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.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Problem-solving Q&A

Sunday: 25 + 30 minutes sitting
Monday: 30 minutes sitting

I remembered that I am my own coach, and here are my own coach’s answers to some of the questions that have been troubling me.

Q: How can I avoid feeling tortured while meditating during times of stress?
A: Plan for two 30-minute sessions. And set your meditation timer to also give a little clunk at 25 minutes so you can bail out early if you really feel like it.

Q: How can I make more time to work and still keep up my practice?
A: You are only human, and if you have to do only one session a day, that’s OK for now. Think big-picture. But definitely give up Twitter at the same time.

Q: How can I get more comfortable and stop my legs from falling asleep?
A: Shorter sessions, plus a complex piece of engineering involving a large cushion, a zafu, and a kickboard.

Q: Is meditation a break for my brain or a bunch of extra work for my brain?
A: Just chill a bit and behave as if it’s a break.


Saturday, November 9, 2019

Helping or hurting?

Thursday: 30 minutes sitting
Friday: 45 minutes sitting
Saturday: 45 minutes sitting

My zafu came in the mail (YAY), so I jumped back to 45-minute meditation sessions, but I am still having a hard time. This morning’s session felt like torture, to be blunt, and I don’t want to start associating my meditation time with negative emotions, let alone torture.

I really think it’s because I’m working so much. Is working myself into the ground just incompatible with a meditation practice? Because I need to work myself into the ground right now—it’s kind of what I signed up for, career-wise, and it’s only for another week and a half. So my question is this: Is meditation actually a rest for my brain, and therefore helping, or is it just adding to the workload already going on up there, and therefore hastening my spiral into insanity?

I gave some serious thought to cutting WAY back on meditation time until after my deadline, just to have an extra half-hour a day to work. But then I realized I hadn’t considered the option of giving up Twitter instead, which is probably also a half-hour of my day, and which also leaves me extremely agitated. So I guess I’ll do that first.