February LIFE Project
I am 10 months into my LIFE Project journey. I’ve catalogued hundreds of thousands of steps, spent over 300 hours meditating, I’ve written over 100,000 words in my journal. I have two months to go, and what a journey it’s been!
Before jumping into my activities for this month, let me share about last month.
Y’all, I got a new phone that transferred all my data from the old one. (Yay!) The bad news is that the data from my smartwatch app didn’t transfer correctly. Basically the information did come to the new phone, but I didn’t “unlink” my smartwatch from my old phone (because, well, I didn’t think of that when transferring everything else) and my old phone was gone before I knew about that. That meant that I had to reinstall the smartwatch app on the new phone (to break the link to the old phone) and you can imagine…all the data from the year went out the window. (Boo.)
At first I was bummed, but then I thought you know, I have photos of each month of the journey and a photo of last month’s journey before I had to reinstall the app. I’m working on the whole “let that stuff go” thing.
I can say I only missed two days (even though it looks like I missed half the month – ack!) due to work and just plain not getting all the steps I needed before bed. The other days where I didn’t get 10,000 steps were when I went skiing (twice!) and worked out in other ways.
At least I use the native app on my phone to record all those mindful minutes. I have not missed a single day of meditation (even though I occasionally forget to set the timer) since my month of sacred travel in July. Though in October and December I cut back on my formal meditation time, I would still “sit” for an hour, and do other meditative activities, such as journaling or writing poetry.
But, in January, I went back up to 60 minutes. My mind and body were calling for it and it feels amazing to meditate for this length of time. It’s what my mind needs. I am an overthinker, and if you read last week’s post, then you’ll know that meditation also helps me as an empath.
Mantras and Affirmations
I continue reciting my Sanskrit mantra using mala beads. Every day I also read over and repeat the affirmations I wrote at the beginning of this project.
There are some days I write in my Intention journal, but there are other days when I know my brain needs to “unload,” so I write stream-of-consciousness style in my “Brain Splatter” journal. However, I write every single day. I love looking at the word counts to see how far I’ve come.
I’m starting to think that one of these days, I should run a “spiritually creative” retreat that involves journal writing, meditation, mandala-making and poetry writing. After I get certified in teaching meditation. Just saying. 🙂
I intended to read two books, but I only ended up reading “The Art of Memoir” by Mary Karr. It was a good read, and gave me a lot of food for thought about approaching my memoir. The other one just didn’t capture my attention.
In reading Karr’s book, there were some themes that made me cringe: like interviewing family members that you’d write about to make sure they’re satisfied with what you wrote so that you don’t get sued later. Not that I want to write about someone and slander them – or have them misinterpret what I wrote – but…some folks are best left not interviewed, you know?
And so I return to the perpetual question that goes on in my head: either fictionalize what I’d like to write, or pick a different topic. Which brings me back to fiction. I love it. In pure self-retrospection, perhaps I’ll take a class sometime to get over the idea that I feel like I can’t write a good fiction story.
I realize that’s not very “positive” of me. I look at it this way: more great stuff to learn!
In full disclosure, I did not do this every day. Most days I spent about five minutes just staring off into space. There were a couple days where I did this for an hour. There were also days I didn’t do “nothing” at all. Ha!
Overall, I honestly loved what my mind would do during these “moments of nothingness” – I’d let it wander, and sometimes I’d end up in a long daydream. Other times I would get a creative idea. And other times, I was just grateful for the rest that I could give my body.
On the days where I didn’t do this, I didn’t worry that much: I still had my “down time” with meditation. Still, I can see the value in doing nothing and I want to incorporate this into my life more.
The Month of Love
For this last month, I originally had intended on doing some big things: organizing a “love” drive to procure donated goods or cards to send to someone in need of these things, send out cards on love, create artwork on love, perform intentional acts of love, and love on my significant other.
Here’s another moment of disclosure: while I put forth a lot of intentions for this project, I knew that while I would strive to get to everything, there would be times when I wouldn’t. Remember how I had intended to do the walking marathon? I still intend to, but I knew that to save my sanity, I had to wait until some point after this project was done.
I’m a little burned out on my big-little project. But, eh, I’ve been at all these “tall tasks” for nearly a year. I know that after this project is finished, I’ll continue the “core” part of this project indefinitely: meditation, journaling, exercise, mantras and affirmations. But I think I’ll lay off the personal challenges for awhile and focus more on this website and creating things here.
To that end, I am looking at this month of love before me and while I don’t want to shirk the intentions I set, I also know that I cannot do everything I had intended. That’s the neat thing about intentions: the intention can be there, but it’s okay to shift.
I had been thinking about how to pull this off. I thought about collecting money in exchange for one of my mandalas to fund a project at the school where I do their marketing. I was thinking that I would raise money to provide a bus driver for students who have a hard time getting to school and whom are there on scholarship.
But I’m not so sure I have the energy to pull that off in addition to working on everything here, working about 30 hours a week, and being present for the other activities in my life.
I would like to do this, but for the moment, I think I need to hold off.
Sending Out Cards On Love
In my mind, I had thought that I would randomly send out cards to people spreading love when I created the project last year. But who to mail these to? Random people in the White Pages?
So, I thought of another idea. What if I create 28 (for the number of days in February) little cards with a loving message on them and leave them on people’s cars, on their desk, etc. They can be for family, friends, coworkers, and more.
I can either create them in the morning, and write one of my haikus on them, or think of some other message of love. Honestly, I get a thrill thinking about leaving these strewn about randomly – on people’s doorsteps, in mailboxes and folks having no idea who did it.
So that’s what I’m going to do. I figure I’ll just create them after I’ve created my daily haiku.
One challenge here: to walk up to a stranger, smile, and give them one of these cards. I’ll have to report back on how that goes.
I’ve already created 4 of them.
Create Artwork on Love
At the time I started this project, the mere thought of a YouTube channel did exist in my mind, but I didn’t know what that looked like.
Now, as the channel has evolved, I’m creating mandalas each week. I’ll still create other things here and there, but I personally love how meditative they are to create, and also to watch.
To that end, I’m going to consider this new challenge of creating weekly mandalas part of the idea of creating artwork on love. Did I mention that I intend to send these beautiful creations to people on my email list?
Here’s the most recent mandala I’ve created:
Perform Intentional Acts of Love
In fulfilling this intention, I just want to remember to be mindful of sending loving thoughts to everyone I meet – even if that person is someone I don’t always see eye to eye with. Humans in general flourish with an abundance of love.
In addition, the cards I’m creating and sharing are part of this intention.
Love on my Significant Other
He might be reading this, so I don’t want to give too much away. Let’s just say that I intend to have him feel appreciated for all the loving things he does for and with me.
We are a team, he and I. I intend to make sure he knows this.
Book of the Month
The Art and Practice of Loving by Frank Andrews, PhD (this is not an affiliate link – just a helpful one should you be interested in this book as well).
This is a guidebook for loving and bringing more of it to others. I found this book a couple years ago and haven’t read it yet. I was strolling along at a little bookstore on Edisto Island in South Carolina. It was originally written in 1991.
It includes exercises to help the spiritual journey, to bring more love into our lives, and even meditations.
The Core Part of the LIFE Project
To be sure, I am continuing with the core part of the project: 60 minutes of meditation, mantras, journaling, steps, affirmations. These things have become such a routine part of my life that I already know that even after this project is long over, I will continue to do these things – maybe not every single one of them every day, but often.