Let’s just say that I’m not exactly the calmest person you will ever meet. It’s almost physically painful for me to sit through a movie. Forget yoga. An entire hour spent moving slowly on a 2×4 foot mat? Probably not. I’ll just go for a run and follow it up with a few bottles of Sam Adams, thanks.
I rarely run out of things to think about, talk about, dream about or plan for. Most of the time, I consider this an advantage in life. Other times, like during the argument with my husband that ended in hearing, “Sometimes you get so wrapped up in planning for the future that you miss the now,” I realize I need to slow down.
I decided to try meditation. The hardest part, I found, wasn’t ridding my mind of the current day’s events, or of the following day’s to-do list, it was halting the playlist of bad music that apparently runs nonstop through my subconscious.
“Breathe”, I would tell myself, “slow down” I calmly commanded, only to be interrupted by Simon and Garfunkle’s 59th Street Bridge Song, “you’re moving too fast, got to make this moment last, da da da da, feeling groooovy.”
Deep breath, you’ve got this, I repeated. “Let your mind go blank”, I mentally instructed. “Your mind is a blank space”…
“I’ve got a blank space baby, and I’ll write your name!” Taylor Swift. Double shit.
My friend Allison is an instructor in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction- what would Allison do? Probably make like a monk. What would a monk do? Chant. Perfect, I can chant.
Unfortunately, I found myself chanting Allison’s name. “Al- EE- Son. Al- EE- Son.” It had a nice monk-like ring to it, and went well with deep breathing, but was inescapably weird. Even, as my husband would say, for me.
I finally settled on the mantra, “Content in this Moment” to accompany my meditation practice. And it turns out that although I practice it for only a few minutes a day, meditation has made me a better mom. Not only in remaining calm through the trying times, but in being truly present during the good times, in appreciating the many perfect moments in the often messy and imperfect days.
- Morning melt-down over who picked the last cartoon/breakfast/car seat? Content in this Moment.
- Making dinner while our two year old hangs on my leg, and our 6 year old hurls a football past my head? Content in this Moment.
- Trying to reschedule clients from home due to a sick kid while one kid cries because they can’t go to daycare and another cries because she doesn’t want to go to daycare by herself and the bathroom is still in a post-apocalyptic state from two days of a stomach virus invasion? Content in this Moment, Bitches! Whoop, whoop! *
Our days, I have realized, may be full and busy and fast, but I get to choose each moment. The dishes and finances and in-box will be there tomorrow and each day after; the little girl on the couch asking me to sit and read Alexander with her for the tenth time that day will not. And someday, I will miss the chaos, although probably not the football in the pot of chili. So Namaste, friends. The kids are asleep and I’m off scrape food remnants from the kitchen wall and bleach bomb the bathroom. Maybe grab a Sam Adams or two while I’m at it.
For less rambling/more practical advice on mindfulness and meditation visit www.fromwithinwellness.com.**
*In full disclosure, I was anything but content in that moment. I was on the verge of losing my shit. But mentally repeating those words allowed me to focus on one little emergency at a time until (relative) calm returned to our household.
**Also, fewer swear words