Archive for the ‘Mindfulness Meditation’ Category

From now on, you may call me Willowsong Rainbow-Fairies

Friday, August 6th, 2010

I spent part of this morning ripping guided meditation tracks off their CD’s and onto my computer.  Being able to mix and match sections would be useful.  …And keep me from leaping up to throttle the CD player after listening to the EXACT SAME RECORDING every day for two months.  Plus, iPods are harder to get a solid grip on to throttle.

Some of the recordings are from the course that I took last summer, and some are basically the same thing except made by the original guy rather than my personal instructor.  A couple are odds and ends that I picked up before I really knew anything about meditation other than that

1) I should.

and

2)  It makes people’s bodily secretions smell like patchouli.

I do not yet smell like patchouli.  I think this means I am not trying hard enough.

At any rate, as I was typing in track information, I realized that the creator of one of my CD’s is  Mr. Bright-Fey.  John Bright…Fey.  If that isn’t a last name destined for a meditation teacher, I don’t know what is.  I Googled him on the chance that I could find out whether that was indeed his birth name before reporting it here, but I couldn’t find mention.  Presumably if he had changed it himself his first name might have been Moonbeam rather than John.  Still, very appropriate.  On the disturbing side, I also came across a photo of him.  I do not like getting a visual image of the owners of the smooth audio voices that are giving me my meditation instructions.  Never seems to line up.  I don’t know what I would expect a smooth meditation voice owner to look like, but it isn’t this.

(That’s my actual posse, folks)

As traumatic (though slightly less fascinating) as the time I got a peek at the movie preview voice guys, I assure you.

I guess it could be worse.  When I did that search for my lady-teacher, I also came up with these:

I think I’m going to imagine that cat narrating all of my meditation CD’s from now on.

I’m proud of myself for sticking with the meditation again so far.  There are some days that it hasn’t been easy (and truth be told, I’ve missed some sessions this time around, but I’m doing much more than I’m not doing so I’m trying not to beat myself up too much about it).  It will be worth it in the end, though, if it can do what it seemed to do last time.  The tough part is that the big benefits didn’t really kick in for me last time until almost the end of two months of consistent meditation.  …Which is pretty much what you’re supposed to expect, but still.  Makes it tough to keep doing it day in and day out in the moment.  The payoff was huge for getting there, though.

Mindfulness meditation sort of fascinates me now.  I’ve read a lot on the brain since starting this journey, and so it makes a certain amount of sense how you would have to practice very consistently over an extended period of time at the start, and how there would be actual physical changes to the brain as a result (I find that whole concept totally cool.  Recent research says you can actually learn to do almost ANYTHING with enough practice.  …Like Rain Man type stuff, and getting rid of learning disabilities, and rewiring your brain to use more sections for particular skills or movements, or using the bits meant for one thing to do something entirely different if it needs to and everything.  Neat!  You can even wire it so that you are incapable of moving certain fingers except as a unit.  Like they were glued together.  But they’re not.  …Why one would do that last one on purpose I don’t know, but it’s still pretty cool).  What’s really weird is the type of changes that were most dramatic.   I expected it would help me relax.  Which it did sort of, maybe, I guess?  What it really did was prevent me from reacting in the first place to things that would once have been stressful, and help me not give a flying tiger what other people thought of me.  And I am someone who is normally PAINFULLY aware of what other people might be thinking of me.  It was very cool.  Liberating.  And it makes me wonder what other beneficial brain changes I could make if I only knew how and was actually willing to invest that much time in it.

I had a lot of  impressions going in about meditation that were totally wrong.  I sometimes still have to fight the feeling that I’m not always “good” at it.  You’re not supposed to hang onto judgments like “good” and “bad” but just observe what happens.  And any outcome or happenings during the process are supposed to be fine as long as you notice what they are.  And I acknowledge that you’re not actually supposed to try to stop thinking (because that’s pretty much impossible no matter how zen you are), but just note the thoughts that come up and try to let them go freely rather than clinging on and following them.  And they do say that the more thoughts come up, the more chance you have to practice bringing your mind back to whatever it is you’re trying to focus on.  Which is really the important part.  It’s counter-intuitive, though.  We’re so conditioned to want Success.  And we want Success to be measurable, and require significant effort, and come paired with the potential for Failure.

Interestingly, from what I’ve read about the brain changing stuff, the most change happens when you’re paying close attention, and when you’re trying.  Not succeeding, but trying.  If you’ve already mastered something, then you’re probably not paying close enough attention to it anymore to make changes.  So actually mastering the task is irrelevant to the goal.

Which is kind of cool all on its own.

Okay.  Finished rambling now.  But BRAIN CHANGES, people!  I could learn to play piano with my face.

(As a note, if anyone out there is interested in brain plasticity or mindfulness meditation, my favourite resources of what I’ve encountered so far are linked to there.  Neat stuff)

Rewiring

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

So I’m a little caffeine sensitive.  This should come as no surprise to anyone who’s read any of this, or is familiar with my medical history, or has, you know, exposed me to a permanent marker.  I like to think that my body is just enthusiastic.  It likes to go all in with things.

When I was younger and not a regular caffeine drinker, I used to get absolutely high off of one cup of coffee.  I called it “happy juice.”  That flood of extra blood to my brain made the whole world a brighter technocolour place.  I still get a little of that, which I’m treasuring these days.  …Despite the difficulty of trying to plan my day so that everything happens within the span of an hour or two after breakfast.

Anything with caffeine in it is pretty much guaranteed to leave me a dry and shriveled husk afterward, but it’s generally worth it.  I actually have to be careful not to drink too much in any given day (like, two drinks rather than one), because I’ll get a bit of a caffeine hangover the day after.  Not kidding.  Tongue made of cardboard, throat parched, raspy phone sex voice, the whole bit.  Warm caffeinated beverages also have the side effect of making me poop.  Immediately and dramatically.

(That was fun on the days that I was running late and decided to have my coffee at work.  Extreme Poop Challenge!!!)

In the last year there have been periods in which I needed to stop having caffeine temporarily for various medication-related reasons.  I’m currently doing tea rather than coffee most mornings, as the perk is definitely more than enough, and it tends not to give me the over-the-top jitters.  I am alert, but not quite ALERT.  …Which is probably for the best.  Anyway, my experimentation has led me to the official and very scientific (and by “very scientific,” I mean that there was both a ruler and calculator in the room with me when making that determination) result that my body is now trained to poop only when I have tea or coffee.

Tea or coffee + ten minutes = dramatic pooping

No tea or coffee + five days = no poop at all

I’m like a Pavlovian experiment, except with less salivation and the occasional need for a fan.

I am generally okay with this so long as nothing comes between me and my tea again, but a few days ago I ran into somewhat of a problem.  I was going about my morning routine as usual.  Took my pills (which, through a combination of medications and supplements, have now progressed to the level of granny pill organizer.  …Or two.  It’s epic.  We had to clear out a cupboard), had a bit of food, and a mug of Orange Pekoe.  Leisurely sauntered at full speed to the bathroom.  Er…”painted the toilet.”  And then as I was getting up to flush and preparing to go finish my tea, I noticed something small and white floating in the toilet bowl.  That pill went right through me.   In tact.  And with amazing speed.

So of course my first reaction is to Google all manner of things involving pills and poop.  …Well, okay, my first reaction was “That’s SO weird!  I have to tell my husband!” followed shortly by “I should totally blog about this,” but at least the third or fourth reaction was definitely Google.  And lo and behold, I am not the only one passing pills.  In fact, it’s apparently becoming a bit of a problem for the New York sewer system.  Weird.

Anyway, they all attest that some pills just aren’t as dissolving-friendly as others, which is easy to see with a quick vinegar test.  Dang, I think.  My pills aren’t dissolvey.  Will have to find new ones.  I plop a couple different ones in a small glass of vinegar just to confirm. …And don’t they start happily dissolving.  Dissolve, dissolve, dissolve, like that’s just their favourite thing in the world.

So now I’m not sure if my stomach fluids are made of milk, or if the coffee really does fire things through me as quickly as it honestly has always seemed to.  But I have determined that I’m probably better off taking everything with lunch rather than breakfast, just in case.

Because had I instead chosen to skip the tea this morning, this entry would have been more along the lines of “Eeeeeeeeeenh.  Poop pill.  Uuuuuuunh.”  …Which gives me the overwhelming urge to start up a zombie blog, but would be otherwise uninformative.

Also, how come “shit” and “crap” can both be commonly used to refer to general “stuff,” but poop cannot?  Yo, dude.  This poop is awesome.

In general news, things are happening, and I feel stuff about it.  Er…feel poop about it.  Still feeling mostly like crap.  Er…poop.  I’m fighting the balance of trying to try enough different things to give me a good chance of successful recovery without trying so many things at once that I won’t have any idea what I need to continue with if something happens to work.  This is annoying, because to see any one change through to the end takes multiple months.  Have gone off my birth control pills.  Am taking SAMe.  Am redoing the meditation course I took on my own (all ten-weeks-of-hour-every-day of it) and kicking myself now and then for having ever stopped doing the much more manageable 10-15 minute “maintenance” sessions and requiring a full fresh run at it to change my brain pathways again.  Am resisting the urge to launch into other forms of treatment, but am probably still doing too much at once anyway.  Cannot bring myself to care, as I don’t know that I could tolerate waiting months to see if the birth control makes a difference, followed by months to find a suitable alternative, followed by months to do the meditation, followed by months to investigate the SAMe, followed by… Not happening.  I’m trying to time it so that changes in my emotional state will still be as informative as possible, but it’s rather like a really bad science fair project in which I’ve chosen to report on volcanoes and space and mould and salamanders in one large bright cardboard display.

But really, who wouldn’t want to see an experiment involving moldy space salamanders in a volcano?  That poop is sick.

Next week, slow motion Simon Says (which, admittedly, lacks some of the spark of the original)

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

We did walking meditation in my stress reduction course tonight.  Acute awareness of one’s feet and their motions.  Every now and then a bell would sound and we would head for the nearest chair to continue with some sitting meditation, then at another bell would keep walking again.  We were encouraged to take a nearby chair, not any one in particular, and to continue to move very slowly and mindfully as we went there, to keep the flow of the meditation continuous.  I did find it much easier to focus with the alternation between activities.

Thing is, every time that little bell rang, and we all began heading to the circle of chairs at the outside of the room, all I could think of was slow motion musical chairs.  There we all are, heading for the chairs in the circle, each one trying to get to one particular one that we’ve arbitrarily decided on, sometimes having to change our mind and go for another one nearby since somebody else got there first, except in absolute, painful slow motion.  And not just slow motion like a leisurely stroll, but full fledged batteries dying, molasses-filled room Slow Motion.  This amused me greatly for some reason.

In the final sitting meditation, it occurred to me that I’m not sure what would happen if the instructor was ever one of the ones to doze off (I should point out that I do spend SOME of my time in actual meditation, but the mind offers thoughts no matter how successful the focus.  That’s just what minds do).  It seemed for a moment that we were going on longer than usual, all seated in silence with our eyes closed and our focus on our breath.  I wonder how long we would all sit there if she never cued us to stop.  I wonder who would be the first one to disrupt the group by mentioning that time should have been up a while ago.  I bet we’d make it at least an extra twenty minutes like that.  Maybe significantly longer.

I also acknowledged today that perhaps a part of the small distance I’ve been feeling from my husband lately (who I love dearly and am super-duper thrilled with and attached to, don’t get me wrong) might be the result of my taking this all on independently.  I don’t really have that many undertakings that are exclusively my own, and I know that historically I can have a hard time balancing self-sufficiency and pushing-away-others.  My mind mixes them up sometimes, I think, and feels like to manage on my own I need to convince myself that I don’t need anyone else.  At any rate, I am going to try to not let being successfully on my own interfere with cherishing the time I spend with my sweetie.  I don’t want that to cause any distance between us.

Of course, it could have been the fact that he’s been super-grumpy lately from the moving stress too. :)

(Actually, I skipped my meditation yesterday in the commotion. …Don’t tell)

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

New house is fantastic.  I was a little worried about a few details, as we had decided to move a little far from…everything.  It’s great, though.  I love that we now have sort of a small town feeling, without it being small enough that everybody’s nosy.  I love that a neighbour was walking by (with a very large and very blind dog) and stopped to welcome us, and that I didn’t even mind chatting with him.  I love that it’s peaceful and calm, even on a Saturday afternoon.  And I love that everything just feels a little more friendly, and a little more laid back.

I’m not a great one with moving into new places.  New places tend to whig me out a little for the first few nights at least.  I just don’t feel safe, and everything has a tinge of loneliness to it.  We stayed over in the new house last night, though (on an air mattress), and I didn’t even notice at all.  Felt a little like we were squatters for the first evening (kept waiting for somebody to come in and drag us out), but by the next morning, it felt perfectly natural to be in our house.  In fact, I’m kind of aching to go back.  We’re doing some painting and floors and such before we move in, so I’ll have to be a little patient.  Still…Yay!

Things have been going well in general, I think.  I do feel like a very different person than I was three months ago.  It’s sort of like I’ve stopped taking for granted all of the things I thought that I knew about myself and really feeling them out fully.  Experimenting with approaching things differently just for the sake of approaching them differently, I guess.  Extremely liberating.  I park in different places, and choose different ice cream flavours (I have tended historically to be an old consistent favourites kind of girl).  I have taken to driving like a gangsta sometimes, with my arm on the window ledge and one hand on the wheel.  I used to drive in 10 and 2 pretty much all the time (not because I’m a stickler, but because I like to be in control).  I have to say, the experimentation has sincerely lowered my stress while driving.  I ate in the car while driving yesterday.  I realized that I never have before.

In addition to making me a slightly more dangerous driver, I’m noticing changes in other areas too.  I’ve gotten pretty natural now with trying different approaches just for the sake of it, without worrying how they’re going to turn out, or if I’m doing the absolute best thing I could do.  I’ve been a pretty big perfectionist for most of my life, and tend to naturally have crazy high standards for myself.  A lot of the time, the pressure’s completely off now.  I’m not trying to get things just right.  I’m just trying something new and exploring what happens.

I credit the mindfulness practice for most of this.  It all came on rather suddenly after about three or four weeks of daily practice.  A lot to commit to, but well worth it now.  I’m really hoping that this is the beginning of something lasting and powerful rather than one of those feelings that seems all consuming at the time and then gets lost in the flood of other life events and stresses.

It’s kind of cool not really knowing who I am. 

Don’t ask me how I got a patch on my left eye and the inside of my ear

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

My home practice for the meditation course this week let me alternate body scan with mindful yoga.  This was happy and welcome news, as the body scan and I have not always been getting along well.  Yoga is infinitely more pleasant, if only because I can remain conscious while I’m doing it.  The process of changing activities and sensations frequently also means that my thoughts are drifting a lot less frequently.  Anyway, a pleasant change.

My body is still producing lasting angry red patches whenever I use my muscles or something contacts my skin.  Like,…oh,…underwear.  Or other parts of my skin.  Those kinds of crazy things.  I am undeniable quite itchy, and have resigned myself to the fact that I will likely need to revisit the doctor.  Does it say something for my desperation that I was giving serious consideration to whether I could cope with the itch forever if it meant keeping my Wellbutrin?

I am a determined little thing sometimes.  As noted above, most days I chose to do the yoga rather than the stationary body scan.  The yoga where I use my body a lot, and, you know, contact things.

I am itchy…but flexible.

But I do need to stop pirating seasons of Mad Men

Friday, June 19th, 2009

So I’m doing a little better with trying to remove the concept of “good” and “bad.”  This is not something I figured I would be able to do very well.  To be honest, in many areas I still can’t, but I’ve kept at it and I’m starting to see progress in some ways.  That’s more than I would have expected.

I went to the dentist for my cleaning today.  I am not a daily flosser.  I will admit this.  I floss when I think of it, but that amounts to probably a few times a week.  It isn’t something that I’m terribly ashamed of in my everyday life.

My dental hygienist tends to prescribe to the “all negative all the time” school of encouragement.  Now, I don’t hold it too much against her, because I wouldn’t want to go near a lot of those mouths either, but a tiny word of acknowledgement now and then would be nice.  When I went from not flossing at all to flossing every day for three months, she lectured me about the other month.  That was the point that I sort of stopped caring to try so hard.  At any rate, she was predictably unimpressed today, even though the cleaning was much faster and seemed to go much better than usual.  I purchased a waterpick.  I’ve been using my floss more regularly.  To keep myself from feeling like I’m not measuring up, I reminded myself that I had done well this time.

Then I revised the thought.  I had flossed more regularly.

Taking the “good” label off of things seems a little odd at first, but I am starting to see how it could be just as beneficial as removing the “bad” ones.  It makes the action enough on its own, and sort of takes away the feelings of right or wrong, or how much better it could be if only [insert some random characteristic here].   Anyway, I was proud of myself for noticing, and surprised that it really did seem to help.

On the way home, I hit a bunch of construction-related traffic and immediately decided that I had taken the wrong route.  Then I instead tried to modify the thought to “I had taken a longer route.”  I’m trying as much as I can to stick to the bare facts and leave the judgment part out.  A longer route doesn’t feel as bad as the wrong one.

I do see what some of the books I’ve read have mentioned.  It really does seem like when you get down to it a lot of unhappiness comes from the feeling that things aren’t the way they’re supposed to be right now – that things should be different, and would be better if they were.  I’m learning to try to accept the things that I would have railed against a few months ago.  I wouldn’t have though that I could begin to learn to accept being depressed, or losing some of my hearing in my 20’s, or anything else that seemed really unfair.  I’m sort of okay with it now.  …Or at least much more than I was.

I don’t have to floss every day to be a good person.

But I’m very in tune with my snoring

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Body scan mindfulness meditation continues.  I’ve been sorely tempted some days to back out of it, but I’m pushing through with the hour a day commitment.  Gold star for me.  I realized over the past couple of days that I’ve been falling prey to two very common complications with it though, which gets my goat a little.  Caught me totally off guard too.  I hate being common.

Complication number one, I’ve started to let the atmosphere slide a little over the couple weeks I’ve been doing it.  I started out by setting up a very peaceful space for myself, putting the cats in the other room, calling my husband to make sure he wouldn’t inadvertently interrupt me with a phone call during that hour, lighting a candle, and then doing some light stretching before I began the CD.   I noticed today as I picked up the fighting cats and went to rejoin the stream of meditation that perhaps I’m no longer giving the time the special tone it once had.  I locked the cats in the other room today.  We won’t go into my guilt issues on that.

Complication number two occurred to me yesterday.  Yesterday was one of these absolutely painful days, where I’m fighting through it tooth and nail to stay conscious for the hour.  I noticed myself drifting, so I opened my eyes.  Then I was still drifting, so I sat up with my eyes closed.  Then I sat up with my eyes open.  At this point, I figured that maybe I wasn’t getting an ideal meditative experience out of it in that position, but at the very least I would be guaranteed to make it through to the end of the CD without falling asleep.  Then I woke up.  Falling over backwards.

It’s funny how my mind works when I’m drifting off.  It’s like falling asleep while the TV or a movie is going – everything she says gets distorted a bit and worked into some kind of dream scenario.  I’ve learned to keep careful watch so that I can catch myself before I’m completely gone, but I have to laugh at myself sometimes.  “Now notice that this area of your chest is really a 3-dimensional space.”  Yes…space.  The space lobsters will come down soon.  I should get some kibble for them…  Eventually if I’m on point, I get momentarily confused about whether the space lobsters were always a part of the meditation, and if perhaps I had missed them on the CD the previous times.  …And slowly I clue in that, no, space lobsters are not a part of mindfulness, and yes, that means I’m falling asleep.  That’s about the point where I try opening my eyes.

So at any rate, yesterday was particularly challenging, and after falling asleep sitting up, I was strongly motivated to shut off the CD for today and give it another try tomorrow.  After all, I clearly wasn’t going to get much out of this with all of my attention focused on keeping my eyes open (with only minimal success), and it was an extremely unpleasant sensation trying to force it.  And kazam.  I discovered I was modeling a perfect example of what not to do.

Mindfulness meditation is all about observing what’s going on in the body, with no judgment or labeling.  A negative experience is just as welcome and full of sensations as a positive one.  So here I was, falling into the very pattern I’m trying to break with this stuff.  I’m too [insert any adjective here] for that right now – I’ll do it another time when I’m feeling better.  This was a very tough thing for me to recognize as false.  I was the unchallenged master of putting off work, errands, fun activities, social gatherings, or pretty much anything else because I didn’t feel up to it.   This seemed perfectly legitimate to me.  It wasn’t possible to think like that, or do those things when I wasn’t feeling in that place.  …Except that it was.  I was just full of crap and didn’t know it.  I have realized now that the mind is very sneaky in making you believe that its perceptions are real, but that in giving a solid effort to testing them, they very often turn out false.  I made a conscious effort for a while to do exactly what it was that I thought I couldn’t do, at all times.  I learned a lot.  So by dwelling on how much I didn’t want to meditate right now, and therefore how much I shouldn’t meditate right now, I was missing a perfectly legitimate meditation experience, as valid as yesterday or the day before.

Moral of the story, quick complaining and do it anyway.  So much for my touchy-feely sensibilities.

Focus on the sensations, the sounds, the smells…

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

It’s an interesting thing to be sitting in a room full of people who last week shared the labels for their personal suffering.  The meditation class I’m enrolled in is a mixture of everything from cancer survivors to insomniacs, and I can’t help but find myself looking at them differently now that I know their label, curious to find the ways they fit with my completely biased impressions.  The anxiety patients all sit cross legged as we wait in our circle for the course to begin.  Their arms are crossed over their chests, and they aren’t talking to their neighbours.  This amuses me.  My legs and arms are crossed as well.  I curl my legs up into the chair and refuse to be typecast.

The mindfulness meditations are much easier in the group setting, I’ll give them that.  Extra import and natural focus, maybe?  I diligently scan my body as we lie on the floor like an overgrown mat garden.  I am now intimately acquainted with my left big toe.  We’re on good terms.

Sitting meditation is introduced near the end of this week’s session.  I give full and undivided attention to the breathing in my abdominal section.  Feel the sensations.  Experience them completely, just as they are.  Open yourself to the subtle movements in this region.  Kid you not, I have now very mindfully discovered that I have gas.  I mindfully feel things begin to shift and move, very diligently aware that something is…um…heading south.  I am mindful of the visions my mind creates in prediction of what will happen if this makes it to the end of its journey before the period of COMPLETE AND TOTAL SILENCE is up.

I ride the subway back after each class.  Less stressful than having to drive the whole way and deal with the idiosyncrasies of downtown traffic.  Another member of the class ends up walking beside me, rolled yoga mat shining like a beacon of mindfulness.  We do that awkward visual acknowledgement followed by the equally awkward side-by-side walk where we now pretend not to see each other.  She doesn’t seem like the small talk type, and I’m much more of a responder than an initiator.  I ride the subway in peace, and try to put to use our instructor’s suggestions about brining moments of mindful attention to everyday activities.  I quickly realize that subway car at rush hour is perhaps not the brightest time to experiment with this.  Also that I’m not the only one who’s had gas today.

Actually, I suppose it can’t be a bad pun if I’m no longer allowed to label it

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Sad days seem harder now that some days are going well.  That seems twisted.  My lows now are nowhere near where they would have been a few months ago.  There’s pressure now though, and a glimmer of hope.  Now when something sends me into a tailspin I wonder if maybe I’ve misjudged my improvement and I really can’t handle these things any better at all.  Maybe I’ve just been lucky.  Maybe in trying to remove stress from my life, I’ve simply managed to avoid what would normally set me off.  Returning to my “normal” existence becomes dread-worthy again.  Terribly unproductive as a line of thinking.  I will freely acknowledge this.  I also may curl up under the blankets for a while.

It’s similar with the meditation.  The whole point, they say, is to aim to be fully accepting of anything that happens, and to gradually learn to give up labels like “good” and “bad.”  I’m not so good at that yet.  I mean…I’m not so….um…. Shit.  Some days things in that area seem to be going well, and some days they don’t.  It’s funny, though.  I read a chapter in the meditation book yesterday about how wonderfully effective this can be for various conditions.  They gave a whole pile of experimental research data that shows marked improvements after meditations, and stories of various individual people and how meditation worked wonders for them.  …And then they cap off the section (seriously) with how generally people who really believe that meditation will work for them tend to have a harder time of things than people who are open to it but skeptical and unconvinced.  Thanks for the unproductivity chapter, then.

They also talk a lot about how the best way to get results with mindfulness is to stop trying.  This might be a stumbling block for me.  I’m a very trying person.  …Okay, so maybe I’m just a person who can’t always resist a bad pun.  I suppose perhaps that makes them both true.  I do sincerely wonder about my ability to dedicate myself to doing this, holding onto my glimmer of hope that my life can be different, but stop actively wanting it to work.  Maybe I’ll open an even more effective meditation program, in which people pay me large sums of money, and I promise them absolutely no results.

(I take Paypal…)

I bet there was cake

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Trying the body scan meditation this week.  One hour is an awfully long time, but I’ve committed to do this, so I might as well do it right.  To be honest, I would have skipped it once already had my instructor not been very explicit in her instructions to note our resistance, identify that we hate it and don’t want to do it, and then do it anyway.  Meany.

I think that I would find it a lot less straining if I could manage to keep my consciousness through it without tremendous force of will.  I was unprepared for the hypnotizing effect the first time, and woke up after the hour to the sound of her saying that the instructions were about to end (which was kind of cool, truly).  In my defense, I did make it all the way through feeling my legs (which admittedly, has never been high on my life list of accomplishments, but I also never previously realized what an achievement this would be).  Legs are good, right?  Legs are  long.  That’s like half my body.  I felt okay about it until I looked at the list of tracks on the CD – Feet and Legs, Pelvis, Lower Back, Chest, Hands and Arms, Neck and Head, Conclusion.  My legs feel shorter.

I’ve never been great with auditory directions, to be honest.  I had a university professor once who only gave lectures – no visual aids or notes at all.  By the end of the first multi-hour class, I realized that I stink at taking in information by listening.  I’m a trooper.  I took pretty good notes considering, but without looking at those notes, I wouldn’t have the foggiest idea what he actually said.  In testament, perhaps, to my having blocked this experience from my memory completely, I once invested in an audio book CD set version of Lord of the Rings.  Fun for relaxing before bed, I thought.  Something different.  Two minutes (literally, I kid you not) after pressing play, I was out like a light.  Wound up from the day?  No problem.  Cued to the scene where they’re fighting epic battles with scary background music?  Didn’t phase me.  After playing the same section over and over again, I eventually gave up hope of ever finding out what happened after Mr Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday, and the ensuing talk and excitement in Hobbiton.  Good thing they made a movie.

To be fair, despite the annoyances I have noticed a difference in feeling after the meditation.  Often I just feel like oozing to the couch and dropping off into unconsciousness, but a calm and centred unconsciousness.  That’s a step up, I figure.