Meditation Conversation

Yesterday was fairly stressful because I sent out that column about our decision to move to Long Island and I heard back from a LOT of my friends, all of whom were just really shocked and many of whom said such wonderful things about our presence in their lives...which naturally, made me feel guilty for leaving and disappointing them and then I started to question our decision and subsequently didn't sleep very well. This morning, my coffee seems to have gone undiluted directly into my veins so I'm a little jittery and my hands are shaking. After the usual morning battle to get everyone dressed and fed and in pigtails, I headed up to the school where I read for nearly two hours to the First Graders and talked with them about the concept of bravery. ("Can anyone tell me the definition of 'bravery'?" "Um, like when you do something that makes you brave?") Then I went to my physical therapy appointment at 11:15, only the appointment was scheduled for 10:30 so I had to reschedule for tomorrow, which is a big bummer because it means I have to reschedule the lunch I had planned with my friend.

I came home and threw in a load of laundry and watered the plants outside, because it's --HELLO-- going to be 91 degrees here today. And then I found an ancient Lean Cuisine in the freezer and nuked it and sat down to eat it, by now in a thoroughly dark mood.

But, see, I have been re-reading Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat. Pray. Love." and in it she talks a great deal about meditation and the serenity one can achieve, even in moments of great stress and upheaval, through its practice.

I decided to try it. Because, you know, my kids really pick up on my stress level and react accordingly, which is to say that as soon as they figure out I'm about to have a nervous breakdown, they pull out their recorders and give an impromptu concert until I start ripping my eyebrows out.

So, I found a cool spot on the floor and sat down, cross-legged and closed my eyes.

"Clear your mind."

"This is me, clearing my mind, which always makes me think of one of the Etch-A-Sketch things... wait, come back."

"Clear your mind."

"I'm focusing on the darkness, the stillness... except for..is that SCOUT barking? Because I am going to KILL him! Oh, no, that's not Scout, that's some random other barking dog, not even related to me. Thank God there are dogs in this neighborhood who bark, too. I wonder how our new neighbors are going to like Scout. In fact, I wonder how we're going to get Scout to New York. Maybe Coop can fly..."

"Okay, wait. Back to darkness. Stillness. I'm relaxing my shoulders. Maybe I should get a massage. Because I have the gift certificate and you know I won't be able to use that once we move. Of course, I've had it for four or five years now--I wonder if it has an expiration date? Man, THAT would make me really mad. I mean, Coop paid good money for that thing. I should go over there and demand my massage and tell them that we'll never again..."

"Wait. Stop borrowing trouble and focus on the stillness. The quiet of your mind. The relaxing..."

"I'm thirsty."

"SHHH!"

"Well, I can't help it! I AM. It must have been that frozen dinner. Gak. That was terrible. And I bet it was like a whole day's worth of sodium and it was like eating a salty tennis ball...all that salt. Like the ocean, really. Which is very WET AND salty. I'd hate to be one of those people floating in the baking sun on a raft for days waiting to be rescued. I mean, I guess you'd have to drink that salt water, right? But I guess it would be relaxing to lie there and listen to the slap, slap of the water and that gentle...rocking... motion. Slap, slap..."

"!"

"Oh, wow. Okay that may just be a little TOO much relaxation! Dang, now I have a crick in my neck. And ick, was I DROOLING?"

"Okay, time to get serious about this meditation thing. Relax, think stillness, clear your mind."

"Um."

"RELAX. THINK STILLNESS. CLEAR YOUR MIND."

"But..."

"RELAX! THINK STILLNESS!! CLEAR YOUR MIND!"

"You don't have to scream. I'm TRYING."

"RELAX. THINK STILLNESS. CLEAR YOUR MIND."

"BUT I'M STILL THIRSTY!"

"Would you stop whining? Are you trying to de-stress or what?? Now RELAX. THINK STILLNESS. CLEAR YOUR FREAKING MIND!"

"You are not the boss of me. I bet if I were riding my bike on the trainer I could get a drink. And some exercise. Instead of sitting here thinking about how I left the sprinkler on all this time."

"All righty then. Game over."

"Yup."

"It's weird, I don't feel a bit refreshed or de-stressed."

"Maybe I should try Yoga."

Comments

MadMad said…
That's exactly how *I* meditate, too!

Oh - and just in case: don't drink the salt water if you ever are left floating in the ocean; apparently all the salt dehydrates you faster.
hokgardner said…
That's how I meditate AND do yoga. When I said that to my best friend from childhood, who spent the summer on an ashram learning to be a yoga instructor, she said that it was proof that I needed to do yoga and meditate. Wha?

And does this mean we're not visiting the new knitting place tomorrow? How about Friday?
I hate mindfulness - it's irritating. Knitting is your form of meditation, Barb. Just stick with it.
Ei said…
I did the whole meditation thing for a bit after reading that book. I had a real hard time with it. I use guided meditation now.

I feel like I should crack a joke, but I don't have one in me. I can't be mindful when I try like that either. But I usually end up fixating on people that upset me, which really causes more stress.
DK said…
I love that book.

And, this induced another fit of giggles. Wow do I need some sleep.

That's pretty much how I meditate as well. There's another school of thought, though, that if you stop trying to control or resist your thoughts and just let them flow, they will ultimately lead you where you need to be.
Tenna Draper said…
okay barb, here's your mantra...

think with me now...

Knit one, purl one
Knit one, purl one

over and over...

(zzzz)
trek said…
Definitely worth a good snicker.
Mrs.Q said…
My yoga teacher said there's a reason it's called a "practice." Coz that's what it takes, and lots of it! Gilbert mentions a mantra that she used, Ham Sa - works wonders for me like nuthin' else. (Then again, so does K1 P1!) LOVED her book, though I ate an inordinate amount of Italian food while reading....