained periods of focus without distractions. I noticed this (does noticing this and feeling happy about it count as a distraction?). And, on this very rare occasion, I wanted the session to go on for longer than it did :) Continue reading Meditation observations: Reactivity

Getting stronger…

It didn’t rain today. Mostly. There were passing showers throughout the day, but nothing stuck around long enough.

Spoke to Ma. It was a long chat, and a generally happy one. It was nice to hear her sound cheerful, after 5+ years of sleep deprivation & tiredness, and a few weeks of crying, loss and loneliness.

We went for a run. I ran 7K on the road – to the cathedral and back up – and then took the boys for a lap on the ridge (~3K). It was better than yesterday’s run – legs felt better, faster. Felt a tiny bit stronger.

Continue reading Getting stronger…

Happy(ier)

10 mins of calm, yesterday.

An easy 10K run in beautiful snow.

A very well behaved Chewie on, and since, the run.

Nibali’s thrilling attack for the win at Milan San Remo.1

Ireland’s domineering win at England, completing the 6 nations grand slam.

Simple things.


  1. I’ll remember this win for a while. It’s one of those things that brings an easy, deep smile. 

Angry

Didn’t work, or workout all day. Started it in happy, high-energy mode, but blew it.

No swimming, pilates or yoga this week. Not much stretching today either.

Need to meditate to get my head at peace. Haven’t. In weeks.


Forgot to take the torch for evening walk. Chewie went barking at some guy walking in the arboretum. By the time I got him under control, Dudley went off to the guy, who was already rattled.

I hate loud noises. Chewie’s bark is really loud. I had to scold him, badly. All bad for my mental peace.

In all the chaos, I also dropped my phone. The screen protector is in bits now, but at least it saved the screen.

Then, my favourite bluetooth headphones stopped working. I couldn’t listen to any podcasts on the walk.

Next, Dudley tore off Chewie’s lighted collar. I saw that, so picked up the collar, but lost a battery. Since I had forgotten the torch, I had to use phone flash light to look for it. Took a bit.

Dudley got a bit of a scolding. I hate scolding. I hate loud voices, including my own. Not good for my mental peace.


I want to get some things done – things to do with work, with new work, with money, with parents, with us, and more. I’m not doing anything.

I’m angry. Just angry. I need to run.

P.S.: I hate the new George O’Malley