Oooommmm. Breathe in. Breathe out. Ooooommmmm.
Just that much slows me down. For the past few weeeks, I’ve found myself wondering what actual meditation would do. Maybe I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole, because except for a few short isolated moments in my history, I’ve hated meditating. I do NOT have the time to sit still and, Kee-Rice-T, it’s so BOR-RRING. At the end of my aerobics’ classes, when the students were laid out, eyes closed, breathing deep, I’d lead a short meditation. Speaking in a soothing voice (which you will get to hear soon on my podcast) I’d say, "Visualize orange liquid flowing into your body, gathering up stresses and toxins, then flowing out…" Even then, I’d be watching the clock. Relaxation is all well and good, but five minutes is enough because I HAVE PLACES TO GO, PEOPLE.
From whence springeth this urge to embrace nothingness? Maybe I’m suddenly wise and see what a waste of time pushing the envelope is? No, that couldn’t be it. Probably it’s just middle age: I’m 51 and soooooo Type A (T.A.) I make other T.A.’s look sleepy. Up till now, I’ve loved my T.A.-ness. I get a lot done, nobody pushes me around, I can efficiently smell a rose in under 15 seconds. This used to please me. These days I’m wondering what’s the point?
My efficiency grew over the years from having to be somewhere On Time to do something Official for someone else, usually for pay, giving said efficiency
purpose and meaning. I hate to admit it, but I definitely wouldn’t be here now (get it?) if the pay hadn’t stopped. Thank goodness it did. My life in the states was a big fat circle: making money, spending money. I am tremendously efficient at both. So efficient, I always ended up right back where I started: empty. There’s purpose and meaning for ya.
A NOTE: My life in the states was by all accounts perfect: my delicious family, so many loving friends, I enjoyed my job tremendously. I had the best landlord anyone could want. The community, the culture, theatre, the roads, the ocean, the bridges. I loved it all. Looking back, my priorities were sliding out of whack and I hadn’t noticed. When asked my priorities, I said, "My health, my husband, my kids, my work. In that order." But my actions said, "My work, my kids, my husband, myself." Work and kids were loudest, so I appeased them first because I couldn’t take the noise. I’d lost touch with, as I think so many people in their peak earning years do, a quiet place. I was all T.A. with no down time.
Living in Costa Rica has given quiet back to me. I’m not talking about noise. It’s noisy here. Just this morning, some guy drove all the way up the mountain to sit in front of our house selling something over the loudspeakers on top of his car. Yeah, guys earn a living tying HUMONGOUS speakers on top of their cars and then announcing stuff on it while they drive around. So I’m definitely not talking about lack of noise. I’m talking about a sense of quiet. The whole country is imbued with it. You don’t even have to get quiet to hear it. It’s just here. It settles over you.
I’m realizing this is exactly what made me love Key West so passionately all those years. That Changes in Latitude feeling. I vividly remember getting off the plane, back in Key West after a trip to the real world… You could literally smell it in the air, hear the wind whisper, "no worries, welcome home." Like voo-doo.
Key West still has the voo-doo. I just lost touch with it. I couldn’t hear it anymore. I know "no matter where you go, there you are" and all that… but I had to leave Key West to get back the quiet. The real estate frenzy burned me out and left a loud ringing in my ears.
During that frenzy, so many long-time residents and Conchs sold-out and moved away. They acted like they couldn’t get out fast enough. We didn’t understand it until we did it, too. We had assumed they were all about "take the money and run." Now I think they were running away from the noise, looking for the quiet they knew before.
I found the quiet, I like it, and I want to learn how to keep hearing it. Meditation seems the natural path. Funny, Keith wrote a comment on my blog yesterday suggesting X take up meditation to lower his blood pressure and recommended Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabbat Zinn. Seems a good place to start. If you are a meditator and have suggestions, I’m all ears.
BTW, T.M. is Transcendental Meditation. A very important person in my life was a devotee and she had the calm that comes with the quiet. So T.M. was my first stop. Turns out, T.M. is not for everyday people like you and me. Oh no. It’s Special Expensive Meditation for Discerning Meditators. That really gets my goat. Even if I had $2500 to pay for a mantra, I wouldn’t. I’ll just make up my own mantra. Goat. That’s my mantra. If you want one, let me know. I’ll pick you out a good one for free.
My kid (she’s 5) meditates. Started around age 3. If she bumps her head or scrapes her knee, she closes her eyes and breathes deeply and thinks of her favorite color. When I (age 40) start to freak out (which, lately, is often) she calmly tells me, “Mom, you have to stop and breathe and calm down. Take deep breaths and think of a meadow filled with flowers.” I do try that…and when she’s not looking I take Tylenol PM and hope for the best.
Wow. Kids are so smart!!! She can teach me a thing or two when she gets here!
THANK YOU for that reminder. That’s exactly what I need right now to calm myself and stay focused.
I went to Jaco yesterday and panicked over all the people that are showing up here for Semana Santa. It seems to double every year.
You inspire me girl! Thanks. Teri
I think it’s best not to talk so much about meditation but just do it. And you are right there is no reason to pay anything for mantras..simply follow your breath in and out, sit upright, observe thoughts as they pop up and then send them on there way bringing focus back to the breath. Now I understand the cartoon in the NEW YORKER where one old monk sitting next to a young monk says “There is nothing else” or something along those lines. But how rewarding that stillness, connecting with our being can be. And how learning to slow down ans “smell” the roses will enrich our life in so many ways, make everything your meditation, just bring attention to what ever you’re doing! Dishes, smelling the dog or was it the kids? Zinns books are wonderful and I think you would also like the writing of Thiche Nat Han…blessings!
Thank you, Keith. My mom has all TNH’s books, so I’m looking forward to those. I have to catch the kids to smell them. The dogs come to me… pura vida! slowing down…
I like the goat mantra!!
Thank you. You can use it if you want!