Last week was rough. My brain and I were fighting and try as I might, my brain won every time. I had a few very crummy days, the kind of days that start with negative, anxious thoughts and end with me crawling into my glorious bed, way before any adult should. I have found that a good way to lessen the impact of crummy, anxiety-filled days, is to practice mindful meditation before I get out of bed. Have I mentioned how much I love my bed? I really do, but more on that later; first, let’s talk about mindfulness.
The power of Mindfulness Meditation
A few years ago, I took mindfulness-based CBT with Mindfulness for Health, in Milton, Ont. I meditated every-day (mostly) for 8-weeks and I learned a lot about how to quiet my mind when my thoughts start swirling out of control, which happens a lot these days. Over the years I’ve continued to practice mindfulness meditation, especially in the mornings. I like to use the guided meditations on the Buddhify App (free on the App store).
In the morning, as soon as I turn my alarm off, I turn on my App and try to quiet the constant to-do list coursing through my brain. I try to focus on feeling the imprint my body makes on the mattress, the warmth of the flannel sheets on my feet, or the weight of the duvet on my skin. I think about that moment, rather than ruminating about past mistakes or fretting about what might happen in the future. It usually starts my day off on the right foot and also give me an excuse to stay in bed a little longer.
But meditation is hard
Often, my never-ending to-do list breaks my focus and when that happens, I am supposed to acknowledge the thought and return to my mindful meditation. Sometimes that works, sometimes it sucks. Last week it mostly sucked and try as I might, the thoughts in my head were all yelling for my attention and they weren’t being nice. They go something like this:
- I should just get up.
- I don’t really have time for this meditation crap.
- How much longer do I have to do this?
- Ugh. I don’t want to get up.
- I love my bed!
- Jeez, I have to get kids up and have them make lunches, get dressed, finish up homework etc. Am I done meditating yet?
- I hope they aren’t in bad moods this morning. I hope we don’t fight.
- Don’t want to fight with kids, why do kids always hate me in the morning?
- Oh my gosh — my kids hate me.
- I’m a horrible mother….
- I wish I could just stay in bed.
- I don’t have the energy to face the world today.
- I wish I could just stay in bed
Mornings are the worst
Stupid mornings, bringing up all my shit. Stupid school, making early-morning mindful meditation necessary. Can’t we all just stay in bed until 9:00 a.m.? The moments before I have to get up in the morning are so wonderful, second only to that moment when I finally get to lie down at night. Because bed.
Bed is so lovely, so soft and warm and inviting. And my bed is so damn pretty! It’s my favourite and my best and it’s pretty much the only place where winter doesn’t bother me. Winter Dana says forget Disney World, bed is the happiest place on earth. Pfft. Who has the energy for Disney World?
But face the morning, I must, so I leave my lovely bed and trudge downstairs to make coffee and sit in front of my light box with a dirty book. I turn on my fireplace and wrap myself up in a blanket printed with cheerful little pineapples, thankful for Flo, my flamingo lamp, and my summer inspired family room but wishing I was still in bed or that it was still summer.
The leaves don’t wave to me through my kitchen window anymore. All I see is dirty snow and frozen dog poop.
I hate fall
Oh yeah, fall. Have I mentioned how f*@king fall came again, in all its colourful glory, and then just up and left us with wintery weather? I hate fall because every year, I find myself surprised and bereft that the very same leaves that whispered their sweet songs to me on the summer breeze could throw on some gaudy orange and red lipstick and abandon me. Do you think that’s why they’re called leaves? Or why we, when ready to ditch a place, leave? The leaves don’t wave to me through my kitchen window anymore. All I see is dirty snow and frozen dog poop.
It seems I am going to have to endure another dreary Ontario winter. It snowed so early this year that the family of Robins living in my ivy, screamed in protest and hopped around indignantly on the deck for a few days. I could imagine the mama robin nagging her partner and kids to help her pack up because it was time to move on. I kind of felt sorry for her, it didn’t seem like she wanted winter to come either. Finally, after a couple of days of her endless harping, they left and flew south together. Lucky birds.
In my more irrational seasonally-affected moods, when mindful meditation isn’t working, I dream of flying south too. I tell Kerry it’s time we moved somewhere warmer, where the weather is less brutal. Who cares if we can’t get jobs anywhere else, I say. He says nothing. I take that silence as a good sign and start MLSing (yes spellcheck, it is a word. It’s a sport, actually!) the heck out of random southern cities. I marvel at the differences in housing costs between Oakville and – well, anywhere. We’d be rich, I tell Kerry. We’d be fine, we won’t even need to work.
But then my sweet, un-depressed husband acts like the accountant he is and calmly translates our money into American dollars. Reality sets in. We wouldn’t be rich, we’d be poor. And jobless. Our new shack probably wouldn’t even have room for my gorgeous big bed. And so, I try to meditate. I breathe deeply and remind myself that I don’t really want to leave my home and native land, my family, my friends. I remember that my brain is messing with me again. And Kerry takes a deep sigh of relief. Until I start MLSing again.
A final thought
Ugh. This sucks! How long until summer? Can someone please drop some vitamin D in my mailbox? If you need me, I’ll be meditating, in my bed by the light of my lightbox!