Post detailing my thoughts of the experience of unexpectedly returning to a service that helped my personal growth, not an advertisement or promotion for Headspace. approx. 3 min read
With pressing urgency, I feel compelled to attempt to transcribe a feeling, fleeting yet insistent. A few days ago, a friend offered a well-meaning gift, a subscription to Headspace. Inexplicably I felt dread, of all things, mixed with gratitude for the gift. I had to think. Over the years, this friend and their spouse have worked with me on improving communication, specifically expectations. Troubled, I had to ask myself, was this some Covert Contract that they were offering? No, they have made a lot of progress about stating intent. What did I miss? Rereading the text, they had presented it because it was a family plan, and the price was the same whether 2 or 4 used it or not. Okay, the most straightforward answer win’s again; and, proof that this year has been more than mentally taxing for me and a return to guided meditation should be would be a pleasant return.
( Covert contracts occur when you have a plan in your head, some trade, but it is never explicitly stated, so when it comes time for “payment” and it falls through, you feel cheated, but the other person is oblivious.)
But, where was that unease coming from. Clicking the invite link and downloading the app again had a rush of nostalgia. Hours of use from 2014-16, 2018 all tracked in the app. A quick text from my friend something about ‘visualizing their thoughts like cars in traffic’ brought me out of my revelry, thinking, “huh that’s a nice touch, I remember that, but it doesn’t have the same vibe as monkey-mind.”
The errant thought also brought me back to a question I didn’t know the answer to; do I start back with the Basic 10? Before clicking on it, I could already recall the lilting British accent of Andy’s opening words. I remembered; hundreds of minutes of gentle reminders crashed into my psyche. I didn’t even choose a thing to click play on yet, but a voice from my memory rang out that this wasn’t my mediation practice. My daily routine is very movement-oriented while training or running. A fearful illogical question came, “Why did I say yes to a service I’ve outgrown?”
By no means am I remotely suggesting a person can say, “Done! The hyperactive spaz has become the sage of the easily gamified version of meditation you carry on your phone.”
Only the real answer for my seed of dread finally did make it to the front of my mind. The thought: I could have done more. Despite all of my years of training and growth, looking at this screen led me to compare who I am to some magical version of myself that committed more to the process. That version wouldn’t be such a roil of strong emotions and thought, tempered by a disciplined yoga and meditation practice, a very unfair thought to have. But, the just as sudden realization I could interrupt my unproductive-thought with objective statements—a hard-won skill gained from the years competing in sports, martial arts, and torrenting meditation books. Before, I eventually could accept meditation was something I could do to slow down my thoughts.
In all of these words, my hope was to explain this restless feeling I get when revisiting something that has become so practiced it left me wondering what lessons will be returning to a template provide?
How do I use a tool (my phone) I’ve spent a concerted effort to use less in my daily life? So much of my daily life has mindful check-ins to map my body and become aware when I am holding tension while working. But, here’s to leaning into the cringe and returning to a tool that I have recommended to so many friends, family, and strangers I’d think I was getting paid for referrals. But, my only compensation is feeling more connected to friends who once wouldn’t take seriously a suggestion to take ten deep breaths, who are the ones nudging me to use the app.
Here’s to taking it 10 minutes at a time.