New Year’s Resolutions for 2022

Before I note down my resolutions for this year, let’s have a look at the ones I made last year and how I did with them:

  1. Keep up journaling and blogging. Do at least one post per month, starting in January.
    I met this goal with 106 posts in 2021, but I’m not too happy about it, because in 2020 I managed 166 posts.
  2. Deepen meditation practice: meditate once a day or do yoga. Restart my course and try to stick it out to the end.
    I had a long slump between August and November when I didn’t meditate at all except for a very few times. I restarted my online course but didn’t stick it until the end, either. Since I did meditate regularly for 8 months out of the year it wasn’t a total loss, but I certainly didn’t do what I meant to do. I also did hardly any yoga. I’m afraid this one must count as a fail.
  3. Set reading goals.
    I’ve written about those. I didn’t meet all the goals I set, but most of them. I did OK.
  4. Learn 2 poems off by heart this year.
    I did learn two poems off by heart, both by Emily Dickinson: 712 Because I could not stop for Death – and 754 My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun –. The goal is met, but not exactly overachieved.
  5. Stop procrastinating about financial things: that is, pay bills when they come in and don’t wait until the last minute.
    This goal was absolutely not met. I felt that last year I procrastinated about everything. It was dreadful. Things kept preying on my mind, but I still didn’t do them until the last minute or later. Paying bills was the least of it. Corona had nothing to do with this either. I’ve been struggling with this forever.

2022_01_16

I’m not particularly happy about how I did on last year’s resolutions. I only met three out of five goals and even the ones I did achieve feel kind of boring and average. I set low goals to entice me to overachieve them, but did I do so? Obviously not. Still, the year has passed, it’s time for new resolutions and new chances for change.

Most of the resolutions I made last year were about things that I really care about: blogging, meditating, reading, poetry. The other one was about my bugbear, procrastination. Therefore, my new resolutions are going to be very similar. I can be quite stubborn. Anyway, here they are:

  1. Keep up journaling and blogging. Do at least 10 posts per months, starting in January.
    I’m upping in challenge factor with this resolution. I want to see if a more difficult goal will incite me to higher achievement. Maybe it will backfire, but who knows, maybe not.
  2. Keep up my meditation practice. Restart my online course yet again and stick with it until the end. In particular, do at least 25 minutes of meditation on Mondays to Thursdays and 45 minutes on Fridays to Sundays.
    I have less time on workdays and therefore want to set a shorter time for those days. But meditating for longer periods is beneficial and therefore I want to make sure that I do it on the weekends. One day I would like to go on a meditation retreat where one meditates for hours at a time and I guess I need to work up to it.
  3. Start yoga again. Do at least 3 sessions per week starting in February.The problem with yoga is that I have to find a good time to do it in. It’s pretty difficult on workdays, because I already spend at least 1,5 hours every day walking with Curious Dog, so it’s hard to find the time for yoga. Maybe I’ll only do it on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. This is really going to be difficult because of the time restraints.
  4. Learn four poems off by heart, one per quarter. If I managed two poems in 2021, four should be doable in 2022.
    The thing about this goal is that I don’t want to forget the three poems I already learnt, so I have to keep repeating them, too.
  5. Stop procrastinating about paying bills (and try not to procrastinate about other things).
    Procrastination is the bane of my life. I manage to keep it in check at work through painstaking planning and organization, but somehow, I don’t manage it in my private life. Mostly, it has to be said, because of my love of reading. I know I should do something, but then I think to myself “Just one more chapter…”. Hours later, I decide to postpone whatever it was to the next day and the next day – same old thing again. I need to find a better balance. Maybe if I check up on this resolution regularly once a month I’ll do better.
  6. Set reading goals.
    I’ve already posted my reading goals.
  7. Have a quick look at my resolutions at the end of each month, to see how things are going.
    Last year I never checked on my resolutions. Maybe tracking them will help with doing them.

Making resolutions is fun. The newness of them (even if they are almost the same as last year’s) is exciting and I feel energized to get going. Here’s to hoping that I keep the momentum throughout the year.

Keep safe, world.

2022 Reading Goals

I’ve been looking at a lot of blogs and YouTube videos about peoples’ reading goals for 2022. They’ve been very thought-provoking. Some people have really elaborate goals while others have more general one. Or people don’t want any goals at all, as they feel constricted by them. At first, I came up with some very detailed and specific goals, but then I decided that I didn’t want my every reading moment driven by some kind of goal. I like goals, because I like the feeling of accomplishment when I’ve met them, but I dislike goals when I feel that they don’t leave enough space for spontaneity in my reading. Striving for a reasonable balance, I came up with this list:

  1. Read the Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio.
    This is this year’s buddy read with my friend. This will be easy – the book is divided into a frame narrative about ten people that fled to a country house from the plague in Florence (in 1348). There’s ten days in which each character tells a story, so 100 stories altogether. The stories are quite short, and we’ll be reading one of the days per months. We’ll be finished in October at that rate. I’ve already started (almost done with the “First Day” and it’s great fun. 
  2. Read Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
    I’ve been wanting to read this amazing tome in six volumes since I first heard of it during my studies at university. It was published between 1776 and 1789 and covers the period between 98 and 1590. It was an great scholarly achievement at it’s time of publication and is supposed to be very well written – so far I’ve read the first two chapters of the first volume and I’m enjoying it. The prose is clear and lucid, not at all convoluted or obscure. I’m taking it slowly and have planned to devote two months to each volume (but if I feel like reading faster, I will).
  3. Continue with last year’s focus on Louise Erdrich and read at least the four books of her Love Medicine series that I didn’t get around to in 2021.
    Kind of self-explanatory. Maybe I’ll even get around to some of her other novels.
  4. Do a focus year on Virginia Woolf and read at least four of her works.
    Some years ago, I had a Virginia Woolf phase and got a few of her works. I still have some unread books from when that phase petered out that I want to read. I haven’t decided which of her works I am going to read, but I’ve started with a selection from her diaries.
  5. Finish J.K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike and Deborah Crombie’s Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James series.
    I had so much fun last year catching up with Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series that I want to get up-to-date with a couple of other series (also, reading crime novels and series is easy and relaxing for me). I’ve read the first two books of Rowling’s series last year and will just continue with the next three. I own 14 out of 18 of Crombie’s series, which used to be one of my favourite series (and still is) but I’m not sure if I’ve read all of them. Maybe I didn’t read the last two or so, I can’t remember. In any case, I will start at the beginning and work my way up.
  6. Read at least one book per month that I own but haven’t read yet.
    Some of the books listed in the other goals count for this one – two goals for one.
  7. Don’t buy any new books in 2022 either as hardcopy or ebook, unless I read the new book immediately.
    I don’t want to end up with more unread books in my personal library, but I also don’t want to do a no-book-buy year because I probably wouldn’t be able to stick with it. But this seems doable. I just have to make sure not to get seduced by cheap Kindle books.

2022_01_13

Those goals make up 48 books (or less, if the sixth goal is partly covered by the other goals). Last year I read 119 books and if that’s about the amount I’ll manage this year, that means more than half of my potential reads can be spontaneously decided upon. I want to make sure that these reads will be diverse in subject matter, genre and authors. I want to continue reading poetry and short stories, so I will keep an eye on what I’m reading apart from my explicit goals.

I want to keep track of my goals more regularly than I did last year and plan to check on my progress when I write my monthly reading reports.

That’s it for my reading goals. Now I have to check how I did on my general goals last year and what I want to do for those this year (if anything).

Keep safe, world.

2021 Bookish Goals: How I Did

It’s time to check how I did on the 7 bookish goals that I set myself for 2021.

2020_04_15

 

  1. Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
    This was my buddy read of the year. I finished it in December and still plan to write a review. It was strange and amazing.
  2. Louise Erdrich
    My focus author of the year. I meant to have read all eight books of her Love Medicine series, but I only managed the first four. So, I only met half of this goals. The novels were great, I’m going to continue reading the series this year. Eventually, I want to have read all of Erdrich’s books.
  3. Read a poem a day
    I met this goal for the second year in a row and I’m also planning to have it again for this year.
  4. Read a short story a day
    I pretty much failed at this goal, mostly because I tried to read The Arabian Night’s Entertainments for this goal and got bogged down. A lot of the tales are more like novellas than short stories and that derailed my reading one story each night in bed, because they were too long to finish. I stopped reading stories at night entirely for a while. I’m not sure yet if I will continue with this goal this year.
  5. Read six unread books from my shelves or my Kindle
    I read eight unread books that I owned before 2021. Well, I got the goal, but I was hoping to have read more of my old unread books. I really want to try and do better at this in 2022.
  6. Read six books in translation or from countries other than the US or the UK
    I met this goal, too, but I had kind of hoped to have done better – I like setting easy goals and then surpassing them but it didn’t work out mostly because I wasn’t paying attention.
  7. Read six non-fiction books
    Counting books that I classified as non-fiction, autobiography, biography, or memoir, I read 21 of those. I got the goal done, but still think it’s not very much considering that I read 119 books in all. Only ca. 18% of my reading was non-fiction.

All in all, I’m quite surprised that I managed to succeed at 5.5 out of 7 goals especially since I basically forgot about goals 5, 6 and 7 – I really need to check up on my goals throughout the year. Maybe I’ll do a goal check-up once a quarter this year, to keep better track of how I’m doing.
Here are some more of my reading stats for 2021:

No. of Books ReadGenre / TypeNo. of Pages
6Short story collections (two where sci-fi)2686
1Autobiography343
3Biographies1417
20Children’s literature (all genres, mostly fantasy)5083
32Crime11196
1Folk tale collection936
26Literature (includes contemporary and classic lit)10469
6Memoirs1189
11Non-fiction4793
8Poetry collections3371
5Sci-fi1162
Total: 119Total: 42645

I read about 30 more books this year than last year, but page wise it was only about 4800 more. Lots of the children’s literature books where quite short. I believe I don’t have that much time to read more (what with work and other life things) and sometimes I think it would be better to read less, but with more focus. I only had 18 rereads, which is a pity, because I like re-reading. Only 4 books were German, the rest English (I prefer reading in English). I enjoyed my reading year and that’s the important part. Looking at the stats is fun, but it’s not the essential aim of reading.

Of all the books I read this year, I loved best Klara and the Sun. Really, I liked almost all of the books I read. Usually, the only books I don’t like in a typical year are ones that I have to read for my book club. Some of the book club members have a very different taste in books than I do. But then, pretty often the others don’t like my selection, so it evens out. We all end up having to read books we don’t like, but we also end up getting surprised with ones we do like.

I also managed to catch up on all the books of the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie R. King, which I thought was one of my original goals but seems to have been something I came up with later in the year. This was great and am planning on catching up on at least one other series this year (haven’t decided on which one, yet). I didn’t manage to catch up on J.K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike series.

I’m not quite sure which goals I’m going to decide on for this year, but I’ve got some ideas and will probably be posting them later this week.

Keep safe, world.

2021 Bookish Goals

I had fun coming up with this year’s reading goals:

  1. Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
    This year’s buddy read with a friend. We’ll be reading it from January to October, 112 pages per month. It’s a Japanese classic from the 11th century, one of the oldest novels of the world. I’ve got a gorgeous Penguin Classic Deluxe edition, translated by Royall Tyler, with illustrations and footnotes. I’m really looking forward to starting it.
  2. Louise Erdrich as my focus author for this year.
    Last year I focused on Toni Morrison and Charles Dickens and read a novel by each author each month as a kind of challenge. I managed to keep to it, but it was a near thing. So, this year I’m only focusing on one author and won’t attempt to read all her novels. I commit to reading the Love Medicine series:

    1. Love Medicine (1984)
    2. The Beet Queen (1986)
    3. Tracks (1988)
    4. The Bingo Palace (1994)
    5. Tales of Burning Love (1997)
    6. The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse (2001)
    7. Four Souls (2004)
    8. The Painted Drum (2005)
  3. Read a poem a day.
    I started this last year and loved it, so I’m continuing. It’s an easy goal, I read my daily poem each morning in bed.
  4. Read a short story a day.
    Also started this last year and loved it, so here I go again. It’s also fairly easy, I usually read the short story at night in bed.
  5. Read six unread books from my shelves or my Kindle.
    Self-explanatory. I failed at this goal last year, so hopefully it’ll go better this time round.
  6. Read six books in translation or from countries other than the US or the UK.
    Most of the books I read last year were written by American or British authors (at least that’s my impression, I didn’t count them). I’m also interested in reading works from other cultures.
  7. Read six non-fiction books.
    I read a lot more than six non-fiction books in 2020, but I’m keeping the goals low, so as not to turn reading into a chore.

Genji

As you can see, I kept some of the goals from last year, and modified others. Reading all the novels of Toni Morrison and Charles Dickens (except one) in one year started feeling like a straitjacket sometime around July. The Morrison novels not so much, but Dicken’s novels are mostly huge and took up a lot of reading time. Basically each month I considered dropping the goal. Except then I started the novel of the month and liked it, so I made the goal after all. But I felt constrained in my free selection of reading material and I don’t want to do that again. That’s why this year I’m only focusing on one author and I’m not aiming to read all her novels. I liked the experience of reading all of an author’s work, because it made me see patterns and recurring themes in their work which was interesting.

I also want to try to get an overview of all my unread books. I had quite a lot of years after I started working when I stopped reading a lot, but still bought books. There’s also a lot of books on my Kindle that I haven’t read yet. I hope to make a list of all my unread books this year and read some of them. I was a bookworm as a teenager, with limited pocket-money that I mostly spent on books and couldn’t imagine owning books that I hadn’t read. I bought books and read them. I borrowed books from the library and read them. Once I started work, I had more money to spend but less time or inclination to read, so books started accumulating (sometimes after work one is just knackered and can only manage to hang out in front of the TV). There are also a lot of series that I started and still want to finish. A few sci-fi and fantasy ones, but also some crime series. I used to read a lot of crime novels, but last year I only read two. This year, with less ambitious goals, I hope to have time for catching up.

I also got rid of reading graphic novels as a goal. I liked the graphic novels I read last year, but quite often I just don’t feel like graphic novels. I’m only going to read graphic novels this year if I’m so inclined. We’ll see how that goes.

I’m planning on choosing some of my books for goal 6 from the ones selected by the Goodreads group “Read Around the World Book Club” and I’m thinking of choosing some of my non-fiction from the “Booknaturalists” on Instagram. But I’m not committing to reading all these selections. That would start seeming like homework again.

I’m looking forward to the reading year.

Keep safe, world.

2020 Bookish Goals: How I Did

These were my reading goals in 2020:

  1. Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
    This was a buddy-read with a friend. We spaced it out over the year, from January until December. It was a success and we enjoyed both the reading and our discussions.
  2. Robert Burton: The Anatomy of Melancholy
    A fail. I did not finish the book (but I did quite like what I read, which was the Introduction, the first 125 pages). I will try this one again at some point in future. Somehow, I convinced myself that this wasn’t a real goal – I should have checked my goals throughout the year to avoid misinterpreting my goals. I didn’t set this down as an “unreal” goal. But I don’t know if I would have done better if I’d remembered the goal correctly. It wasn’t the right time for this book at this point of my life.
  3. Participate in the Toni Morrison challenge on Book Tube, which is basically reading all of Morrison’s novel in order of publication plus some additional works.
    I read all of Morrison’s novels, but no additional work. But let’s not quibble, I count this goal as met.
  4. Read one Charles Dickens novel per month.
    Done – I’ve now read all of Dicken’s completed novels (one I’d already read in December 2019).
  5. Read one short story per day.
    Not sure if I completely met this goal, but I’m counting it as a success. I read 15 and a half books of short stories, 5137 pages. That’s a lot (especially considering that it’s the first year I’ve consistently read short stories).
  6. Read one poem per day.
    I definitively read more than one poem per day. I read 2 and a half collections of poetry, 2278 pages. This goal is a great success, I’ve enjoyed reading poetry so much and will keep it up.
  7. Read six works of non-fiction.
    I read 23 books of non-fiction (including autobiography, memoirs, history, travel and books I just classified as “non-fiction” without an additional qualifier), 8300 pages. Definitively a success.
  8. Read one graphic novel per month.
    I only read six graphic novels, 1816 pages. So, that’s half the goal met. I did enjoy the graphic novels, but somehow didn’t feel like reading any after June.
  9. Read unread books from my shelves and my Kindle.
    I forgot to track this goal and can’t say. I don’t think I read a lot of my unread books, either physical ones or ebooks. This is a fail.
  10. Read whatever else touches my fancy.
    This is a weird goal, too unspecific (what was I thinking?), but I think it is fulfilled.

Of these ten goals, I consider 7.5 met or exceeded. Two goals weren’t met, but I don’t care.

2020_01_08

All in all, I read 89 entire books in 2020, and 5 that I hadn’t finished by the end of the year. 37763 pages, that’s about 424 pages per book on average (some of the books I read were very long) and an average of almost 7.5 books per month. 18 of the 89 books were re-reads, which is good – I enjoy re-reading (and what’s the point of having a book collection, if one doesn’t re-read?). Three of the unfinished books are poetry and short story collections which I will finish this year (one is already done). Two other nonfiction books I also plan to finish. One book, the Anatomy of Melancholy, I dnf’ed. I’ll try this one sometime in the future (I’m feeling stubborn about it, as I did kind of like the beginning).

I’m happy about the number of books I read. Also, I loved most of the books and think that I’ve had a great reading year (at least one bright spot during this otherwise catastrophic time).

Keep safe, world.

New Year’s Resolutions for 2021

After a quiet and relaxing Christmas and New Year, and in the middle of my long vacation, it’s time for a look at last year’s goals and for setting new ones.

My goals in 2020 and how I did:

  1. Keep up journaling and blogging. Do at least one post per month, starting in February (since I procrastinated on setting my goals in January).
    Spectacular: I did a lot more than one post per month. The least I did were 6 in October and I did one every day in November (a kind of modified NaNoWriMo challenge). In total I wrote 166 blog posts in 202. I think that setting a low bar helped me to over-achieve (reverse psychology or something).
  2. Deepen meditation practice: meditate for 45 minutes per day with the timer and do a course of weekly guided meditations as well.
    Not great. Everything went well for about 6 months and then I gave up on the course. Later, around November, I gave up on meditation altogether. Mainly due to not organizing my time well. My blog-writing time gobbled up the time I’d previously spent meditating. I need to find a better way to organize things, and maybe not hang the bar too high. So, I’d say I got about 50% of the goal done. Not totally hopeless, but not great, either. I’m going to do the same course again, because I do like it. Also, I did get better and I’m still doing better when I meditate (my breathing technique has improved, it’s calmer and more even).
  3. Set reading goals (these will follow in a separate post).
    These goals I did quite well on. I’ll talk about them in a separate post.
  4. Learn 12 poems off by heart this year, one for each month.
    Big fail. I only learnt one poem off by heart. “On His Blindness”, a sonnet by Milton.
  5. Stop procrastinating.
    No discernable progress on this goal. Maybe I’m just an inveterate procrastinator. Maybe the goal is too vague. Or both.

Considering these goals, I did well on the blogging and reading goals, middling on the meditation goal, and failed at the other two goals.

I can’t blame the fails on the Corona year. I’m an introvert, I like doing home office (could go on with it forever) and my job is safe (so far). I’m a home body and don’t go out much anyway, so I’m OK with not socializing much. Same goes for my mum and Partner, so we did all right. I’m grateful for my blessings. I hope that things will start looking up for us all this year and that we can return to a more normal life because I emphasize a lot with everyone who’s lost loved ones to Corona, who’s lost their livelihood, who’s had other hardships of whatever kind. Even I would like to meet friends and relatives again in person.

I must say, though I slacked off on my meditation during the latter half of the year, it did help me keep calm, especially at the beginning, when the panic was greatest. It also helps with climate change anxiety and any other kind of fear (at least, it helps me).

Anyway, these are my resolutions for 2021:

  1. Keep up journaling and blogging. Do at least one post per month, starting in January.
  2. Deepen meditation practice: meditate once a day or do Yoga. Restart the course and try to stick it out to the end.
  3. Set reading goals (these will follow in a separate post).
  4. Learn 2 poems off by heart this year.
  5. Stop procrastinating about financial things: that is, pay bills when they come in and don’t wait until the last minute.

Pretty similar goals to last year’s. I kept goal number 1 but didn’t make it any more challenging, as the low challenge worked so well for me last year. I also kept number 4 but made it less challenging – even learning 2 poems off by heart in 2021 would be an improvement over 2020. To my meditation goal I added Yoga, because I want to start it up again and I removed the time goal (45 minutes per day). Better to just meditate 5 minutes a day than not at all. I made the procrastination goals more specific, addressing one of my biggest pain points. I tend to lie in bed at night thinking that I need to pay a bill and then wait until the last minute, all the while getting more and more anxious about it. It’s a ridiculous habit. If I can break that, it’ll be great.

Keep safe, world.

Half-Year Mark

So, the year is already half over, and what a year it has been so far. Certainly nothing that anyone would have foreseen this day last year. Hope the next six months will prove better than the last, although I’m not too optimistic regarding the Corona situation. The virus is still raging in many parts of the world and a vaccine is still in the future. The economic development is unclear…

There are some shy ideas about new ways to organize our lives to make our livelihood more ecologically viable regarding climate change and some hope that some social ills can be redressed in our societies, but there’s also the fear that these young sprouts may come to nothing or be smothered by political or economic backlashes. Still, I prefer to hope for the better outcomes, and try to do my small part as much as I can.

When I consider my personal goals for this year, my reading goals are going splendidly but some other goals not so much. I will take this halfway mark as an impetus to revive my meditation practice. It’s not that I’ve stopped meditating, but I’ve stopped doing my guided meditations since around the end of April and I really should pick them up again, because they helped me to grow in my practice. Also, I’m not doing my regular 45 minutes anymore, as I tend to spend too much time reading. Too much only in so far as it has encroached on my meditation time. That’s not a good idea. I feel the difference and will try to do better. It is important to me, don’t know why the actual doing sometimes escapes me. I will challenge myself to do 45 minutes of meditation daily this month, starting today, to get back into the habit.

Work was uneventful but positive today. The errors I have been tracking last and this week have all been corrected and hopefully nobody will have introduced new ones today. If so, they will have to be fixed in the next version of our documents. I know that people are still working until the last minute, which is bound to lead to mistakes. No doubt I will see them tomorrow, when it will be too late. Personally, I always strive to finish my work at least one day ahead of any deadline, and only do slight emergency corrections on the last day if I can’t avoid them. Still, it doesn’t always work out that way, and other people have different ways of doing things which may suit them better. And a few errors in some documents are not the end of the world even if I do just love having everything perfect.

For lunch we again had some Singhalese takeout from the soul food joint in our town. This is the third time we’ve had it and again it was very nice. I guess we are kind of aiming at having takeout once a month – which is about 99% more than we’ve ever done before. Although, before we moved to this town two years ago, we lived in a smaller town that didn’t have any takeout places. This is definitively a Corona effect.

I think of my Dad today. He died six years ago. He was the best of Dads. I always knew he had my back (as my Mum did and does, too). I got my love of reading and also my way of seeing life as an adventure from him. He taught me to stick up for myself and be honest and true. Blessed be, Dad.

Keep safe, world.

2020_07_01

Meditation Practice

I’ve been intrigued by the idea of a regular meditation practice for years, but I hadn’t done anything about it until a couple of years ago. My first semi-regular meditation experience was with a few minutes at the end of Yoga practice. Unfortunately, I stopped doing Yoga when we got Curious Dog, as I don’t have time for it anymore what with dog walks, work, house-keeping, and whatever. I keep meaning to take it up again, but so far haven’t managed it, as it just doesn’t fit into my daily schedule. I did, however, manage to start a regular meditation practice instead.

At first, I just did meditation once a week through a program offered at my office. We meet one morning a week and do a twenty-minute meditation session. I think I started with that early 2017. Then I came across the book Why Buddhism Is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment, by Robert Wright. It motivated me to try and start a real meditation practice, which I did in the fall of 2017.

I got the free version of the app Insight Timer to help me with the timing – it has a nice feature that allows you to set different gongs at different times in one’s meditation. I usually try to sit for 45 minutes and have a gong every 15 minutes (1 to start, one after 15 and 30 minutes and 3 gongs at the end). I managed to meditate almost every day in 2018, but sometimes my sittings were only a few minutes. Still, it helped enormously to keep me sane during my stressful move last year. I like the app a lot, because it tracks the time I spent meditating and because it offers a huge selection of free guided meditations. I also once bought a course, 10 sittings for a reasonable $4.95.

This year I’ve made a resolution to deepen my practice. It’s going well so far. I’ve not missed a day yet (since January 1). I do my 45 minutes timed meditation (usually after dinner) and on some days (at least three days per week) a guided meditation – I’m planning on doing the weekly MIDL mindfulness trainings (52, one for each week of the year) by Stephen Procter: https://insighttimer.com/stephenprocter. I find these to be helpful for my non-guided meditation sessions, too. I usually do the guided sessions early in the morning or late at night, both times while lying in bed. Early is better. I have fallen asleep during some of the late ones (but that’s also an acceptable outcome). Sleep is good!

Stephen Procter also has his own website with the MIDL trainings (Meditation in Daily Life) and other information: https://www.meditationintheshire.com.au/

Since I’ve been doing meditation for about a year daily, I’ve found that I’m getting better at it. I don’t get bored so quickly (or if I do, I try to investigate the bored feeling). While my mind still wanders all the time, I do experience fleeting periods when the thoughts seem to recede into the background while I concentrate on breathing and being embodied in the moment. I’m not sure if “recede into the background” is the right description, though. It’s hard to describe. It’s a journey, I’m open to see how it will develop.

The practice has also helped me to become slightly more mindful in daily life. The MIDL trainings also have this goal, which is why I like them so much. When I walk with Curious Dog, I often notice that my mind is wandering all over the place. And then I try to stop doing that and instead enjoy being with CD in nature. This is just an example, it happens in other situations as well. I’m trying to increase these moments of being in the moment. I don’t beat myself up if it doesn’t work, I just notice it and try again. Well, at least sometimes. Mostly I go through my day without being mindful, but those few moments when I aspire to mindfulness spur me on in my practice.

Meditation can be a spiritual practice for someone who’s not religious. My inner skeptic approves of it.

WinterWeg

2019

Let’s talk about resolutions.

Last year’s resolutions were these (also found here):

  1. Keep up journaling, offline and on the blog
  2. Keep up meditation practice
  3. Read more books and reduce my time surfing the Internet
  4. Learn Latin
  5. Stop procrastinating so much

The first one wasn’t such a success. I only kept up journaling and/or blogging until March. Then I got derailed, because Mutti was sick and I was so busy, I didn’t get around to writing about my days. She was only sick for about a week, but my fledgling habit was broken, and I didn’t manage to restart it. Mutti’s illness showed me that living so far away and only visiting one week per month (doing home office) wouldn’t work in a crisis. So, I consulted with my partner and with Mutti and we decided to move together into a new apartment near my place of work. That meant house-hunting — I found a new apartment (actually a small, kind of semi-detached house with a bit of garden) pretty quickly (by May) and we moved in August. It was a lot of work and pretty expensive. Also, the monthly rent is a lot higher than at my previous place. Mutti helps out by paying for her room and board (otherwise it would be too expensive for me, and it’s only fair since we could otherwise rent a smaller, cheaper place).

The move was a bit of a nightmare. I hadn’t realized that I’d accumulated so much stuff and especially I’d forgotten about all the broken and unused stuff that we’d just chucked into the cellar all those years (we lived for ten years at the old place).

The new place is farther away from work and I have to drive through three towns/villages, which is a pain. It takes about 25 to 35 minutes depending on the traffic. I hope the new apartment will be a lot cooler in summer. The old one was dreadfully hot last Summer, and I would have wanted to move even if the situation with Mutti hadn’t come up. But when we did move, I was quite a bit homesick, which surprised as I hadn’t thought I had become so attached.

I don’t like my new landlady as much as the old one. The old one only raised the rent once in ten years, but the new one is going to raise it every two years and she made me sign a statement saying that the apartment was renovated when I moved in (which it wasn’t. I renovated it myself in return for the kitchen and some other stuff that I took on from the last renter). She wants me to renovate again when I move out. This is actually illegal, so I’m not too worried, but it will probably cause a lot of conflict when I do move out again (hopefully only when I retire as I don’t want to move again before then).

But back to last year’s resolutions: number two was pretty successful. It was the only thing that kept me together during the stress of the move.

I also read a lot of books (but I don’t know how many, because I stopped keeping my list).

In Autumn, after the move, I got started with Latin, but didn’t keep it up. I did collect a lot of free study materials on the internet, so I’m all set to start again.

The procrastination resolution was a total fail.

In sum, of five resolutions only two were mostly successful (meditation and reading books), the rest were only partially met (or not at all). Still, better than nothing.

Here are my new ones for 2019:

  1. Keep up journaling and blogging (let’s see how it goes this year)
  2. Deepen meditation practice: meditate for 45 minutes per day with the timer and do a course of weekly guided meditations as well
  3. Keep reading books
  4. Start with Latin again and turn it into a habit
  5. Start running with the dog (at least sometimes)
  6. Stop procrastinating (I’m sure this would make my life easier, so I’m trying again.

2018

My New Year’s resolutions:

  1. Keep up journaling, offline and on the blog
    I would like to do at least one blog post per week and three offline journal entries. I want to establish a regular writing habit.
  2. Keep up meditation practice
    Study Buddhist ideas and keep up with the meditation practice I started in earnest last fall. I’ve been going to a thirty minute meditation session for about a year, because it’s offered at work (and I will also continue with this), but my regular practice at home is what will bring the practice to a higher level. I’ve been doing 45 minutes almost every day since November and it’s already changing my daily life – I’m trying to live more mindfully and it’s working, even if only in small ways. The more I’m meditating, the easier and more interesting it seems to be getting.
  3. Read more books and reduce my time surfing the Internet
    I had this goal last year too, and it went well.
  4. Learn Latin
    Not sure if I’m really serious about this. I want to do it, but my other goals may get in the way. Also: procrastination (see below).
  5. Stop procrastinating so much
    Mindfulness might help with this.