Thursday, 27 August 2015

3 Things I've learned from Mindfulness Meditation

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.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Good talk, Son...

We recently acquired a ridiculously snug pre-loved couch. It has been broken-in and worn-soft by friends who, sadly, could no longer accommodate it. The possibility of said-couch ending its days waiting dejectedly by the gutter for the hard-rubbish collection was too horrendous to contemplate, so we lugged it and its two comfy-chair buddies down to The Rock where they seem to be enjoying a whole new batch of bums on seats.

Yesterday, Manchild was lying full-stretch on the new old couch while I sat ensconced in Comfy-Chair B with my knitting. The footy was on the tv. Manchild and I support the same team, and although this has been a disastrous season, we remain blindly hopeful that one day soon they will rack up a win. With yesterday’s opponents being almost as hapless as our lot of late, we both harboured a tiny optimistic flicker that this just might be the day.

Manchild had been out late Saturday night. He’d stayed at a mate’s house after a big social event and the lure of the couch was far stronger than the pull of his desk. Even with final exams less than ten weeks away, that damn desk remains a pathetic weakling in any tug-of-war… food, sleep, music, computer games, sport on tv… they all win without even trying.  Anyway, he must have been extra-tired because not only was he lying down, but he was snuggled under a blanket. He looked particularly calm and just a teensy bit vulnerable. I could see the little boy he used to be hovering just under the surface. He was warm and settled and focussed on the football. So I did what all good mothers of almost-grown-up sons do.

I seized the opportunity to start a particularly annoying conversation, confident that he couldn’t be arsed getting up and walking away:

You looked so handsome last night. Did people tell you how great you looked?


Lots and lots of people?


Male and female people?


What about one special person? Is there one special person that makes your heart go pitter pat?


 IS there? Is there someone special?


A special girl? … or is it a special boy? Have you even decided that yet?

(Crickets… with the slightest suggestion of upturned corners of the mouth)

Aha… I saw that!  You are listening…So IS there?

Stop talking Mum.

As far as conversations go between Manchild and me, that was a pretty good one. 
No mention of food on his behalf or dirty washing on mine.

And our footy team did win.


Yesterday was a good day.