When people are starting to learn how to meditate, they very commonly say that they simply can’t do it, they aren’t able to keep their minds still. Sure, other people can do it, but their minds won’t sit still. Which of course is the whole point, the entire effort. I’d bet that no one can do it when they start. Even people who have been meditating for decades have those times when their minds won’t sit still, despite their deep experience.
But it’s really hard, and uncomfortable. There’s almost a kind of physical discomfort with it, and ironically the discomfort produces a kind of knee-jerk rush to get away from it, to distract yourself. To jump up from the mat. To turn on a podcast. To call someone. To open the refrigerator door. To hop in the car and just go somewhere, anywhere. To open a game on your phone or computer, to click on Netflix. Anything but this.
So at this point I’m not even trying to meditate, I’m just trying to bring mindfulness back into my life. That’s all. Just fully do whatever I’m doing, and do one thing at a time. That’s all. And it’s so hard. My monkey mind is like static electricity, flinging outward and crackling and grabbing onto anything nearby and pulling it close. My memory of the last time I rebooted my life with mindfulness is that it didn’t feel so hard, and in fact that was the glory of it; by being simply mindful, the other changes slipped into that stream pretty easily. Maybe I’m misremembering.
But yesterday I had an otherwise-good first day of returning to myself. It didn’t feel centering or comforting or restorative to my deep self, but it was still satisfying to end the day having done it. I started my day with a green smoothie — the easiest place to start. Almond milk, a banana, two handfuls of fresh spinach, a fresh peach, reliably delicious and restorative. It’s been a few weeks since I had a green smoothie, and it did what it always does for me: it energized me and made me feel semi-virtuous. 🙂 I did a half-hour yin yoga class designed specifically for post-travel, and BOY did that help my aching body. I ate a slice of cold watermelon, I drank lots of water, and I ate a healthy dinner, leftovers from the meal Marc made for me when I got home Monday night, tofu and fresh corn and black beans and chopped onion and bits of habanero, minus the rice he served it over on Monday. So I ate all living food, hydrated my poor tired body, and stretched my tight muscles. All done with a frantic monkey mind. Even during the yin yoga class, with those long, deep asanas, my mind was jumping and frantic.
But I did it all. And maybe today my mind will cooperate a little more. Maybe today some of the silt will settle. Since I am motivated by data, I weighed myself yesterday so I’d have something to track, and while it was horrifying to see where I’m starting [again], it’s also helpful to me. What matters more is that my clothes fit and my body feels comfortable once again, as it did before the election, but having that bit of objective data helps me lean in when I’m feeling wavery in some way.
The quiet here is so marvelous, and most especially in the mornings. My grandchildren Oliver and Lucy have distinctly different wake-up styles; Oliver wants a long, slow wake-up, cuddling and coming to the day slowly, and Lucy wakes up ready! to! play! Katie says that perfectly describes their personalities, and I agree. I’m like Oliver; I like a long, quiet wake-up. I like to quietly make my coffee, and sit in silence with my own thoughts — or maybe not my thoughts! Maybe just inner quiet, looking at trees, listening to birds. Maybe reading some poetry. That’s how I like to wake up, and Heaventree makes it extra wonderful. (The mornings Marc is here, if he gets up first I don’t get any silence at all; he always reminds me of a little kid who has been impatiently waiting. When I get up he rushes to tell me all kinds of things. It’s worth getting up early just to have my silence . . . )
Last night I wound a skein of yarn that I won in a giveaway, and watched the first season of Broadchurch. How is it that I didn’t know about this show? Thanks to Marnie for mentioning it, wow. It’s streaming on Netflix if you haven’t seen it and don’t get BBC. I think I’m going to find a stranded pattern (socks maybe? A hat?) that I can combine with a fabulous orange skein I have, and cast on tonight while I watch the second season. But first, my green smoothie, and a plan for today’s yoga class. Still water, y’all. One thing at a time. Peace.
Mindfulness project, day 2.