Mario Villalobos


The countdown continues: a little over 40 days left until my one year project ends.

One of the few things I started to do when I first began this blog was to meditate every morning. I had been meditating off and on for a few years up to that point, and I’ve racked up some pretty impressive streaks. A couple of hundred days here, another hundred there. So when I knew I wanted to build my new life with a bunch of habits and routines, I knew meditation had to be a part of that. For months and months and months, I woke up every morning, did my daily routines, and I ended it with 15 minutes of meditation. Sometimes I had good days, and sometimes I had bad days, but for the most part, I enjoyed the process of slowing down and trying to quiet my mind for 15 minutes out of the day. So when I stopped meditating last month, I found myself with more time to do less. In fact, I’ve been trying to find all the time in the world so I could do less that I’ve been cutting out habits and routines left and right.

For a while, I felt fine. I can watch TV in the morning again! Oh, how I missed that. I missed drinking a cup of coffee with something to watch. It was one of those old routines that I did so much when I lived with my mom that it reeks of comfort and relaxation. Recently, I tried to sneak in some reading every morning, but that’s been more hit and miss than a solid foundation to rely upon. Sensing the futility of it all, I decided to start meditating again yesterday. One of the new things I learned by reading the New Yorker was about this new app called Headspace. The New Yorker did a profile on the founder, and I found it super interesting because it’s been able to grow to a pretty big user base by word of mouth alone. It offers a subscription service after a free 10 day trial, which I wanted so much to scoff at, but a paid meditation service intrigued me for some reason, so I downloaded the app.

The app sat unused for about two weeks before I finally launched it for real yesterday. The app offers a free 10 day introductory course of 10 sessions of 10 minutes each. So I put on my noise-canceling Bose headphones, sat on my meditation cushion, and opened myself up to be guided by the British founder of Headspace. It didn’t hurt that he had a very soothing voice. The exercise contained nothing new to me. I’ve been a part of real guided meditations before, not to mention all the audio files I’ve downloaded over the years of expert meditation teachers guiding me along with their soothing voices and relaxing sessions. But after finishing the first session, I felt a familiar feeling that I hadn’t felt since quitting last month: that of peace and confidence. I felt confident in my skin like I hadn’t felt in a long time. So I started session two today just to see what that would be like, and this session was even better. It was still only 10 minutes, but there’s something new he does at the end of each session that I’ve never done or learned before, and that’s to let my mind do whatever it wants. So much of meditation is noticing when your mind wanders and having the discipline to focus it back onto your breath. There’s a lot of that in the first 80-90% of the session, but he understands that meditation is an exercise, and exercise depletes willpower. So this little act of letting go helped me feel better and even more confident than before.

And now I’m seriously scared that after I complete the free 10 day trial that I’m going to want to spend the $95 yearly membership fee just to get exclusive content and hundreds of hours of content that is broken up into specific categories, like Focus and Stress and Sleep. Meditation is important to me, and it’s one of those things I’m glad I cut out of my life, if only for it to teach me how much I need it. As I’m slowly reintroducing a lot of these old habits and routines and beginning entirely new ones, I’m learning a lot about myself, and that’s the whole point, isn’t it?