monthly review march

Repetition and contemplation – monthly review

Repetition and contemplation quote

Three months into the year and I have now successfully completed three monthly challenges:

All of the challenges have had repetition in common. I think repetition is seriously undervalued. If I had undertaken any of the above activities as one off, I would not have received the benefits that I have from them. Repetition can help to create a sense of familiarity and comfort, and can also serve to reinforce positive habits and behaviors.

This month’s challenge of praying the rosary had lots of repetition but also the element of contemplation. Contemplation involves deep reflection and thought. Through the act of thinking deeply about something it is often possible to gain greater insight and/or understanding. This has certainly been the case for me this month.

I have been using the Hallow App to help keep me on track with praying the rosary every day. Of course, an app is not needed but I have found it super helpful. I worked out within the first few days that if I was going to be successful at this I would need to stack this habit onto another part of my routine. It is now part of my morning routine once the kids have gone to school.

Praying the rosary every day is something I have enjoyed much more than I thought it would. I have also been surprised at what a meditative activity it is. If you are not familiar with the rosary it is a form of prayer that involves the repetition of prayers and contemplation. Besides helping to deepen my faith there has been some surprising other benefits like:

  • Stress relief – the meditative nature of the rosary has helped decrease feelings of stress and I definitely feel calmer after doing it. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Religion and Health found that prayer can reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Improved focus: needing to say the prayers in a particular structure has improved my ability to concentrate and stay focused on a single task.
  • Increased patience – it takes me about 20 minutes to pray the rosary and there have been days when I want to speed up the process and “just get it done” but in reality, I can’t really rush it. It has helped me be more patient with the process and I think that has carried over into daily life as well.

Create a monthly experiment

Connection to goal – Embrace life with curiosity and experimentation to gain greater connection

I love my routines and they provide an excellent base from which I can achieve a great deal. My love of routines can mean that I can take a very well-worn path. This year I want to mix it up more. Add more play, challenge myself and try new things while bringing along others as I go.

Quote to connect to – “The true method of knowledge is experiment.” – William Blake

March performance – March saw the beginning of Lent so my challenge for March was related to that – praying the rosary every day. I have never done anything like this before so I was intrigued to see what it would be like and what if anything I would take away from it. As you can read above it was a great experience!

My monthly experiment for April is to participate in Yoga With Kassandra’s – Flexible Body, Flexible Mind – 30 Day Challenge. It involves a 10 minute yoga exercise for the body and then a short exercise each day for the mind.

Practice switching from judgement to curiosity

Connection to goal – Embrace life with curiosity and experimentation to gain greater connection – Having strong opinions on issues means that when I hear a dissenting view I can move to judgement and not make an attempt to understand the opposing viewpoint – it stifles open communication.

When I hear/read/view something that triggers me, I want to be curious not judgemental about it and really listen and understand the thinking behind the differing view and have truly open communication with others. Communication is key to connection.

Quote to connect to – “Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand.” – Roy T. Bennett

March performance – In addition to saying the rosary every day in Lent I also committed to not being critical. Each time that I am critical I have to pay $0.50. Often I find that when I am being critical it is because I am seeing things through my lens, through the way I want things to be done and sometimes transferring the high expectations I have of myself onto others. It is very similar to judgement -instead of being curious about a situation I am being critical.

So far my tally is up to $11.50. This has been a good experiment in a couple of ways:

  • The family is all on board and is calling me out when I am being critical
  • It has helped me to pause more before opening my mouth. As I noted previously, the critical or judgements thoughts will still appear – it is what I do from there that matters. Pausing before I respond means gives me the chance to respond more from a place of curiosity.

I feel that I was slightly better than last month and would rate myself a 5.5/10.

Consume a diverse low information diet

Connection to goal – Embrace life with curiosity and experimentation to gain greater connection – When consuming information from many sources now, algorithms are feeding us what it thinks we want to see based on what we have already seen, listened to or read. It takes a concerted effort to diversify the information we are consuming.

We are becoming an increasingly polarised society on so many issues and it is causing deep division. If we only ever look at one side of the story our divisions will only grow bigger.

Quote to connect to – “We need diversity of thought in the world to face the new challenges.” – Tim Berners-Lee

March performance – Below are a list of tasks that I am wanting to complete to help me have a diverse low information diet. I am going to include the list each month and highlight the actions that I took over the month:

  • February – Completely overhaul my Feedly feed – completed. It took me about 90 minutes to overhaul the feed. It was interesting to see so many blogs that now no longer publish new articles. I completely deleted entire folders of feeds. Over time my interests have changed but by keeping so many feeds in my account, there was too much info coming in so I wasn’t really seeing the ones I wanted to. I would have halved the number of feeds that I had in my account which is great.
  • Edit, add and cull the email newsletters I am subscribed to
  • Review accounts I follow on Instagram
  • Review podcast subscriptions
  • March – Review Youtube subscriptions – this month I worked on adding diversity to my Youtube subscriptions and deleting anything I am no longer interested in. I unsubscribed from over 50 channels. There is so much quality content on Youtube now that I am tempted to pay for the premium version!

One quarter of the year down! What progress did you make in March?