Goals. Or why your drunken jaunts through town won’t get you where you want to go.

When you’re in your late twenties, you feel anxious about life. You want a good job, a warm home, and a solid partner to create a good foundation with for the future.
But because you haven’t yet shook the notion that every weekend needs at least one good drunken night out, complete with an after 2 a.m. visit to the local poutinerie, you might feel that your dreams are more like fantasies.
Which is why I think many of my friends and acquaintances are taking the easy road and mistaking change with achievement.
I have noticed lately lots of change in people’s lives. New jobs, new apartments, new travelling spots, etc., but I don’t feel the need to celebrate these lateral transitions.
They remind me of my car. Last September I took the initiative to put my car back on the road. It entailed paying parking tickets, getting insurance and a new sticker. I was proud that I accomplished that because it gave me a sense of independence, and a strike through something on my to-do list. But about 8 months later, I cancelled the insurance, and took it off the road. And again, I acknowledged that as a positive step forward on my ever-flip-flopping journey of mobility. It felt just as good to take it off the road as it did to put it back on.
Now, as I recently insured it again, I have come to realize one human flaw: That we confuse change with achievement.
My friends who are taking on new jobs and new apartments are in the same position as they were in their old jobs and old apartments.
If you are tired of the people you work with now, chances are you are going to be tired of your new co-workers soon, too. And the same goes for an apartment. Unless you need to move for work, or co-habitation, some new digs will soon be as cluttered and dirty as your old ones.
If you find yourself yearning for change, ask yourself first what it is that you really want. If you think it’s out of reach, maybe consider skipping a drunken night out on the town, and think again. Align yourself with your goals … and go. Here’s how:
First, decide what it is that you really want. Maybe there is something that you feel you are being called to do. Or, it could be that you want to feel a deeper connection to your community, for example. Is it taking up a hobby? Etc.
Second, don’t worry, there are only three steps. Set a goal. Make it realistic, and put a timer on it. Tell people. Just as an example, if your aim is to lose weight, your goal is just a way to quantify that. So your goal would be to lose 10 pounds by the fall. The more specific the better.
Third. Put a plan in place to achieve it. Write down say five things that you’ll have to do to achieve this. Start with one thing that is within your reach right now. Then remain mindful of the roadblocks that are present, or that you yourself present.
What will you have to say no to? If it’s a drunken night out at the bar every week that ends with stepping in someone else’s puke, holding your friend up as they stumble home followed by a hangover and a day of remorse, it might not be that tough.

My mind, the wanderer

My life has gotten a little hectic since I finished my teacher training. I met a boy, whom I love to spend time with, I started an energy exchange to keep up my practice, and got reacquainted with my friends and family (who took a backseat during TT). Plus I started teaching private classes on the side. Life is full of love and excitement, but it’s so busy that what little meditation practice I had during teacher training has slipped away from me.

Now it is just a peaceful memory. One of the best memories I have from a recent family vacation to Mexico is sitting on the balcony of our condo and meditating. But if I’m not on vacation or in teacher training, it has become non-existent.

So, like all yogis do when they lose their own self practice, I decided to take a class. But instead of taking a one-hour class once a week at the local meditation studio, I applied for a 10-day intensive meditation retreat at the Ontario Vipassana Centre.

This course is intense. Here’s a rundown:
No talking (gasp! I know. Try it and see how long you can last)
Bedtime is 9:30, wake up is 4 am! Followed by two hours of meditation
No contact with the outside world, like no smartphone, Internet usage.

The craziest part about the course is that it is paid for by donations from previous students who were shown the power of meditation as a tool for healing, truthfulness and clarity.

Now, your turn. Where are you at with your mediation practice? Are you a five-minute daily practitioner, or are you like me, it’s always in the back of your mind but you can’t seem to clear the physical and mental clutter out to get a good meditation in. What are you waiting for? Dive in.