The end of the year has a certain weary energy. All months have their own feel, and December’s is an exotic combination between the bustle and congestion of the holiday season, and the blank check of a whole new year lying just past it.
Somehow we’re only two weeks from the ball-drop, and it’s time to start thinking about what you want this next year—your 35th, your 19th, your 68th, whatever it is—to be like.
I’m generally skeptical of New Year’s Resolutions, not because the New Year is a bad time to improve ourselves, but because a once-uttered promise to ourselves doesn’t really change how we live. We need new, well-defined behaviors, applied consistently for at least three or four weeks, to give us a dependable chance at lasting changes.
In other words, it’s regimens, not resolutions, that create those dramatic improvements we dream about every December.
This morning I opened registration for Camp Calm. I know some of you have been waiting to book your spot, and in that case you can go ahead and register here.
If you don’t know what Camp Calm is, I’ll describe it as briefly as possible.
This January, I’m holding a 30-day virtual workshop for people who want to learn to meditate and develop basic mindfulness skills. The course is conducted mainly through email, with some audio components.
For years now I’ve been writing about what these simple skills can do for a person. I’ve experienced drastic changes in my sense of well-being. I don’t get bored any more, my work ethic is much better, I’m less self-conscious, and I can handle dilemmas and even physical pain much more calmly. I’m less reactive, more confident, better at problem-solving, and I find ordinary experiences like walking to the store and parking my car really enjoyable. Mindfulness has even improved my penmanship.
If you’re a regular reader you probably know I’ve covered both of these skillsets in Making Things Clear and You Are Here. The idea behind Camp Calm is to give you daily guidance in developing these skills, to help you bridge that gap between simply having the information and making it real in your life, by providing four additional supports:
1) Someone telling you what to do every day. This removes a major sticking point for new habits: not knowing exactly what to do. I will tell you.
2) A fun, event-based structure for learning these skills. Because Camp Calm happens within a limited time frame and has specific tasks to do, it’s easier to gear yourself up for it and to commit to doing the work.
3) Accountability and tracking. You will be keeping track of whether you’re doing each day’s work (it’s not much work, don’t worry) and I’ll be checking in with you throughout camp.
4) A community of people doing it along with you. Every day, other campers all around the world are joining you. When you sit to meditate, we’re sitting too. When you’re out in the world practicing mindfulness, we’re out there too.
Each day of the camp you’ll receive an email with a short reflection or lesson, plus the day’s assigned practices. Nothing you will have to do is particularly difficult, and it won’t take very long. The strategy is to keep the practices short but to do them consistently, in this case every day for a month.
Both the guides I mentioned above are included free in the camp. We’ll be working from each of them, reading a bit every day, and using what we learn in the real world.
There is also an audio element to the course on some of the days. I’ve recorded a few guided meditations in mp3 format, which we’ll all be doing on certain days, and which you can use on your own for the remainder of camp (and afterward).
How much time does it take?
The daily email will probably take about 5 minutes to read. Each day, I’ll assign a small amount of reading from the guides, probably about 10 or 15 minutes’ worth.
We will also be doing a short meditation every day. In the beginning it will only be a few minutes, and by the end of the month we’ll be experimenting with longer ones (up to 20 minutes).
Average time investment per day is about half an hour, which you can split up as you please. You could read the email at breakfast, read from the guides during a coffee break, and sit in meditation later on, or do it all first thing, or last thing—whatever works for your schedule.
We’ll be experimenting with some short mindful living practices too. These won’t take any additional time though, because you’ll be applying them to things you already do, such as walking, putting on clothes, preparing meals, and other things. They’re easy and often fun.
Camp begins January 4th and ends February 2nd, so it won’t begin until the holidays are over. But you can read ahead in the mean time.
What does it cost?
The Camp is $69 USD. If you already own You Are Here, you have the opportunity of taking the camp for $49. (You Are Here owners should have received an email with the details this morning. If you didn’t receive one, let me know.)
- The Camp Calm Orientation Booklet
- 30 brief lessons via email
- The digital guide You Are Here: A Modern Person’s Guide to Living in the Present (146 pages, in PDF, epub and Kindle)
- The digital guide Making Things Clear: A Brief Guide for People Who Think Meditation is Hard (80 pages, in PDF, epub and Kindle)
- 3 audio guided meditations, in MP3 format, sent throughout the course
- Your questions answered by me, as quickly and helpfully as I can
By the end of camp, you’ll have an established daily meditation practice, the capacity to bring mindfulness to virtually every moment, and almost certainly a much clearer mind. My goal is to give you the best possible start to 2016.
If you’re interested, register at the link below, and you will be sent everything you need. Spots are limited because I need to be able to answer all campers’ questions in a timely manner.
Register for Camp Calm here SOLD OUT!
You can download your welcome package right away. This is going to be a ton of fun and I hope you’ll join us.
UPDATE (12/22/2015): Camp Calm’s inaugural season is sold out. Because it was so popular I will be holding another season in the spring. Click here if you would like to be kept up to date.