Everyone, I’ve been brooding.
It has not been pretty. It’s been days of unwashed hair, regular napping and whining about the things I need to do but haven’t actually done when I should really just admit that I have no intention of accomplishing anything more than this run on sentence.
In an advanced move of mental health, I decided that meditation was a step in the right direction.
I can’t even recall why, other than to say that I have been really working on creating a lovely start to my day. It’s a part of my regimen of self-love.
Oh. You don’t have one of those? Weird.
I work hard. As I am sure you do. I’ve noticed since
the launch of The Firecracker Foundation I was born that I have an issue with riding the waves of adrenaline like it’s not a tsunami of disorganization, deprivation and denial. Dishes stack up, bills go unpaid, and relationships suffer because I have the gift of single focus.
If in the first semester of the year I came home with a low grade in a class (Math. It was always in math class.), I would spend the next grading period going to tutoring, studying, taking crazy good notes and not failing. To no one’s surprise but my own, that grade would go up and inevitably, other grades would go down.
On the exterior, things go very well. I meet goals and exceed expectations. I accomplish something I’ve set out to do. I let nothing stand in my way.
Nothing. Not a solid night of much needed sleep. Not a single plate of breakfast food. Not an hour to myself or a clean load of warm laundry. Not a fucking thing because who needs rest, sustenance and good hygiene?
Not a person who’s working on something so STOP INTERRUPTING ME!
If you haven’t noticed yet, this is going to be one of those posts that feels like a rant until about the end when my emotions cool off. If you are not comfortable in the inner sanctum of my brain, I would like to direct you to the upper right hand corner red X. That is your escape hatch. Bon Voyage!
I decided about a month ago to delve into militant self-care. Some may call this discipline and boundaries but I don’t like people who use bad language. I decided that I needed to learn to nurture my laser focus with compassion for my mind, body and spirit.
Things like reading for leisure, midday yoga and meditation.
(A point of personal clarification: Facebook doesn’t count, day drinking is not yoga and napping is not meditation)
I honed in on what I would consider a regimen of self-love for the thing I struggle with the most right now.
They are just the worst. I hate their sunshiny faces. I hate waking up and I hate being woken up. I don’t want to rush off anywhere. I want coffee in bed and a good book to read. I want to write. I want to cuddle. I want quiet.
All things I can have.
With the exception of not waking up – hopefully, because I would be dead if I didn’t – I can make all of these things happen. I can require more quiet in my home. I can have coffee in bed. I can read, write and cuddle with my little dog if I just acknowledge that I need to wake up a little earlier to have it.
I choose. Or not.
I mapped out my office hours and started counting down the hours I was giving to the foundation. I had set out with a goal of 30 hours per week and I was exceeding it by
a few hours every week. I have placed margins around my meetings for preparation and follow through.
I made choices that felt like risks.
If I don’t respond to my constantly dinging notifications, will I still be able to coax success out of the foundation. If I’m not always right there, in the thick of it all, will it still be okay? It comes down to a simple reflection of ego. Do I really believe that I have to be in control of it all and if I do, what does that say about the people who work with me?
There is a culture that I set out to create. Who better to lead by example than me?
My life has begun to resemble that of a quirky, professional adult and I dig it.
Annd then the shoe dropped. Suddenly, the meditation practice I had welcomed into my life began to start grating on me. It itched. I didn’t want to sit. I started avoiding the comfortable spot in the corner of my sectional. I started to let the time slip by. I was having a full on, physical and emotional reaction to the very idea of sitting still and breathing.
What. The. Fuck.
I started to panic. I am trying to accomplish something here. I need peace. Why won’t my body let me have it? What kind of shit is this? What kind of person has an allergic reaction to mediation?
I started calling on the friends who knew something about meditation. Friends who teach yoga and meditation in their daily lives started getting messages from me like:
Hi there! I am having an allergic reaction to meditation. Is that a thing?
And then I went to therapy.
I sat in a comfy chair and regaled my therapist with all of the amazing ways I was taking care of myself. I rambled on and on about how good I was feeling about it even if it wasn’t perfect. I shared that my handy meditation app reports I’ve meditated for 3.5 hours. Even though I didn’t do it every day and I didn’t have a perfect system down, I felt like I was making progress. I told her that I loved the quiet space I was carving out for myself when my boys weren’t home but I hadn’t found a perfect way to protect that peace when they came home.
My boys + Quiet = not a thing.
I then expressed my concern with the physical rejection I felt towards the meditation I had been enjoying. 3.5 hours worth of enjoyment and suddenly my body was all – this is dumb and I don’t want to do it anymore.
After some discussion, she asked me if I noticed how many times I’d used the phrase “not perfect”.
The discussion led me to a memory.
He used to knock me out of my chair. I would be sitting at the table eating dinner and then I wouldn’t be. I’d be on the floor. Sometimes the chair would land next to me and other times, the strike would come so fast the chair would sit unaffected by its loss of me. It was like one of those magic acts where the table cloth is pulled out from underneath all of the dishes with dramatic flare.
I would find myself on the floor with a stinging cheek and hurt pride. The table would be awkwardly silent. Violence has a funny way of inviting silence. I would slowly gather myself up on little legs, right my chair and sit back down at the table.
This time I would be better. This time I would stay focused on what mattered. This time I would chew with my mouth tightly closed and then I would be worthy to stay at the table.
But I would forget. My mind would dance around with the happy thoughts of the day or I’d get squirmy as 7 year olds do. I’d dig my fork into another bite only to find myself on the floor again with a stinging cheek and a fallen chair.
And I would get up again. Usually it only took two solid smacks out of my chair before I remembered that my mouth was meant to be closed.
After my father died, my mother took me to a dentist to have my teeth checked and I was diagnosed with a cross-bite and an overbite. It was a feat of physical control for me to close my mouth when I ate.
Single goddamned focus.
I was reminded by my therapist that meditation is creating new neurological pathways in a brain told a violently reinforced lesson: You are not worthy to sit at this table.
And every time I settle into my couch for meditation, it is the equivalent of me getting up off the floor and saying, “Yes, I fucking am.”
Love from the girl who got up,
PS – I’ll have more on what I’ve learned about mediation in my next Open Letter.
PPS – Click here to Vote for The Firecracker Foundation in the Big Bang-quet Challenge!