Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Just breathe

It started with a crazy lady saying crazy things last year, and my reacting to it in a less-than-calm manner. Well, i was calm. But I sent one of those text/e-mail messages people always say you shouldn't send (not to the crazy lady! I still maintained composure there). The response was, 'breathe.'

I took it rather literally.

I mean, I'm always breathing. We're always breathing. It's the fundamental indication that we're actually alive and not confused victims of the apocalypse who only think we're alive when really we're zombies who can't figure out why we like our burgers rare and why arms sometimes look tasty.

Do a check, now, make sure you're actually breathing, just to be sure.

So I took a breath, and read some blogs and books on mindfulness and such, and started trying to pay attention to the things I was actually doing at any given time. Try it. It's quite hard. Are you looking out a window? No. Of course not. You're reading my blog. But are you REALLY reading my blog? Are you drinking coffee? Has your head turned five times to track the cat, the kid, the dog, the boss, the memory that you just missed your deadline, the bill you haven't paid, the money you wished you still had but don't because of the bill you paid? Dinner? Snack? Don't you wish you had some chips? You can't eat the chips, you're trying to be healthier, also you gave up diet coke and chips make you want diet coke, or Dr. Pepper. Pick your poison.

See? You totally weren't reading my blog at all.

I play this game now. I'm not good at it, but I find it relaxing.

I have a busy mind. My mind is busy. It's an important mind, with lots of places to go, people to worry about, things to plan. It's a strategic thinker, constantly playing through  'what if this than that' scenarios up to, including and sometimes surpassing, apocalypse scenarios. I know, I know, I"m not alone in that. Who hasn't figured out their survival game plan once cats assert their rightful place as the world's masters and force us all to build pyramids again? We all know it's coming. I see it in my Bounder's big green plotting eyes.

I don't really want to hang out with my mind. It's too busy, too much of an A-type personality. It's probably got an ulcer and a slight alcohol problem. I imagine it's one of those overbearing women (I hope it's not a man, ewww creepy) with a heavy bossom, crazy gold jewelry and long manicured nails tapping impatiently as she barks orders at everyone around her, who, of course, she sees as personal minions, or assistants. It is one of those self-important minds that think it's all that and isn't afraid to tell me.  Blah blah blah, it drones on and on.

So I am learning how to let go of it, the same way one lets go of crazy, annoying friends. (Note to friends, I'm not the crazy, annoying friend you want to get rid of, trust me... I'm  totally going to be less crazy and annoying. cough.)

I just don't play with it anymore. Oh, we still hang, my mind and me. It's hard to get away from it fully, lets face it. There's a lot about my mind I kinda still love, oh the daydreams we've spun, the tales we've told, the grandiose fantasies of a life in a tropical paradise with turquoise waters and palm trees. It's a lovely mind, but dang it, it's not the boss of me!

And that is why, every morning and every night, for 10 to 15 minutes, I've got this little 'mindful' app on my iPhone with cool little bells that play at different intervals. And I just... breathe. I pay attention to the actual art of breathing, letting my busy mind natter on endlessly in the background blah blah blah inhale exhale... ignore the blah blah see it, let it pass.

I've been doing this for about two weeks. In two weeks, I've been a bit calmer, a lot less distracted and my mind is juuust now, finally, after two weeks, beginning to calm down slightly. It's because it knows I'm paying attention to it, so it tends to do what I would  rather have it be doing.

Natter natter natter on and on, but... not so much anymore. It's quieter, calmer, peacefuler...

All I do is...


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