Why 40 Days?

Posted on | | by Kelly


I wake up in the summer morning, often with 2 little beings beside me. My husband is already up and showering.

2 year old Ginger, my white with orange spots spaniel nestles like a heating pad against my lower back. Her sister, my sweet 8 year old daughter, breathes deeply right next to me. After a 2 am run down the hall in search of me, they have spent much of the night creeping further and further onto my side of the bed. If they could, they would have their heads right on my pillow. At this phase of life, we are all still closely connected, physically and psychically.

As soon as I make a move to get up, Ginger stands up delightedly, shakes, does a few yoga moves like downward dog, and leaps off the bed to go outside.

This is the moment that my commitment to the 40 day practice of meditation (before plugging in to the world) matters most.

If I have to make a daily choice whether to meditate based on my mood or energy or the to do list that is waiting to jump to mind, forget it. If I take a moment to check texts or facebook, my mind is hijacked instantly.

The commitment means there’s no choosing involved and my mood and energy are irrelevant to doing the practice. I’m committed and need to seize the moment before all the possible interruptions of family life get in to full swing.

Yogi Bhajan, the master of kundalini yoga said “Commitment is the first act of being a human.” Commitment is about choosing consciously and allowing commitment to override resistance.

These are some essential reasons why I consciously choose to do a daily practice before plugging in to the world:


I feel centered and grounded and connected to my body and my own mind before I open up to the thoughts and needs and opinions of others.

I strengthen my nervous system and cultivate relaxation and equanimity that I can draw on throughout the day.

An uplifting mantra occupies my mind instead of negative self talk or fearful thinking.

The “garbage” – the extra thoughts and problems that have nothing to do with me or my life and keep me distracted, angry or fearful-is discarded.

My unconscious (the parts of me that are buried a little deeper) have a chance to communicate and be heard. These are the delightful moments of insight and imagination that can occur spontaneously when we are relaxed and listening deeply to ourselves.

It feels really good. Regardless of how active or quiet my mind was, my mood is better for the whole day. I’m more patient and a kinder mother, wife and friend.


When my daughter wakes up, I have to supervise her getting ready to go to horse riding camp, pack all sorts of extra clothes items, lunch, water, apply sunscreen, create a low ponytail so the helmet fits on her head, feed the dog, get myself dressed, and out the door in time to miss the worst of the traffic and arrive a few minutes early which helps her have the best day possible. Some days I also have to get myself ready and bring bags full of things to be at different work sites, the gym, teach a yoga class.

Sound familiar? I know you have your own version of this.

That’s why the commitment is important. Not as a way to put pressure on yourself or to feel ashamed if you miss (simply start over the next day).

The purpose is to create a consciously chosen structure to support your most relaxed and healthy, happy self.



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