Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Busy-mind month

Saturday: 35 minutes sitting
Sunday: 25 minutes sitting
Monday: 25 minutes sitting
Tuesday: 35 minutes sitting
Wednesday: 25 minutes sitting

I put a “bail-out gong” on my meditation timer so that if things were going badly at 25 minutes, I could, well, bail out. Things have been going kind of badly lately! I blame it on December, a month during which I always seem to fall apart in some way, and on Twitter, a social platform whose only apparent purpose is to make me angry at everyone and everything.

I have been taking Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays off of Twitter for a little while, NOT in the sense of imposing a strict new rule or a New Life Plan but just as sort of a “every other day seems like a good time for a mental-health break.” That is helpful, but I don’t quite know what to do about the December problem. It’s just a distracting time, even when you’re a holiday minimalist like me. All I ever want to do is lie around—it seems like everyone should get one month a year to do that, and why not this one?—but I still have to work and feed myself and think about what to get people for Christmas and stuff.

Friday, December 6, 2019


Tuesday: 35 minutes sitting
Wednesday: 35 minutes sitting
Thursday: 35 minutes sitting
Friday: 35 minutes sitting

Somehow a good portion of my job now is researching and writing blog posts about things I had very little prior knowledge of—I would love to tell you all about it, but it would make my clients unhappy, since the posts are all under someone else’s byline. (Oh, if you knew all the Online Things that are secretly my doing!) Anyway it sort of drains my energy for writing these little, unpaid journal-style posts.

I guess I need some clickbaity premise to start from—like 4 Ways Meditation Has Changed My Life So Far, and 4 Ways It Definitely Hasn’t—to provide the proper framework and motivation. That’s probably also a better way to build a blog audience, except that I don’t particularly want a blog audience, just an outlet to say stuff now and then, to you people.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Dopamine binge

Tuesday: 35 minutes sitting
Wednesday: 35 minutes sitting
Thursday: 20 minutes sitting
Friday: 20 minutes sitting
Saturday: 25 minutes sitting
Sunday: 30 minutes sitting
Monday: 35 minutes sitting

We had a nice but decadent holiday weekend, which probably crossed over into being self-destructive—but for me “self-destructive” means I ate a lot of bread and stayed up too late watching TV and skipped a swim and meditated less, not that I was, like, shooting heroin. But I need to remember: This is what happens when I don’t take a day off work for three or four solid weeks! A tired, deprived brain inevitably goes on a dopamine binge.

I have a plan to spread out the next huge work project that should help a little.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Slowing my roll

Sunday: 35 minutes sitting
Monday: 35 minutes sitting

I reread Eat, Pray, Love, but it didn’t have the stuff I thought I remembered about trying to find a happy medium of jaw tension or whatever. (Must have been some other memoir involving meditation; those are pretty much my jam, and I know I’ve read a few.) EPL is a really good book, though, and this time I identified a lot more with the Pray section that’s focused on meditation. (Last time I remember liking the Eat section best; my guess is that the Love chapters will never not be at least a tiny bit annoying for various reasons.)

Rereading a book I know I like was so nice that I then reread Eleanor & Park and have started into A Handmaid’s Tale. All part of the “Go easy on my tired brain” master plan.

I’ve also decided to slow my roll with meditating; rather than jumping back to 45 minutes now that my big project is done, I want to sit just as long as I can without having to change positions at least once. It’s so much more pleasant. My legs have still been falling asleep, but not in a way that bothers or distracts me. I’ll try to ease back to longer sessions as my body allows it.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Unexpected data points

Tuesday: 35 minutes sitting
Wednesday: 35 minutes sitting
Thursday: 35 minutes sitting
Friday: 35 minutes sitting
Saturday: 35 minutes sitting

Mik is notoriously not much of a communicator, so as his loving mother I’ve been living on crumbs of information since he left for college in August. It’s hard work to piece together a coherent narrative about someone’s life from (a) texts saying “OK,” (b) phone calls saying “Good,” (c) the occasional social media image of the back of his head, and (d) an app that spits out swimming results (which don’t lie but are nonetheless tricky to extrapolate into well-being).

But last week I got a big, meaty chunk of data.

Whoever is in charge of the Kenyon swimming Instagram put up a whole post just about Mik after he tied for 32nd in one of his races and had to do a swim-off for the last available slot in finals. They said he had grit! They said he made them proud! They used his preferred nickname (which is not “Mik,” lol)! They called him the “MVP”! They posted a video showing him absolutely destroying the competition with a bunch of kids yelling in support!

I’m thinking you simply don’t post glowing praise about the kid who gets 32nd place unless you’ve noticed that he’s a hard worker and a good person. And he clearly wouldn’t have a charming nickname unless he was fitting in well with the team. So I think he must be…actually good.

If both my children are now nice and happy adults, I believe that means I’ve officially graduated from parenting with honors, correct?

Monday, November 18, 2019

The goose egg

Thursday: 30 minutes sitting
Friday: 0.00
Saturday: 30 minutes sitting
Sunday: 30 minutes sitting
Monday: 35 minutes sitting

I feel dumb for having a goose egg on my list up there. There’s no good reason; I almost think the meditation-in-the-face-of-overwork plan was going too well and I was cheerfully doing all things in moderation and living my best life off Twitter and randomly decided it didn’t matter and told myself that as long as I was getting my other priorities achieved I could surely go easy on myself in whatever other ways I wanted. Or something.

What would really be dumb is to dwell on it or let it derail me, so enough said about that. The important thing is that so far everyone in this house is surviving November. (Frankly, we are DOMINATING November, and you should be proud of us.)

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Thinking about my face

Tuesday: 30 minutes sitting
Wednesday: 30 minutes sitting

I’m feeling much less stressed, but that’s probably 75 percent giving up Twitter, 20 percent nice enough weather to take walks, and only 5 percent tweaks to meditation routine. But that stuff helped, too. My little kickboard/pillow/zafu setup is extremely comfortable, 30 minutes is a really nice amount of time, and I’m starting to feel more settled as a whole.

A weird problem that has cropped up is that I’m struggling to find a happy medium between clenched jaw and loose-and-drooling jaw. As a result, I can’t stop thinking about my face. I’m sure this new nonsense will work itself out, but in the meantime I remember Eat, Pray, Love talks about something like this, so I think I’ll reread that just for solidarity.