Thursday, March 31, 2011

4 Days In

Juuuuust in case you're wondering.  Did they even do the challenge?!

Of course!  Proof:
(This is obviously 10 long and very, very boring minutes.  Are you really going to watch it!?)

The first time was really difficult!  It took a lot of concentration and focus to keep my eyes from looking away for a moment.  Today, we just finished our fourth 10 minute session and I really love it!  We wait until the kids are in bed and it's quiet.  Taking this time to connect at the end of the day is feeding my soul.  I feel stress slowly melt away as we sit together. 

It's reassuring that we're so comfortable doing this.  Sometimes we're completely quiet and sometimes we rehash our day.  Putting 100% of our focus on each other just feels so gooood.

Now that I think about it... these are ten minutes that have to be happy.  In times of tension and frustration we ever look right into each others' eyes.  If we did I'd probably end up laughing or something.  I think I read about a couple who, whenever they were in an argument, they would hold hands and, of course, they immediately find compromise.  Seeing and being seen...  :)

I really hope people are trying this with us!  Oh, please try it!  And tell us what you think! 

I love it!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Our First Challenge: Eye Contact.

Challenging?  Eh, doesn't sound too tough.  But wait, it gets interesting.  Here's what you do:

-Choose a quiet time when you know you won't be interrupted for at least 10 minutes.

-Grab a close friend, family member, or your true love.

-Sit down on the floor or couch and get comfortable.  Face to face.  Knees touching and/or holding hands.

-Set a timer for 10 minutes.

-Go!  Look into each others eyes and maintain your gaze for 10 minutes.  Go ahead and blink but don't look away!

-Come back and tell us what you think!!!  We'll be blog-sharing our reaction with you!

Since we'll be doing this 21 times we are going to choose to allow talking the first 7 times, enjoy silence the second week, and we haven't decided on the third week.

The Science!

The selective focusing of attention on a single object for a period of time appeals to traditional Buddhist meditation methods and yoga exercises. Selective attention theory espouses the general idea that focusing your attention on a single target for a measurable period of time increases your ability to identify distractions and redirect your attention on the desired object, increasing your self-regulatory abilities. When you increase your ability for self-regulation, you become more adept at identifying and detaching yourself from a whole spectrum of emotions and distractions. This detachment and purposeful focusing of attention on a target (versus your distractions) allows you to objectively accept how your body is feeling and where your brain is trying to lead you, without getting caught up in the whim of your senses and sub-conscious intent. For more info, here is an may have to focus to get through the jargon :).

The target: Now, what happens when you focus all of your attention on a person? You find that your attention attempts to wonder towards the emotions, feelings, values, and thoughts about your target. In our case, each other! This correlation between focusing our attention and our sub-conscious thoughts about each other brings about all kinds of possibilities regarding our relationship, feelings of intimacy, and experiences together. This is our goal, to strengthen our bond in marriage and life together. So... 21 days, 10 minutes a day, meditation masters.. go!

Mission Statement

Who:  We are Ryan and Kim.  And you!  Please join us on our 21 Day Challenges!

What:  Together we will research, choose, and pursue a habit forming, enlightening challenge. We will share our reaction to each challenge in word, photo, and video form via blog!  We hope you feel moved to share your experiences with us as well!

When:  We will complete one 21 day challenge every month.

Why:  Our hope is that by pursuing challenges together we will experience life changing events, grow to learn more about ourselves and each other, and live a fuller, more incredible life!

-The Science!

When you dig down deep into the formation of habits and patterned routines in your life, you find that your behavior controls your learning. Neurologically, your brain is very adaptable and continuously forms and prunes (synaptic pruning) your neural pathways based on experience to achieve maximum efficiency. This process is especially salient in infants. When infants experience something new, neurological pathways are formed. The pathways strengthen as the frequency of that experience increases. For example, infants are experts at knowing they are hungry (because they're hungry all the time!).

Alternately, an infants neurological pathways are pruned when something they experienced only a few times, does not happen everyday. If an infant heard the word cercopithecoid last week from his smarmy uncle when shown a picture of a monkey, but mom always calls it a monkey, the kid's brain is going to prune the pathway connecting cercopithecoid to the picture.

Fast forward to adulthood. Although, it was once believed that our brains only had a critical period of time to form neurological pathways, Science (capitalized for emphasis) has recently found that our brains are mutable in nature even into adulthood, continually changing based on our experiences and grounded in the theory of neuroplasticity. Our experiences fundamentally change both the composition of our physical brains and the organization of our neurological pathways.

Running with the simplistic conclusions that these theories suggest, we can, fundamentally, choose how our brains develop using a little thing called intent. Kim and I have decided to run with it. We plan to organize our routines through planned repetitive experiences, 21 days straight. Join us, follow us, and decide to change your brains! Stand back, we're going to try Science!