Do you know how to meditate? Something like: Sit still. Quiet the mind. Achieve wisdom to solve life’s issues.
Mediation is Hard
When I sit still and try to calm my mind I think about:
- The 1980s sitcom Designing Women
- How to convince people that feminism is about equality, using Designing Women as an illustration
- How best to word a particular blog post
- What soundtrack I would use to describe my life if ever interviewed for Vanity Fair
What I cannot do is sit and take deep breaths and relax.
Relaxing is Hard
The other day I was in Tai Chi class and the instructor held my hand up and told me to let it fall once he let go. Don’t try to slow it down. Just release it.
I lowered my hand. With caution. And told him that letting go really isn’t my “thing.” (Over-analyzing, on the other hand, is totally my “thing.”)
Listening, Parenting, and Slowing Down are Hard
Today I was listening to NPR’s TED Radio Hour and came across a program about slowing down. Well, not at first. See, at first I listed to a program about listening. Then about parenting. Then about slowing down.
10-day Meditation Challenge
Then I came to meditation. The focus was on Andy Puddicombe, founder of Headspace.
I went to the Headspace website (theres also an app) and signed up for the free trial, which, to my dismay, is a 10-day program. The issue is that my kids will be home for several of those days. I used my standard internal argument to talk myself out of it, which is that I should put it off until they’re back in school full time. But that’s bullshit. And not how life works.
Instead, I’m gonna do it. I’m taking some time off in August (a rarity for me), and this will be a good way for me to focus on slowing down…and on not buying things online.
Day 1 Lesson: An Intro to Meditation
Day 1 was a 10-minute introduction to meditation for those of us who are meditation ding dongs. We focused on the sounds around us. (For me, this was the sound of sawing since we’re finishing up my latest home-improvement project.) We checked in with our bodies. (I felt my shoulders descend slightly from my ears, as that’s how I hold them when I’m uptight, meaning always.) We took deep breaths. (I thought about Eskayel fabrics and textiles.)
I felt like a failure because I was not at all blissed out or mentally calm. But Andy said it’s normal for the mind to wander and that we should just realize it’s wandering and get back to it. Isn’t that really a metaphor for life? You eff up and you just get back to trying to do better.
So, can I do this 10 days in a row? Probably not. But there’s a pause button, so I can stop it, do what I have to do, and then get back on track. Wanna do it with me? You’ll probably look really zen by comparison.
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