I’ve been under a great deal of stress and anxiety over the past few months (or should I say years). To sum it up, I had a baby in 2009. Divorced my husband in 2010. Changed jobs in 2011. Purchased a house in 2012. Got fired in 2013. I guess you could say that’s a lot of change. On top of that, I have no family nearby. My closest relative is 3000 miles away. Hey…. I’ve got an excuse, right?
I realized I was losing my mind, and sought the help of both a life coach and therapist. They were amazing resources to have through this life changing journey. My homework, as always, to relax and clear my mind….. Yoga and Meditation.
I understand the concept of yoga. You do some poses, increase your flexibility and improve your overall health. But how was that supposed to make me relax? Before having a baby, I did Bikram yoga a few times a week. It was certainly a workout, but I never felt relaxed after class. I mean, you’re in a room, heated to 104 degrees for 90 minutes, holding poses for 60 seconds and sweating profusely. Heck, I never sweat that much in my life. The class was always crowded, which meant the person next to you was literally 6 inches away, and hat person was sweating too. The whole time, I’m hoping I don’t pass out or vomit.
The instructors are pretty strict. You only get designated water breaks, and God forbid should you wipe a drop of sweat from your eye. . “DON’T MOVE. CONCENTRATE ON YOURSELF. DON’T LOOK AROUND. REMEMBER TO BREATHE”. Yeah, right. How am I supposed to do that when the person to my right is bent like a pretzel, the person to my left ate a plate of garlic the night before while someone in front of me keeps farting. Who can breathe in a room like this…. let alone relax? I sure can’t.
I decided to try meditation. My therapist said to sit still and empty my mind. If thoughts or images come into my head, don’t analyze them. Dismiss and let go. Sounds pretty simple, right? First off, I have ADD. Try telling someone with ADD to sit still and not think. It doesn’t work. I don’t know how to sit still. That’s what brought me into therapy in the first place. My mind doesn’t stop. This can be a benefit at times, especially when I want to be creative, but it can also be very distracting. In the span of 5 minutes, I had about 20 conversations with myself. It went something like this:
“What am I going to make for dinner? Did I pay the mortgage? My boobs hurt. I think I’m getting my period. My eyebrows really need to be waxed. I wonder if I can get an appointment. Am I supposed to pick up my daughter from Preschool? Crap… What day is it? I think I smell a little. Did I put deodorant on today? Why am I trying to meditate? This is stupid. Oh yeah…. I’m trying to relax. OK now…. Concentrate. Maybe I should think of my chakras. What are chakras? Do I even have them? Perhaps I can focus on my 3rd eye and look for my spirit guide. Hello Spirit Guide… Where are you? Are you there? I can’t see a thing. Maybe I should light a candle. Maybe I should play music next time. Is 5 minutes up yet? This is taking too long. My hair needs to be colored. When will I have time to do it? I should probably call a plumber to fix my shower. Don’t forget to call the plumber when you’re finished.”
Just so you know… I forgot!
Obviously, meditation wasn’t helping. It was only stressing me out even more. Someone suggested to try Core Power Yoga. The class is only 60 minutes, the room is heated, but not too much, and they play music. Perfect! So, I bought a Groupon, tried a few classes and found out I really like it. The teacher had us meditate at the end of class yesterday. (Oh no…. Here we go again.) But this time, I decided to repeat a mantra. (Hey, it was only 2 minutes of meditation. I could do this.) I spoke to my father, who had passed away about 8 years ago from cancer. I said to myself, “Dad, I know that you look over me and protect me. Please show me a sign you are there”. I said this to myself over and over until the 2 minutes were up. Then I forgot about it.
This morning, my daughter wanted me to read her a book before preschool. She was watching a cartoon, so I turned it off to get her full attention. The book she chose was “The Polar Express”. If you haven’t read this book, it’s about a little boy who takes a train to the North Pole to see Santa. He is awarded the first gift of Christmas and chooses a bell off Santa’s sleigh. On Christmas morning, he rings the bell. It makes a beautiful sound, but can only be heard by the children. His parents cannot hear a thing and think it’s broken. The last page of the book reads like this…
“At one time most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me as it does for all who truly believe.”
After we finished reading the book, I grabbed my daughter’s lunch box and started ushering her to the car. We were going to be late if we didn’t hurry up. All of a sudden, the TV turned back on by itself. The cartoon was still playing and it brought a big smile to my daughter’s face. I guess my Dad was listening after all.