Yup, I’ve been the recipient of that reply – from a not-very-happy personage, that it was my job to make feel safe and welcomed at the clinic where I worked – I said the exact wrong thing, at just the wrong time to a person I really wished to be of help to –
It does happen – especially when perhaps you, yourself, aren’t as centered and balanced as you ought to be and choose to open your mouth and talk out loud – – 🙂
Years ago a patient at the acupuncture clinic, who was chatting with me before their treatment, shared their frustration over what they saw as failure at meditating, learning basic yoga, etc….and replied, rather harshly, the title of this post, when I said,
“Quit being so hard on yourself – you just have to find what works for you to feel centered and balanced….”
Her angry reaction was so fast and body language so tense, that I decided I wouldn’t go further in what I had planned to share – I simply said, – ‘for right now, you are safe – be sure to let the acupuncturist know what you’re struggling with in that area – cuz ya know, there’s help for that stuff, too….’ got her settled with her lamps, pillows and comfy and quietly exited the room –
Sometimes, retreat is the better part of valor –
Alas, I don’t know where she is or what she’s doing now – perhaps – this many years later, she’s either completely forgotten that day or still hates my guts for being so blase or mean, or has come to view our exchange as the first step of her new journey to something better – I do not know –
There’s often only a degree of time/space or understanding that defines whether you’re an arsewipe or a saving grace – because I can’t seem to keep my mouth shut, I’ve learned to just accept that it might be years or never before what I said/did was of any help, whatsoever – 🙂
But the topic is once more on my radar, as just yesterday, I spent time with a fantabulous, generous soul who is fighting several battles on several fronts, and from my point of view – should have retreated to the medics tent quite sometime ago –
But, I also know, sometimes, you don’t have the luxury of retreating to the medics tent – or you can’t see how you can – without risking losing not only the current battle, but also, the whole durn war – and so, last night and this a.m., my thoughts have been centered upon “What are the top things I’ve learned that I think make it easier to hold on and/or survive times like these?”
Whether they are ‘balanced’ or not, remains to be seen – but, while contemplating it all, it occurred to me such a little ditty may serve to aide others, as well –
As always – if it seems gobbledy-gook or insane, well – this post wasn’t meant for you, just at this time/place/space – 🙂
On Meditation and the Quiet, Peaceful Mind –
#1 tip given to me, that aided my journey, was delivered by a neighbor, years after I had chosen to say, “Meditation – Bah Humbug! Impossible! Doesn’t work for me”
Here’s what he said , 18 years ago, that has stood the test of time for me –
“Your goal is not to clear/quiet the mind – the more you tell your mind to shut up, the more loudly it will yell – the trick is not to attach to the thoughts that come – can you simply watch the thoughts come and go, like a parade passing by in front of you?”
Okay, so I tried it – and once I was sitting on the sidewalk, watching the parade, I realized how really crappy and ugly some of the floats were – I also noticed, more and more how many of the floats weren’t really even my creations, but rather, floats built by others that I had allowed to infiltrate my own parade and had long outstayed their welcome –
#2 – Comes from a myriad of sources and has been referred to in various ways over the years (and probably, centuries, milenia) by many – but the manner in which Jill Bolte Taylor and our own bloggy buddy/author, Mark Paxon, author of “Weed Therapy“, so eloquently displayed and shared, really instilled the message in me – at a deep, cellular, knowing level –
“My mind is a garden – My job to keep it weeded”
So WTF does that mean?
Well, it means that I am an adult, and while I may have stressors and feel like I’m in a pickle and at the mercy of whole bunch of other folks who can make or break me – well – really, my mind is my own – and I can choose to observe it – to let it run roughshod over me or put it to use for me –
And over the years, even when I am under deep, deep, survival/fear pressures, the ‘training’ of my mind still rises to the surface faster than it used to – though, as you have witnessed when I hit the publish button to share the ‘ugly’, I’m not perfect yet – :)…
To observe, without judgement, the parade of thoughts that come and go in my daily mind chatter – to weed out those that do not serve me, and choose to nourish those that do – to allow a small space for thoughts that are really my saving grace right now, but, if left to run wild and do what they will, are very well equipped to become an invasive species and take over the ‘garden’ of my mind and internal life – well – It becomes oh-so-much-easier to decide who can be in the garden just now and who is not allowed to – except for a visit – or a trial plot or a very restricted area, just because, they are my saving grace, just now, but I’ll be damned if they get to overtake the whole show and call the shots – cuz, after all, for me, myself and I, I am, just now
Master Gardener – for ill or good –
I may let Angry thoughts occupy my parade for awhile – righteous, full of justice and go kick some arse of those who oh-so-richly-deserve to be taken down a peg or to – but I will not allow the Angry weeds to run over my entire garden – I’ll just give them a quiet little corner to occupy and supply what is needed….
….until I don’t need what they have to offer, anymore –
And, that brings me to what I see as the ultimate trick of it all –
Tips #3 through whatever #
From moi –
- Can you sit beside and be okay with the so-called negative emotions that come up? Can you see the gifts those emotions bring, learn while they take part in your parade, and let them know when their participation is more harmful than helpful?
- Can you learn to step outside of yourself and observe yourself, your thoughts, and (gasp!) chuckle at your own little brain committees? and decide which committee members still are serving for higher interest and initiate a recall election for the others?
Don’t know how to start?
Here’s what I did – cuz I hate to sit still – I hate wasting time and if I’m worn out – then I have little to no will power to focus and be disciplined –
Engage in Walking, Waking Meditation
as you go through your day –
Dishes need done? Fine, go do them –
but instead of thinking about the bill collectors, the crazy ex or dragon of a mother-in-law or the Little Prince boss – instead –
Feel the soap bubble in your hand – – close your eyes and scrub the plate by feel (trust me, if there’s food on a plate, you’ll know it, the cloth or scrubby or whathave you will so slightly catch as you run over that area of not-clean-yet..)
Down and needing your afternoon boost?
Fine – go pour that cup of coffee – close your eyes and imagine you’re blind – can you ‘hear’ the difference from when you first started pouring, to when it was close to full?
If you spill some, so what? clean it up and next time, you’ll know better the ‘stop pouring’ warning sound –
Trust me, I cleaned up a lot of spilled coffee trying this one out – 🙂
Laundry needs done? okay – start a load – see what happens if you (gasp!) wash those dark color items with your whites – in cold – wear your pink underwear proudly – you have defied all logic and lived to tell the tale – wearing pink does not kill you and most people don’t even know about it – 🙂
Dare to flaunt convention in small ways that, in less than 100 seconds, much less, a hundred years – will not a damn bit of difference – really – PROVE to yourself, over and over, “I am MASTER of my own Domain!” Start with the small easy things – like wearing pink underwear – Rome was not built in a day –
At the end of the day, month, year of engaging in such silly nonsense
..you’ll still have those moments when you get wrapped around the axle – when you wonder why? and what’s it all about – etc., etc., etc.
but if you learn how to observe it all and not get lost in a string of floats that may or may not really be you – well – that’s a start –
And when you get really, really good at observing it all – well –
I assume the quiet/peaceful mind shows up and never leaves –
I’ll have to let you know –
Cuz I haven’t experienced the ever-present peaceful mind, just yet – I, too, am a work in progress – which is why this advice is freely given via a blog – Lord knows, couldn’t live with myself if I charged you money for less-than-guaranteed-to-fix-everything BS –
Truth is – no one can promise you that – But, there are small ways, every day, you can be less dependent upon those who give you fake guarantees – who confuse you into thinking that if you failed, it was because of you – and not because of their ‘program’ flaws – 🙂 Who knows? You grow in your observation techniques, that silly, hard to understand book you forked out $34.95 for 3 years ago, will actually make sense, someday and you will reap it’s rewards – cuz now, you know what it’s really trying to tell you –
So don’t take my word for it – try it out – if nothing else, your dishes and laundry will be caught up and doesn’t a tidy room, counters and ironing board make one feel a tad successful – 🙂