Discover more from Jamie AF
Meditating on Meditation
That sh*t is hard.
My first introduction to meditation came from Lori*. A well-meaning (I think) therapist whose advice I stopped taking seriously after she told me, with a straight face, that “you have to go on at least 15 dates with someone before you know how you feel about them.”
Now, I had, up until that point, written therapists off for far less. A woman whose ears I didn’t like in middle school comes to mind. But this outrageous and quite frankly inefficient approach seemed reason enough for me to be, at the very least, skeptical of her methods.
So when I sat in her dimly lit, cramped office with my eyes closed, and she instructed me to envision a person traveling the length of the inside of my body from head to toe, I spent more of the experience remembering that episode of The Magic School Bus when the class jumps inside of Ralphie to examine his germs than reflecting inward.
I stopped seeing Lori shortly thereafter and decided that much like the 15 date rule, meditation was not for me.
Sometimes you live with a problem so long that when you realize there is actually an easy fix, you can’t quite believe you waited so long to do something about it. I felt that way when, after years of summer chafing agony, I bought my first Megababe stick (run, don’t walk).
I had that same sort of feeling when my friend Rachel suggested I try Jeff Warren’s How to Meditate 30-day program on Calm. I’d had the meditation app sitting in the dark corners of my home screen, sandwiched between other forgotten icons like Houseparty and Stocks. But much like the chafing stick, Jeff and his digestible, just-spiritual-enough, no-bullshit, guided meditations made everything go a lot more… smoothly.
If, by smoothly, you mean still extremely difficult, disjointed and irregular. No sooner do I have my eyes closed before I remember something embarrassing I did three years ago, a text I forgot to reply to, a TV show I want to add to my list. It’s not that I’ve become “good” at meditating, but simply realizing how loud it really is in my mind has actually helped it quiet down (a bit).
That quieting down has been especially on my mind now that it is finally, blessedly summer and I, a person who used to drop her friends off at the beach to walk around in town so she wouldn’t get “bored just sitting,” find myself the proud owner of a beach chair who is constantly looking to spend as many hours as possible planted in it.
I don’t know that therapy and meditation and my appreciation of the beach are directly connected. I do know that as I’ve processed my feelings and made an effort to take the time to be present, my mind can now get quiet enough to sit on the beach, uninterrupted, for hours. Something, I also realized, my dad always loved to do.
We are all distracted by something (lots of things). I have avoided spending time alone, sitting on the beach, sitting still at all because of what might come up in the quiet. But now, even with all the distractions and intrusive thoughts, I have the tools to keep them (at least temporarily) away from my brain – and my beach chair. I think about difficult things and actually — get this — process them. I get to feel connected to something my dad loved, and I get to be tan. Win. Win. Win. Win. 10/10 recommend.
Check out Jeff Warren’s meditations here.
Get yourself an epic beach chair here.
Check out how a typical mediation goes for me here:
*Not her real name. Her real name is Lily. Bye!