When the plan meets reality

At the beginning of February, I posted on Facebook: “Last week was so bad that I didn’t read the comics all week. From now on I’m reading the funnies first every day, and maybe that’s as far as I get.”  What’s surprised me is how difficult it’s been to keep up with this practice. I read the funnies on www.gocomics.com. When I do read the funnies before anything else, I begin the day with at least one good laugh and lots of smiles.  But if I make the mistake of checking Facebook or, worse, one of the “fake” news sites like CNN, NY Times, or Washington Post I get so involved that I sometimes forget the comics.

Earlier I posted here that I wasn’t making new year’s resolutions for 2017, just plans.  One of those plans was to spend inauguration day, January 20, as a day of contemplation.  Fasting after noon went more easily than expected.  Not using any electronic media turned out to be the most challenging, but most rewarding, practice that day.  I will admit that as a parent I could not shut my phone off, but aside from taking a call from Anne Mei, I didn’t use the phone.  I didn’t read or send email, didn’t look at Facebook. or listen to podcasts.  It was great..

I didn’t spend time meditating on January 20, as I thought I might, but just eliminating all the electronic distractions helped me pay more attention to and enjoy each moment.  My plan for 2017 did involve more meditating and I have followed through on that.  On Monday evenings I’ve been attending the Princeton Insight Meditation group.  On the first and third Fridays I attend the meditation meet-up at the Mahamevnawa Monastery, where I also tutor ESL.  I haven’t told either group, but for the most part I practice daoist methods, which I learned in years of taiji.  Speaking of which, I’ve continued with my Wednesday taiji class and have started another one on Saturday mornings.  For me taiji is moving meditation.

The test of how well these activities are helping me will be when I’m sitting in the passenger seat while Anne Mei drives down the interstate.  That’s when the plan encounters reality.


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