I’ve been using a guided meditation app called Headspace lately. Correction: I’ve been trying to use this meditation app. It doesn’t seem like it should be that hard, since all you have to do is sit for ten minutes while you listen to recordings of a dude with a pleasant accent. I am super good at breathing on command — I have those inhales and exhales down — but the part where I’m supposed to unwind and gently become mindful … not so much.
The first thing that usually happens as soon as I close my eyes and “slowly become aware of my body, scanning it from top to bottom” is that I become plagued by a series of ferocious itches which completely devour my attention until I get relief, so basically that part of the process is as relaxing as contracting scabies. Then I have something like Restless Everywhere Syndrome, where I get an overwhelming urge to move a hand or elbow or foot or nostril and if I try to hold still I become increasingly uncomfortable until I finally just thrash around like a dying salmon for a few seconds which I guess brings a certain sense of awareness but it’s less of raised consciousness and more along the lines of WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL IS MY DAMAGE HEATHER.
At that point the voice is usually saying something soothing about being calmly aware of one’s surroundings and so I become hyper-aware of every sound, which is never, say, the chirping of birds or a peacefully burbling spa fountain, but rather a mounting cacophony of irritations that permeate my earbuds.
Cat, giving herself a bath nearby: Mlem mlem mlem.
Dog, snoring: Snnnnnzzzz. Skkkknnnnnfffff. Nnnnnnffffff.
Children, at the other end of the house: YOU TOUCHED MY DOOMINATOR—
Cat: Mlem mlem mlem mlem mlem mlem mlem mlem mlem mlem mlem mlem mlem mlem mlem mlem.
Children: —BLASTOTRON AND I TOLD YOU NOT TO TOUCH IT SO NOW I GET TO—
Dog (now dreaming and making little muffled barks): Noop. Woop. MLOOP. MURP! ROOP!
Cat (has hiked a leg in the air and is now focused on her anus): Slep slep slep SLEP. SLLLLEPPP. SHHHHHHHHHHLEP.
Children: NOT PLAYING! NOT PLAYING! STAAAAAHP! MOMMMMMM!
Then there’s a whole stretch of time where the noises do actually recede a bit, because my brain is suddenly super busy thinking about:
• Every stupid thing I’ve ever said ever
• Brad and Angelina: what really went down on that plane?
• That time when I was a kid and I barfed outside of a Toys R Us
• Why are yoga pants all tights now when the bootcut style was so much more flattering?
• Abused dogs
• Pizza for dinner?
• How much I completely suck ass at meditating
By the end of the ten minutes I usually do feel a faint sense of relief and accomplishment, if only because I got through the whole thing without hurling my phone out the window. Small victories = still victories.
All right, here’s what I’ve decided with regards to my Writing Troubles: I’m just going to write more often, whether or not I have anything to write about, because most of the time the best way to get better at doing a thing is to do the fucking thing. Unless what you’re trying to do is fit back into the pants that weren’t too tight a week and a half ago in which case you might have to stop doing a thing, namely eating those Christmas-tree-shaped Reese’s while telling yourself that technically a tree is a vegetable.
Anyway. I am allowing myself to enjoy the blank-slate feeling of a brand new year even though what would really feel fresh and different at this point is the children being back in school. We have had a very pleasant winter break filled with outings, games, movies, and general festivity, but let’s be honest, family time is more delightful when it’s the exception rather than the norm. Plus, everyone got an arsenal of Nerf weaponry for Christmas so I could really use a teeny tiny break from the constant soundtrack of saliva-laden bullet noises, pewpewpewpewpew. Oh, and who was the grade-A moron who thought it would be fun to gift them with a shitload of empty plastic bottles to fuel their water flipping obsession?
I say all that, but I know how it’ll feel when I take them to school on Wednesday: like something special has come to an end. No more lazy weekday pancake breakfasts and impromptu afternoon walks and Schwarzenegger film fests, back to homework and alarm clocks and routines. I’m ready/not ready for it to be over.