Friday, September 25, 2009

The Joy Diet: Week 1

The first week of The Joy Diet by Martha Beck has come and gone for The Next Chapter Book Club.  This week's menu item to add joy to your life was "nothing".  

Beck writes, "Whether you're doing the program as an overall life enhancement, or using it to face some kind of trauma, I'm almost certain you need nothing--a good strong dose of nothing, and soon.  Okay, enough word play.  What I mean is that the best way to break through any barrier is to access a point of perfect stillness at the center of your being, a self deeper than your senses or your mind."

As someone who constantly lives, works, studies and plays at full speed, I needed to be reminded that we often need to replenish the well.  Through yoga, I have seen the benefits of a meditation practice and what breath work can do for your health and spirit.  I was happy to see that the very first menu item in the book was going to force me onto my meditation cushion.  In fact, for the first few days, I got onto the cushion first thing in the morning.  And it was helpful for clearing mental space and setting an intention, but it wasn't enough.  Once I got a taste of nothing, I wanted more.

It was with that idea in mind that I started setting my alarm clock for an hour and a half earlier than I am used to.  The first day it was nearly impossible to force myself out of bed but I did it.  I went to the gym, I wrote out my morning pages and then....I did nothing.  I sat out on the balcony in the early morning quiet as daylight arrived.  The next day I got into a yin yoga pose on my living room floor and just breathed, treasuring the few minutes of silence before the day began.  15 minutes of nothing became too few and I found myself getting up even earlier just to savor the quiet time.

The combination of exercise, journaling and nothingness led to this week begin one of my most productive in recent weeks.  I can't wait to see what the rest of the book has to offer!

{Photo credit: Darwin Bell}

17 comments:

Melita said...

hooray for nothing. it can be very addictive. i'm so glad you got back on the meditation cushion. :)

sherry ♥ lee said...

I love that your 15 minutes gave you a taste for more and that you put that into practice. I have been doing my 15 in the morning as well and find that it has given renewed energy to my day, to my thinking and to my creativity.

differenceayearmakes said...

I like how meditation, going still, doing nothing, can take so many different forms. If I don't take time for sitting meditation, but I do just relax into hot and bubbly water and clear my mind I've still accomplished the benefits of - well, nothing.

kaileenelise said...

your post is inspiring to me. waking up that much earlier than normal is no small feat! congrats on getting your nothing on. it sounds like you really enjoyed it :)

Karen D said...

That is a great way to fit more nothingness in, getting up a few minutes earlier, I will give that a try!

Pink Heels said...

Congratulations!

It sounds like you mastered the art of doing nothing and subsequently discovered additional, unexpected, benefits.

Kiki said...

Nothing sounds wonderful! But it's no wonder they call it "the fine art of doing nothing."

I'm so glad that doing nothing is becoming a regular part of your day. Be sure to let us know what else you discover in your moments of nothingness!

KnittingJourneyman said...

That is so awesome!
Isn't this a terrific journey so far...I can't wait to see where the next week takes us all. :-)

Lisa said...

Wow! Bravo for diving in as you did! I can't wait to see what you do with truth! :)

gemma said...

I do my morning pages then
do nothing like you.
:-)

becky n said...

The combination of exercise of body and mind before going to nothing sounds perfect. I usually get my morning exercise in first thing, but don't always sit down and do some morning pages - though I know it helps.

Since I've also found I savor the nothing time and want to continue with it, I'll play with this combination and see how it feels.

Helen said...

One of the most cherished periods of my life was the 1 1/2 years where I did something similar to what you are doing. I would do my morning pages and then meditate. That was ten years ago, but the sense memory of that experience has lingered.

Snap said...

I love my balcony, a cup of tea and counting breaths! Here's to NOTHING and Refreshing.

Jennifer Voss said...

"Once I got a taste of nothing, I wanted more." Well said.

yogag33k said...

This is my first time visiting your blog and I have a feeling I'll be back again and again! We sound alot alike!! See you next weeeeek! xoxo

Ellecubed said...

Exercise, Journalling and nothing are a lovely combo. I began my morning with those three things yesterday and I could not believe the wonderful path it set the rest of my day on.

I am happy you are finding nothing to have such a positive impact. As Melita says, it really is quite addictive the more you do it.

Carolyn said...

Amazing! I am SO impressed that you set your alarm for an hour and a half earlier... and actually got up!