The Shyness Project

Archive for the category “Month 10 Try New Things”

Trying to sit still: Learning how to meditate

I’ve been sick this past week or so, and this has made it more difficult for me to want to go out and try some new things.

So instead of going out and doing something, I decided to try something more low-key that I could do at home.

Meditation.

Now, I’ve never really tried meditating before.  At least, I’ve never tried it long enough to really consider it trying.  Usually when I attempt to sit and clear my thoughts I give up fairly quickly.  My thoughts run free and I have trouble keeping myself from getting distracted.

So I rented a DVD that helps beginners meditate.  I tried it out on a chilly Saturday morning when my family wasn’t home.

I wasn’t sure if meditation would be for me or not because of my brief attempts in the past, but I decided to keep an open mind and give it a chance.  I’ve always been interested in meditation and admire those who can clear their minds to practice it.

The video had two hours of content, but I just decided to do thirty minutes of it.  As I watched the DVD, I felt calmer simply listening to the soft and soothing music that was playing in the background.  The instructor’s voice was slow and rhythmic and set a nice, peaceful tone.

I followed the instructions the best I could.  I crossed my legs, held my hands out index finger to thumb, and did all the breathing exercises instructed, as well as a few of the chants even.

I did better than I expected at keeping my mind clear.  At one point in the beginning though, where we were supposed to inhale thinking the word “sat” and exhale thinking the word “nam” for one minute, I couldn’t help but think “This is a really long minute…”.  I had to peek at the video to make sure I was still supposed to keep doing that exercise.

With time I realized that each of the meditation segments do feel like a long time and go against what I naturally feel is an ample amount of time to repeat an activity.  It’s hard to maintain simply inhaling and exhaling while thinking of just two words.

It was difficult to do some of the breathing exercises when I was sick though.  When we had to cover one nostril and breathe just from it, I had some trouble breathing.

But all in all I felt more peaceful afterward, and more calm and collected.  Meditation seems like it is a really helpful thing to learn when you want to reduce stress or anxiety, or simply want to slow down.  I would like to try it some more and think it’s a great thing to learn how to do.  If you have any experience with trying meditation, please feel free to share below in the comments!

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Taking a Leap- Ziplining and Mechanical Bull Riding

My dad’s work was hosting a family fun day, and my family and I chose to attend.

Right away when we got there, I saw that a zipline structure had been set up near the entrance.  My heart raced at the prospect of going up that high and dangling in the air by a harness.  My mom hurried towards the structure though, eager to give it a shot, and she dragged us with her.

The line was short and I didn’t have but a minute or two to protest or change my mind.  My mom had me go first because she wanted to watch and learn before going on (thanks a lot mom).  So with a fluttering stomach I allowed the harness to be put on me, and waited at the base of the long staircase for my turn to walk up.  The gear felt tight and I began to feel a little light headed at the prospect of what I was about to rush into. I have mild discomfort with heights and I don’t like going fast, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about ziplining.  I hoped I wouldn’t faint.

When it was my turn to go, I trudged up the countless metallic silver stairs, getting further and further from the ground.  I kept going until I reached the top, trying to not look down and see how high I was.

Once I got to the top, the man operating the zipline attached a clip to my harness and instructed me to stand on the circular platform.  Then once I was standing on the platform, he removed the barrier blocking the edge of the platform.  The way was clear and I nervously looked down below.

“What do I do now?” I asked, uncertain.

“Anything you want,” he said. “You can walk off the edge, jump off, whatever.”

I gulped. I’m not one to just go off an edge into the air at a high elevation.

I exhaled.

Then I jumped.

I went sliding down and across the line, feeling like Batman going after the bad guys.  It wasn’t as gut wrenching as I thought it would be, and I could see it being more fun once you get used to it a little.  When I reached the end of the line, I stopped a little short, but there were several guys there who helped me down.  I ended up whacking my face with my hands and knocking my sunglasses off when I landed from the force, but other than that it went smoothly.  At least now I can say I’ve been on a zipline.

Then the rest of my family went too, and I think they had a good experience as well.

Later on we all rode a little mechanical bull that was set up too, which was something they had offered at my grad night but I had been reluctant to try it.  I thought it might be embarrassing if I couldn’t last long or got thrown off right away with everyone watching.  But my family and I all did it, and I lasted a good amount of time, and it was kind of fun actually.  Luckily there wasn’t too big of a crowd around and that helped.

My brother and I also rock climbed later on, and I’ve done that before so it wasn’t new to me, but still it makes me a little nervous being up that high and having to take leap of faiths now and then.  I fell once trying to get to a rock but luckily the slack was kept tight and I didn’t drop too far.  I eventually reached the top and rappelled back down.

All in all it was a day that took me out of my comfort zone, but it was great to be able to experience some new things.  I would do them again!

Trying Salsa and Latin Dancing for the First Time

One of my plans in trying new things was to sign up for a Salsa & Latin Dancing class.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect out of this class, but from what I’d seen on Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance I knew it would probably be a little out of my comfort zone.  I expected a lot of shimmying and shaking to say the least.

I figured I could handle it though, and my love for dance would get me through any moves I might find out of my element.  I’m an avid swing dancer, but salsa and Latin dancing were completely new to me.

And as it turns out, for a while I actually preferred my Latin dancing class over my West Coast swing class!  I really enjoyed the music and the movement, and surprisingly was better at moving my hips and getting into the rhythm than I thought.

It’s been a lot of fun learning Latin dancing, and has been a great workout as well.  So far I’ve learned Salsa, Merengue, Bachata, Rumba, and Cha-Cha.  They’re all pretty fun, and Rumba is a nice break from all the faster dances.  My swing background has actually carried over to the Latin Dancing a bit too, and funnily enough some of the more advanced people in the class are convinced I’ve done this type of dancing before!  I’m just a quick learner.

At some point I am hoping to try going out to a salsa club and seeing what it’s like on the real dance floor.  Should be interesting!

Try New Things

Although I have yet to write on my blog about this, I have been making an effort to try new things lately.

Even though I’d like to say I’m an adventurous person, the truth is that I’m not really.  At least, I don’t think I can say that I am right now.  I like routine and certainty more than I’d like to believe.  I often do a lot of the same things, because I know I’ll enjoy them and be comfortable with them.

And I especially like to eat a lot of the same foods.  In elementary and middle school I’m pretty sure I had the same lunch everyday- crackers & cheese mix and apples or grapes.  Even in high school I ate a lot of the same foods, with the addition of a sandwich for lunch, then apples or grapes, and then crackers or chips.

This isn’t a bad thing.  It’s perfectly ok to like routine and to like simplicity.  But for this experiment I want to see what it’s like to try some new things.  I want to switch things up a little.  I’m an open minded person when it comes to attitudes toward most things, so that should at least help me in my goals.

I have already tried several new things just by starting and running this project as well as in other areas of my life, but I think a time focused on this goal will be beneficial.  Fear of the unknown can be a contributing factor to shyness and anxiety, and by trying new things I think that could bring about a lesson or two on the unknown.  Some of these endeavors will put me outside of my comfort zone and may be things I don’t like, but it will be interesting to see what I find and come across.  There are a lot of opportunities out there to try some new things and switch up daily routines.

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