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Posts Tagged ‘stress’

English: Meditation

I got to work a couple of weeks ago, completely flustered. It was a totally Murphy’s Law day, where almost everything that could go wrong had gone wrong. Don’t misunderstand me, nothing was huge, but I was caught in a traffic jam—in my own parking garage, no less. This made me late for a dentist appointment, which in turn made me late for the office. Once at the office I had to scramble so that I wouldn’t be late for my flu shot appointment. But between the traffic jam before ever even leaving home, the slow pace of traffic up Yonge St. and having to deal with the computer from the movie Office Space, I was completely flustered and haggard by 10:30 in the morning. In fact, I didn’t start to relax until after my flu shot, when I said to one coworker that what I needed was to be forced to sit quietly with a cookie for 15 minutes. We laughed, because isn’t that something we could all use: 15 minutes when we’re not being pulled in every conceivable direction. Fifteen minutes to do nothing but think about breathing in and breathing out, while waiting of course to make sure the vaccine doesn’t make us sick.

In talking to another coworker I came to understand that I do this a lot. I’m chronically over-extended. In fact, this second woman went as far as to characterize me as being over-extended. This was a real shock to me. I’ve always described myself as being laid back. How could I have missed such a crucial personality flaw? All I  can figure is that people who are over-extended have very little time for introspection. Even the time I’ve set aside for meditation is tightly planned. I have a 6-minute guided meditation with a row boat, then I do 2:30 minutes of thankful prayer, then another 6 minutes of meditation—it’s not really free-form, but it’s supposed to help me sleep, so it’s not really guided either. So then, I started to wonder, do I really have time when I can let my mind be still? When I just let myself be, and enjoy that time?

The good news is that there is. Every night after dog park I bring Cadie home, and I put her in the bath tub. She really doesn’t like the tub, but she accepts that dirty little paws have to be cleaned, so she gets in the tub, and hands me her paws one after the other until all 4 are clean.

Lounging on my impossibly formal couch–or chesterfield

Then I lift her out of the tub, sit her on my lap with her little feet sticking straight out, and I rub them dry. Then I pet her back. Cadie will lay her head against my chest, and exhale deeply, making a little sound of satisfaction. Then she snuggles the crown of her head under my chin. This is where we stay…for about 2 minutes. 120 seconds. I try to take my time saying it—One-hundred and twenty seconds. Normally this amount of time would pass in the blink of an eye, but this is when I am happiest, so I try to drag it out. This is the moment that we’ve both waited for all day, and we both do our best to make this moment last.

So there, with her little head under my big chin, her little ears twitching as my breath grazes them, we both relax, reclining into the formal chesterfield, her wrapped in a towel, me sometimes under a blanket. My mind becomes still, and I focus on how much I love her, and how grateful I am to have this happy little soul in my life. It’s the cosiest moment of my day, and like meditation I’ve been known to fall asleep like this–especially if the weather is particularly cold.

But all good things must end, and I’ll do something stupid like reach for her paw, or adjust my hold of her back slightly. Cadie will push herself up, give her head a shake, and just like that the moment has passed; now we’re back to reality. The pace picks up again as I go about getting her dinner, and of course the treat she has earned by enduring the indignity of having to go in the bathtub. I also have to clean the bathtub, get my own shower, and then make my own meal and get started on whatever chore I need to tackle after dinner.

It might not be long, but I carry that stillness with me until I can recharge myself again, until I can sit and care for Cadie. It’s nice to know that in an imperfect world we can always have at least one-hundred and twenty perfect seconds to sustain us.

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Yesterday was a bad day. I mean it was a good day, I got a lot done, but it was a bad day in terms of nerves. It seems that I had completely forgotten that it’s Christmas, a time for celebration. Since today is Friday–also a time for celebration–I am going to take it down a notch, focus on festivities and try not to stress.

You may recall that my mother decorates the front of her house with a giant blow-up Homer Simpson. I live in an apartment, which doesn’t have a yard, so my homage to the Simpson’s (probably the most commercial family tradition I’ve ever heard of) is a small decoration on my tree. You might notice that I’m also so lazy that I haven’t even hung this ornament properly. That’s because perching him on the branches, I believe, allows him to stroll through the tree at his leisure.

I was so eager for Christmas this year that I broke all of my rules and started decorating the second last weekend in November. Sadly though my apartment is so warm that I haven’t really had the lights on. Still I’m going to focus on the things that make me happy before I plunge into my work.

 I can’t really tell you what was going through my mind when I decided that I should put up a tree dedicated to gingerbread. Sometimes–most times–I seem to forget that I should be watching what I eat. Funnily enough most of these ornaments have a story. There’s one there from my trip to Quebec City in 2004; that’s a nice memory, Quebec City is beautiful and it was a fun trip. There are also a couple of ornaments given to me by the kids I used to babysit when I was in high school. That’s also a nice memory, they were the best kids, and that was the easiest babysitting gig ever.

If you look hard you can also see gold and silver apples. They’re from the dollar store. It’s not much of a story, but I will tell you I was humming that “Silver and Gold” song from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer while I was buying them–that’s like half a story right? One quarter of a story?

I bought this tree my first year away from home;  it was the perfect size for a residence room, and it was the perfect size for my bachelor, but now I am beginning to feel that I’d like a much bigger tree. I mean I do have 2 trees and 2 boughs already, but it’s not the same as having a nice tall Christmas tree right?

Happy Friday

 

Alright–deep breaths–I think I’m ready. I think I’ve had a good dose of Christmas spirit and I’m ready to take on the day. If I need any other encouragement I can remember Friday’s traditions too.

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