Yesterday was the final day of The Experiment where my 10-year-old daughter assigns me tasks I must complete.
First off, here's how yesterday's tasks went:
Meditation went fine. It's been awhile, so my "monkey mind" was chattering quite a bit, as expected. It felt great to sit with the rain and wind swirling around the house. The period at the beginning of yoga class was another opportunity to focus on my breath, so I took advantage of that, too. I marvel at how I can tune out the high-rise construction noise across the street from the yoga studio - and do so for fairly long stretches. And when I do hear the workers, I simply pretend they are elves pounding chocolate chips into giant cookies.
And yes, I walked the full neighborhood loop. Our polling place is on the loop, so we walked in the rain to go cast our vote, and then completed the loop afterwards. The air was wet and fairly warm, and it rained lightly during the entire walk. The part I liked was coming back home after a wet walk - that stretch of time when you warm up and dry off, and the house feels cozier than usual.
That wraps up the last day of The Experiment. So now what?
Even though I don't have one of Rebecca's task sheets with her amazing illustrations to follow today, I still feel like I have a duty to carry on in the spirit of The Experiment. And I think I'm off to a good start:
After dropping Rebecca off at school, I decided to take a short stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway back home, since there is already some Fall color on what is called "the commuter stretch" of the Parkway. The road changed moods at every twist as it road snaked in and out of the fog. The first rays of sun pushed through the mist, making for some amazing light. I kept planning to turn around, but the drive kept getting better.
I regretted not having my camera, but I told myself that this was a morning I needed to drink everything in with my senses, and not let a mechanical apparatus interfere with that process. (The photos below are not from today's excursion.)
A few thoughts from my inner gremlin popped up, like "you should be at work", but I made deep exhalations to push them out of me. I instead told myself that this was exactly where I should be, and exactly what I should be doing in that moment: slowing down and savoring a quiet morning surrounded by nature. I don't know what, if anything, experiencing moments like this one will inspire in me later on, but I trust that this is the path I must take to rediscover inspiration. I need to remember to carve out many more such moments in my life that allow me to shed negative thoughts and immerse myself in the magic this planet has to offer.
In recent posts, I've posed the question of whether or not I can detect a shift in myself as a result of The Experiment. One friend suggested that maybe the shift will come in my relationship with Rebecca - and I think he's right in that The Experiment has brought us closer together.
I asked Rebecca what she thinks should come next now that The Experiment has concluded. She mentioned that she was planning to observe me for the next five days and if she notices me slipping back into old habits, or getting grumpy and stressed out, that she may assign more tasks.
However, at Beth's suggestion, Rebecca is planning to assemble a set of tasks in the form of a deck of cards, so that I can shuffle and pick one when needed. I think this is a great idea! Perhaps a set of cards with a companion book is in order, so that other people can use this technique? Who knows?
The one thing I do know is: this doesn't feel like an ending. It feels more like a beginning.
Thanks to everyone who has been reading the blog, offering words of encouragement. Rebecca and I were both touched to learn that a few of you actually followed along working on the tasks, so we send our special thanks to you!