After reading Pema Chödrön’s When Things Fall Apart (which I highly recommend), I have been trying to meditate on a daily basis. The word “daily” is subject to interpretation. Over the weekend, for example, I did not formally meditate, but I did pretend I was meditating while snuggling my kids. Totally counts.
I am home now with a napping toddler and messy house, and could have made the house less messy, but I prioritized meditation. I sat down cross-legged on my bed, with a pillow behind my back, put my palms on top of my thighs, and directed my gaze about four feet in front of me, looking slightly down. I always thought I had to meditate with my eyes open, but Pema suggests meditating with eyes open. That has been working great for me.
Here’s a recap what happened while I meditated:
- The music from one of my favorite songs from Les Mis drifted through my head until I realized I was humming a song about dead Frenchmen to myself.
- A few seconds of emptiness
- Why did I eat so much chocolate? Now my stomach hurts.
- Maybe four seconds of silence in my head
- Wow, it’s so much easier to meditate when I’m tired. I don’t think as much. I’m so glad I went swimming this morning during Julian’s swim lesson. I’m not thinking as much because I’m tired. Fuck, I’m thinking about NOT thinking, which means I’m thinking…
- I’m going to blog about this when I’m done
- My gaze drifted upwards and I looked at a photo of Pippa on my dresser for at least twenty seconds. Then I realized I was admiring my beautiful daughter and returned my gaze to the floor.
- Moment of quiet.
- Then I imagined a big cartoon image of a brain being attacked from all sides by little monsters squishing it together.
- Moment of quiet.
- I started thinking about the episode of Shameless that I watched last night with Nathan.
- My neck got itchy.
- I scratched my neck.
- I thought about the fact that I was scratching my neck.
- I congratulated myself for thinking about the act of scratching my neck because at least I was thinking about something happening in the Here and Now.
TIME CHECK: 4 minutes and 11 seconds OH MY GOD HOW CAN IT ONLY HAVE BEEN FOUR MINUTES AND ELEVEN SECONDS
- I’ll call the blog post about meditating “Adventures With Meditation” and isn’t that cute because my podcast is Adventures With Postpartum Depression and oh my god, I’m so lame.
- Moment of calm serenity
- Congratulate myself on the moment of calm serenity
- Realize that during the moment of calm serenity, my brain was not actually quiet. Instead, I was replaying a song from Moana.
- I start thinking about the podcast interview I’m doing tomorrow and rehearse what I’ll say to the guest before we start the interview because it has been so long since I did a podcast interview and gulp, I’m a bit nervous…
TIME CHECK: 6 minutes and 39 seconds – Not bad, not bad at all! I’m rocking this meditation!
- Pema suggests we direct our gaze downwards and four to five feet ahead but that means I’m looking at this pile of dirty laundry on the floor and criticizing myself for leaving laundry on the floor.
- I quickly jot a note down about this on my iPhone and smile when the phone interprets Pema Chödrön as “Emma Shojin.”
- It feels good to ventilate my brain. Pema uses the word “ventilate” a lot. That makes sense to me.
- What should me and Julian do the Wednesday after next when his class is on winter break?
- I don’t seem to spend a lot of time dwelling on the past when I meditate but I sure spend a lot of time rehearsing and planning the future.
- When will Julian wake up from his nap?
- Will I have enough time to write after meditating?
- Should I do laundry first?
- When will my dad bring Pippa home?
- Did I remember to schedule the next Meetup for my peer support group?
- Moment of quiet.
- Then: an intense visual image of a glass of Diet Coke and a strong craving for soda.
TIME CHECK: 10 minutes and 53 seconds
- If you want to be immortal, all you have to do is spend the rest of your life meditating because time passes so slowly while meditating, you effectively become immortal.
- I am so good at relaxing into the experience of meditation and being forgiving of all my thoughts.
- My gaze wanders the room.
- Intense feeling of boredom.
- Quick visual memory of a person who treated me poorly.
TIME CHECK: 13 minutes and 23 seconds
Mic drop. I’m out!