At the end of 2019, a friend suggested that I try to create some kind of holistic wellness program connected to New Year’s resolutions as a way of trying to share my passion.New Year’s is always a good period for people to try new things so I thought he might be right.With only a few weeks to create something, I rushed to come up with an idea for what I’d share and how I’d execute it. I had ideas like getting a temporary space for 30 days and sharing a different wellness practice each day. Or the same thing but simply with a different meditation teacher. Or an email with an interesting mindfulness lesson from different teachers. And various other ideas.
For an audio experience of this post + meditation at the end.
Then a day or two later a new idea popped into my head: how about I create a weekly fictional story series which would be told over the course of the year. I’d share this story in pieces and include a meditation at the end. Because meditation is a hard skill to sustain, I could use the story to keep people coming back. The idea seemed interesting and different. I hadn’t heard of anyone trying that before. I got excited. Without too much additional thought my “execute” brain turned on. As a former tech entrepreneur, my attention went first to determine how to build and design the website, plus do the marketing. With the short timeframe to get everything done, I knew I didn’t have time to waste, especially during the madness of the holidays. That is where everything began falling apart.
From the start MeditateYear had challenges. My initial design for the site was far too ambitious and at the same time lacked a clear design. Not a good combination! I had some basic things I wanted the site to include but how we’d execute it or what the design would be like wasn’t certain. That said, my friend and I dove into building something.
After a week or so of post-work website building sessions, my buddy felt he needed to focus on stuff at his real job and couldn’t help much further. With the site still a mess, I ended up needing to step up by myself and create it quickly. Considering my minimal development and design background, it was a struggle but I ended up constructing a solid site I felt proud of.
Unfortunately, this effort considerably distracted me from focusing on the marketing and the final weekly product to be sent out. While I manage to do both, I wouldn’t call either a great success. When I closed my computer at 11:45 pm of the Saturday evening before the first chapter of MeditateYear came out, I knew I was capable of creating something far better. But I was too exhausted after sprinting for a month. I was going to bed at 3 or 4 AM each night and getting back up between 8 and 9 AM, only breaking to meditate and eat. I just didn’t have the energy or the time to make the first episode to the level I had imagined.
People often connect meditation to not reacting to their emotions. This is a misunderstood concept. Meditation isn’t about not reacting to our emotions; it is about being mindful and truly thoughtful about our actions.
On Sunday, after the first week’s email went out I woke up super down. I hadn’t felt this bad since I had started to seriously meditate. This should give you an indication of how important MeditateYear is to me and how much I wanted to share something great with others. I didn’t know what to do. I even considered scrapping the project. I didn’t want to keep putting out average work which would take 5–6 days per week to complete. No way. I decided I wasn’t going to touch the project for a day or so. I decided to relax, meditate and try to enjoy life for a little and see if something would come out at the end of it. Stepping away from my work usually brings clarity to me.So that brings us to today. People often connect meditation to not reacting to their emotions. This is a misunderstood concept. Meditation isn’t about not reacting to our emotions; it is about being mindful and truly thoughtful about our actions. MeditateYear has taught me many lessons, but one of the largest lessons it taught me was to be mindful of my excitement. While society celebrates excitement unlike feelings like anxiety or stress, being too excited can potentially cause its own set of issues as well, as it did in this project. It caused me to be blind to thoughtfully considering what I was building. I clearly forgot Buddha’s warnings about getting too excited!
After a couple of days away from MeditateYear and talking with friends, I slowly started thinking about the project again. I remembered why I wanted to do it in the first place. Because I love meditation and the positive transformation it brought into my life. I wanted to share this skill with anyone interested in the hopes of helping them find the peace I found and to deepen my own meditation practice. This hadn’t changed. The whole story idea, marketing, website, etc. were all extra stuff. While MeditateYear didn’t have millions of subscribers, the folks who signed up clearly were interested in learning to meditate. So let me try to share what I know. Even if a few benefit it would be worth it.
As we live, we are constantly reacting (or not reacting) to the things happening around us. How we react defines the life we live.
So MeditateYear lives on! I made the program easier to manage while still of quality. I believe this is a more thoughtful approach in all ways. Let’s see where things go.
As we live, we are constantly reacting (or not reacting) to the things happening around us. How we react defines the life we live. So whether we react with excitement, sadness or anything in between it’s important that we are mindful of our reaction. Otherwise we might find ourselves in situations we aren’t happy about.
PS. One last important take away. While the project execution was flawed in some ways, my ability to construct and design the MeditateYear website, do the marketing, write a fictional script, edit the audio, add appropriate sound and more all in 30 days during the holidays by myself is a testament to meditation 110%. I would have never been able to do all of that on my own last year. Let this be my endorsement for meditation!