Letting go of the perfect practice

My husband and I used to get up diligently at 6:30 a.m. every day to meditate for 25 minutes. Then we had a baby. It’s been a year since we’ve meditated with any regularity, mostly because in the early morning hours of new parenthood, if it’s a choice between meditation and sleep, sleep wins. Every single time.

Then one day after a sangha meeting, my husband turned to me and said the most revolutionary thing: “I think we just have to meditate in the evening.” We were so hung up on achieving the perfect practice that we had been willing to forgo practicing altogether. So this month we’ve started meditating together for 25 minutes after the baby’s gone to sleep at night. It’s not ideal: I find it harder to settle in, I’m more inclined to processing the events of the day, and I get lethargic. But it’s a start, a small step toward molding a practice in the shape of our new life. By letting go of the model in my head of how my practice should look, I’m making space for incremental growth. As parents, we often hear that we have to make parenting our practice. And while this is certainly true, carving out the time for a little bit of formal practice, however imperfect, allows us to call upon that feeling of presence throughout our day.

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