Personal Mantra Chanting: Day 2

So, I’m experimenting with using a personal mantra in various contexts. The aim is to disrupt the rather snippy person I’ve become lately and be more relaxed, open, confident, and compassionate.

Day 2 found me busily grading one exam while writing a second one. Answering questions as usual . Figuring out how to manage students who missing classes, assignments, and tests because they are ill with the usual variety of viruses plus those who are isolation because of the big one. Oh … and don’t forget Spring sports. A bigger batch of special cases that need to be handled consistently but kindly.

Truth is that none of this is all that hard, although it does mean that I need to make a lot of unexpected decisions and record them while trying to adjudicate fairly and speak compassionately. We’re all stressed for various reasons right now, however, and my temper flares more quickly than I would like. Which is what lead me to try something new in the realm of meditation.

And today, I used the personal mantra when I started to find myself frazzled and snappish, using it as a way to interrupt negative thoughts and self talk. I decided to try this based on work by Jack Canfield (2022) and his practice of stopping negative thoughts with a phrase. In his seminars, he advises people to stop and tell themselves “Cancel, cancel” when they find themselves engaging in negative self talk or thoughts. I decided to try my mantra (“Head up, heart open”) instead.

And I was pleased that, no surprise, it works quite well. Not only does it stop the downward spiral, but it reminds me of my aspirations and goals as a knight. I didn’t get a long meditation session in, but the brief reminders seem to have helped overall. And a good workout at CrossFit worked out the rest of the day’s tensions. I am not sure that I’ll keep the long form of chanting as a daily practice, but the short positive interruption is a new tool in the collection for sure.

References and Resources

Canfield, Jack. (2022) Negative Self-Talk: 5 Ways to Stop Negative Self-Talk Once and For All. Retrieved from: https://www.jackcanfield.com/blog/negative-self-talk/

Self-Discipline

At the beginning of the year, it is customary for us to sit down and create New Year’s Resolutions, even as we know that most people will have abandoned them before February 1st. In fact, a study from 2019 suggests that most Americans won’t last beyond January 19th … that’s only 10 days away!!!

Since, as Jedi and knights, we are often on a path of self-improvement, how do we beat the odds and maintain our momentum during the coming year?

As noted in the linked article, one of the most important factors is to make the resolution a specific, measurable goal. Rather than resolving to “meditate more”, be specific and frame the resolution as a goal such as “meditate for 20 minutes 5 times per week”. I would further add that intermediate milestones also help in keeping the big picture in mind while making smaller, achievable goals that are more easily reachable.

There are many good ideas in the article, and I would like to add to their suggestion that you engineer your environment to help you … enlist one or more people to join you in pursuing the goal and helping you remain accountable. While the Jedi community has not always been the most supportive group or safe space in which to admit your growth areas, see if there are people who you can trust to walk the path with you. Or check out a group such as Nerd Fitness, where you can always find supportive, friendly folks who are embracing changes as well as various fandoms in short, time-boxed challenges.

Finally, I encourage you to read this article On Self Discipline by Morken, from 2000. The advice doesn’t change much. And we know what to do. The challenge is … to do it!!

Make this a great year!!