who I am and why I do this
my name is elinor addington jannotta. i started 40daysofpeace four years ago, believing good would come from connecting a compassionate community with thought provoking inspirations and disciplines from different traditions.
the 40daysofpeace community is made up of a bunch of human beings, like me and you, who are trying to find more peace and joy throughout the moments that make up our lives. I believe this kind of abundance is both birthright and our responsibility.
we must cultivate it, though.
the idea is to breathe, slow down, and listen up. (there’s a lot of words and thoughts around how to be quiet. ironic isn’t it?) “stillness speaks,” writes Eckhart Tollé. when we practice stilling our thinking minds, we begin to experience more clarity, peace, beauty and often we find direction.
for me writing is an outlet, a clarifier, a form of meditation. when I’m writing, i feel present, connected, and often joyful. sometimes it’s celebration and gratitude, other times it’s an outlet for crying out loud. like all forms of meditation- it nourishes my heart and soul.
here, throughout 40 days is a little space- for fun, quiet, contemplation, and reflection. I invite you to join me, and give yourself the same gift I am giving myself for 40 days, which is some time out – each day- to quiet the chatter, breathe, and be curious about the complexities and wonders of life. YOUR life. it will become richer; your spirit will become stronger.
it just takes a little practice
about 40 days worth!
why meditation? the science of meditation
did you know mindful meditation is the only thing that can build new neural pathways? a teacher uses the analogy of rain coming from a roof, forming a channel in the sand. as storms come and we reinforce that groove in the sand with a hard-wired reactive default setting, that channel becomes well-worn.
when we meditate we practice a new way of being: calm, focused, and embodied. as we do this, we lay new tracks in the sand, alongside that super pathway that we’ve traveled down so often.
then one day, it happens. you are triggered by some inane situation and you find yourself having a different sort of response. Rather than reacting and flying off the handle, you respond differently, in a new way. you take a moment- between stimulis and response- you are in control of your emotions, they are no longer controlling you.
meditation brings us back home to our strong, still, discerning selves.
mindfulness and meditation are centering practices. In every religious traditions that center refers to our hearts, the place where God, the divine, our soul lives. research now backs up what has been passed along for centuries; that finding peace in there, quite literally getting out of our own heads, can change our perspective, our experiences, our lives.
advances in technology can now measure brain function and nervous system response; it can do just about everything besides meditate for you. that is your peace to pursue.
and here’s some science for the doubter in each of us, although I can assure you, experience will prove your inner skeptic wrong.
why 40 days? the spiritual side of “40”
most every tradition has held the number “40” sacred. why- perhaps because 40 days is transformative; enough time for something to take hold. here’s some historical evidence of great things happening spiritually in 40 days:
- Moses was on Mt Sinai 40 days and nights when he received the 10 commandments
- 40 was the number of days that Prophet Ilyas
- was tempted in the desert by Satan
- Muhammad prayed and fasted in the cave for 40 days
He had 40 followers help him spread the religion of Islam
- Hindus, Muslims and Christians all observe 40 day periods of fasting and reflection
- The infamous floods of Genesis and Noah’s ark lasted 40 days and nights
- Hebrews roamed the desert for 40 years before being led to the promised land
- David defeated Goliath after 40 days of him challenging the Israelites
- Jesus went in the desert for 40 days of quiet, reflection (and inner turmoil) before he began his ministry (which lasted 40 months.)
I’ve done a variety of programs committing to 40 days of observance. cleanses, kundalini kriyas, and a 40-day commitment of ayurvedic self-care. I can’t explain the mystery of this number, but I can attest to the efficacy of doing something consistently for 40 days. there’s magic there.