Reverb16: Habit

(For the past six years, I’ve used Reverb10 prompts to give myself a question to answer every day of December. It’s a great way to reflect on the year and set goals for the future. I’ve kept my favorite prompts, added a few from other sources, and created my own month-and- a-bit of questions.)

Habit. What habit did you adopt this year that really made a positive impact on your life?

In the morning, before I get out of bed, I turn on the little meditation timer on my phone. I’ve got it set up for 10 minutes. It rings a gong every minute, to remind me to come back to my purpose:

Inhale for 4 counts. Pause. Exhale for 4 counts. Pause.

This has simultaneously been the best and hardest thing to do this year. You’d think that meditating in the morning would be easy. You aren’t even awake yet. How many thoughts could you have? Well, my brain snaps to attention as soon as that alarm goes off. It’s a struggle to sit, breathe, and focus on that breath.

Inhale for 4 counts. Pause. Exhale for 4 counts. Pause.

I am only assuming it’s had a positive impact. They say that meditation can bring your overall stress level down. Who knows. I can’t say yet. I’m terrible at this. It’s been months and I’m not even measurably better at staying focused. But – and this is the key – mediation isn’t about getting better to not having thoughts. It’s about noticing when you are running away with a thought and bringing your attention back to your purpose. I’ve had a lot of practice at that. When it comes to that I’m a meditation master!

Inhale for 4 counts. Pause. Exhale for 4 counts. Pause.

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Reverb16: Wear It Out

(For the past six years, I’ve used Reverb10 prompts to give myself a question to answer every day of December. It’s a great way to reflect on the year and set goals for the future. I’ve kept my favorite prompts, added a few from other sources, and created my own month-and- a-bit of questions.)

Wear it Out. What piece of clothing did you wear again and again this year?

I bought four pairs of black pants. I bought the first pair on sale, and loved them so much I bought another the exact same size and style full price. Then I saw they were on massive sale and bought two more. So I have four pairs of the exact same pants. They are fantastic. I feel like Audrey Hepburn in them. Soft and semi-stretchy ponte knit. Ankle length. Warm, but not thick. Tailored, but not too tight. They go with everything, travel well, and are so soft it feels like I’m wearing pajamas. 

I wear a pair until it needs washing. At this rate, I won’t have to buy new pants for a decade.


Reverb16: Music

(For the past six years, I’ve used Reverb10 prompts to give myself a question to answer every day of December. It’s a great way to reflect on the year and set goals for the future. I’ve kept my favorite prompts, added a few from other sources, and created my own month-and- a-bit of questions.)

Music. What’s your favorite song from 2016?

I think for a lot of people Lenard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ will be the song that brings back 2016. He died right after the election, and that song became a lament from people (like me) who were disappointed and shocked at the outcome. My favorite lyrics of the song rarely get sung in covers, but the comedian who had been impersonating Clinton on Saturday Night Live included them when she sang as Clinton. They were just so darn appropriate:

And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

I’d already been obsessing about another of his songs. He released an album right before he died, and it’s likely his best ever. The title track is this generation’s ‘Everybody Knows.’ It’s called ‘You Want It Darker’:

If you are the dealer, I’m out of the game
If you are the healer, it means I’m broken and lame
If thine is the glory then mine must be the shame
You want it darker
We kill the flame
Magnified, sanctified, be thy holy name
Vilified, crucified, in the human frame
A million candles burning for the help that never came
You want it darker
Hineni, hineni
I’m ready, my lord
There’s a lover in the story
But the story’s still the same
There’s a lullaby for suffering
And a paradox to blame
But it’s written in the scriptures
And it’s not some idle claim
You want it darker
We kill the flame
They’re lining up the prisoners
And the guards are taking aim
I struggled with some demons
They were middle class and tame
I didn’t know I had permission to murder and to maim
You want it darker
Hineni, hineni
I’m ready, my lord
Magnified, sanctified, be thy holy name
Vilified, crucified, in the human frame
A million candles burning for the love that never came
You want it darker
We kill the flame
If you are the dealer, let me out of the game
If you are the healer, I’m broken and lame
If thine is the glory, mine must be the shame
You want it darker
Hineni, hineni
Hineni, hineni
I’m ready, my lord
Hineni, Hineni,
Hineni, Hineni

(P.S. I wrote this last time.)