Do you ever have an a-ha moment that leaves you wishing that whatever it is had never actually occurred to you, but had remained locked in the box marked ‘Blissful Ignorance’?
Well, I do. All the time.
Maybe it’s part of being an over-thinker.
Maybe it’s because until now I’ve been lacking in self-awareness.
Or perhaps I’m just weird.
Anyway, as I get older, as inevitably I do, my memory is becoming shitter and shitter still. If walking determinedly from one place to another and then standing perfectly still wearing a bemused expression ever becomes an Olympic event, I’m a shoe-in for a medal. Ditto for the Where-the-fuck-did-I-put-that World Championships.
So, in an attempt to stem the flow of stuff I used to know into the Post-menopausal Blackhole — and as part of the therapy needed for me to learn to tame the Black Dog — I’m having a go at Mindfulness Meditation. Just twenty minutes a day of focussed brainwork, specifically designed to help me be more calm and aware and focussed. Brilliant.
I’m a complete novice at this. I’ve never even attended a yoga class. But I’m learning things about myself already and I’d like to share my first few realisations.
As the man with the oh-so-soothing voice croons: ‘Just focus on the breath. Notice the rhythm. Feel the motion of your body. Relax into the regularity of the pattern…’ this is what happens inside my skull:
What pattern? What regularity?
No rhythm. I have no rhythm.
How deeply should I be breathing? Crap, I’m such a shallow breather.
As easy as breathing… isn’t that how the saying goes? Or is it as natural as breathing? Not relevant… focus on the breath…
Which breath? The in or the out? No, it’s both… He said both.. In through the nose and out through the mouth… How hard can that be? … Well, clearly too hard for you, Dickhead, coz you can’t do it right.
Shit, Wendy, get it together… just fill your lungs with air and then push it out again.
Count… yes, maybe if I count …
Realisation Number 1: I don’t know how to breathe.
The simple task for yesterday was to be aware of the motion of my body each time I sat down or stood up. To be present to what I was doing just at those moments. If I could be mindful of my sitting/standing even fives times in the day, the croony guru assured me, that would be good. The aim is for those moments to be anchor points to my being present to my own actions.
My results were significantly sub-good.
Not once did I catch myself in the movement of sitting. It wasn’t until after my bum hit the chair that I remembered the task. And by the time I stood up, I’d forgotten again.
Realisation Number 2: I’m a slow learner with a disconnect between my brain and my bum.
Which leads to Realisation Number 3: This is gonna be a long journey.
All tips, advice, suggestions, wise counsel or pointy-fingered cajoling will be gratefully received.