Today was a first for me. I was invited to go to a meditation class by one of my nearest and dearest friends. If you know me in real life, and not just from my blog posts ranting about road rage, you may know that meditation is probably something I should look into.
Actually, if you only know me from my ranting road rage posts, you still probably think I should look into meditation.
Anyway, despite the last minute invite, I jumped at the chance to meet my friend, Katie. I was just talking about how I needed to find ways to relax and unwind that didn’t involve booze or self-loathing. And I had just been complaining to Katie about how little I’d seen her lately. So it just made sense for me to drop all of my exciting Sunday plans (laundry and grocery shopping) to drive half an hour and get my brain untangled.
The studio itself was exactly what I expected. All beige walls and blonde hardwood and natural light. If any place had a chance at relaxing me, it was this place. Katie and I found a spot at the back of the studio room and arranged our mats and blankets. Watched the other people who looked like they knew what they were doing. Wondered why some of them were sitting on gray brick-type things (later wished I’d gotten a brick thing). Katie’d never done any meditation either, but has read a lot about it and that was enough to convince me it was something worth trying.
The word of the day was mindfulness. Being mindful of yourself, your body, your thoughts. Being mindful about how all these things work together to form your day, your week, your life. We do exercises where we pay close attention to the way our breaths fill our lungs, the way the air puffs out and the chest deflates as we exhale. We think about our toes and legs and belly and chest and butt and shoulders and neck. We bring it all back to our breath. Over and over again. Think about our breathing. That’s the goal: clearing our heads. Not letting anything else in. This goes well for a while. Though I admit to Katie later on, that I kept congratulating myself for thinking of nothing but my breath, then having to chastise myself for thinking about how I wasn’t thinking about anything but my breathing. And she admitted that she did the same, and she was also keeping a running count of how many times she thought about something else when she was supposed to be thinking about nothing. It’s harder than it sounds.
Another exercise we did was one that sounded a lot like praying to me. You were supposed to focus on someone you loved and chant four sentences to them. I don’t remember the sentences because I was thinking, “Oh shit. Who should I think about? My husband? Well what if I should think about one of the kids? Yeah, but which one, Bec? You can’t just pick one because then what about the other one? Fine. I’ll think about the husband. Wait–maybe I should think about Katie because she brought me here and that was a super nice thing for her to do and she’s a pretty important person in my life. Would that be weird? I’ll pick Hubs–wait what the hell are we supposed to be chanting?”
I have no idea where I get this guilt from. It’s not like the instructor told us to pick the person we loved the most or like anyone can read my thoughts or like later on I was going to broadcast my decision all over the blogosphere. Shit, I wasn’t even raised Catholic. Where does the guilt come from?!?
Anyway, after we told this person we loved all these beautiful thoughts for a while, we were supposed to then think about ourselves, and chant these things to us. Each one. Individually. But all I could think was, “This isn’t going to work!” Because I am an asshole, who needs to learn how to shut the fuck up.
But I am an open-minded asshole. And Katie asked me to try meditation for two weeks. And, I love Katie and I think maybe she’s onto something, here. So we agreed. For two weeks, we are going to practice. There is even a nifty free app you can download to help you out. So, here’s to 2016 being the year I finally get that bitchy inner voice of mine to shut up.