Meditation or Medication?

My belly is full of coffee and brunch, my turns in Words with Friends are all played, and I’m up to date on Facebook and Instagram. I have run out of procrastinations.

I sit down to meditate in my bedroom. I want to love mediating. My husband and kids say they’ve noticed it makes me calmer, and nicer. During the actual act of meditating however, I feel anything but calm. I have so much to do, my thoughts vibrate like popcorn kernels simmering before they explode in the microwave.

And yet, I sit in my chair in my darkened bedroom, cross legged like Buddha himself. I put my iPhone on the ottoman in front of me and push play on my meditation app, which is aptly called, Meditation. I start by breathing slowly and purposefully to quiet myself as I’ve been taught. The app gongs to signal the start of the “active meditation” and I feel my belly resting on my thighs. I activate my core and berate myself for surrendering to the call of the cinnamon bun. And then I remember my task and package that thought away.

I start saying my mantra, working it over like a pearl in my mouth and then find myself wondering if my teenager is up yet because he’ll need to eat before he goes to work in two hours. And then I stop myself and package that thought away.

And then I start to wonder what my mantra means. It’s in Sanskrit, and I was told I’m not supposed to share it with anyone and that drives me crazy. But I’m a writer so I start riffing on the word adding ‘ings and ‘ables until I remember what I’m here to do.

I worry that I’m wasting my precious me-only time and chant more urgently, insistently trying to crowd out the other thoughts that keep sneaking in – Did I turn off the stove? Where are my rings? Twelve minutes is a long time. OMG the visa bill is due!

I long for a pencil and a pad of paper to write my thoughts down, so that I might later noodle why they entered my mind at that time. Are they necessary? Are they urgent? Am I going insane?

I sigh again and tune into radio silence. I recall Dan Harris saying in his book 10% Happier that “meditation the longest and strongest high he’s ever had”. Maybe I’m paraphrasing, but that was enough to make me buy the app. My life is actually pretty awesome, but who doesn’t want 10% more awesome?

The gong rings again to signal I’m nearing the end of meditation. I have 30 seconds left to return to earth (which I never left) and here I finally find some stillness but the final gong rings again to usher in the rest of my day and I cling to Eckhart Tolle’s definition that “one conscious breath in and out is a mediation.”

Let’s call that a success. Namaste.

Advertisements

Hanging with Friends is not enough, I’m coming home

Two days in isolation (except for Facebook and Hanging with Friends) in Whistler can do strange things to a girl. I feel like I’ve taken a vow of silence, leaving my thoughts to have a battle of wits in my head.

In between the fits and bursts of producing 5000 words these last 36 hours, I:

– ate cauliflower steak on the couch in front of the TV
– caught up on this season’s The Bachelor (get rid of Courtney Ben, she’s bad news!)
– drank so much coffee I couldn’t fall asleep for hours
– chain-snacked on gummy bears
– checked Facebook constantly
– got so bored that I cleaned the toilets

Reminding me that the best part of a business trip is coming home.

Love Lucie

Giddy ‘up!

I’m positively giddy today.

My hubby has seen the signs, picked up on my cues, perhaps even read my blog and given me two days of solitude at our cabin in Whistler, BC.

The view from my "office" today

He even called it, a “business” trip since I’m always complaining that he always gets to go on business trips and I have three essays on motherhood to complete by the end of this month. So while I write, he’s going to take care of it all – taking the kids to lessons, feeding them (takeout, I’m sure) and getting them to school on time. And me, well I have two delicious days.

Two days of not yelling at my children to hurry up/remember this/flush the damn toilet/I don’t know where your homework is. And two days of without the grumpy feelings that reverberate in both the yeller and the yell-ee. Two days where I can actually hear a pin drop – if there was anyone here to drop a pin, that is.

Two days of not being a short-order cook. I won’t be making lunches, snacks or dinners – I will not have to referee the best piece of chicken in a tug-of-war nor will I witness the vegetables being scorned and dumped into the trash. I have two days of eating what I want, when I want. In the cabin’s fridge, I have a nearly full bottle of pinot grigio, half a wheel of camembert and a giant head of cauliflower threatening to go bad. I’m actually looking forward to cauliflower steak with cheese sauce tonight and I have no one to complain about the off-gassing this inventive combination will inevitably produce.

For two days, I will not enter the laundry room. I will spend two days living in my pyjamas, taking writing breaks by singing along to all the sappy love songs on my iPod, unperturbed by that canned laugh track that follows the Suite Life of Zack & Cody around.

I have three essays due by the end of the month that could launch my nascent writing career and my husband has taken away all my excuses for not getting them done by giving me these two days.

I’m giddy over this gift of me-time, and I know that the reason I’m giddy is because I get my crazy beautiful life back in just two days. And I know that they’ll miss me, especially when looking for the peanut butter tomorrow, because I took the jar with me.

Absence really does make the heart grow fonder, I promise to savour every delicious minute of it!

Love Lucie

Mothers Day Off

Are you the kind of mom who loves to spend Mother’s Day with her kids – eating cold lumpy eggs with a smile, getting bread crumbs lodged in your panties as the kids devour your breakfast in bed for you? Or do you take the opportunity (if offered) to run for the hills, or at least to the spa?

My kids usually make me breakfast in bed, juice and buttered toast as they’re not allowed to turn on the stove without an adult present. This meal “fit for a Mother” is delivered by 3 proud kids on a tray resplendent with hand-picked dandelions and homemade treasures they’ve made at school. I love this tradition except for the mucky butter knife left on the counter and puddles of juice spotting the floor from the kitchen to my bedroom. I nibble on the toast, trying not to wonder if they washed their hands before buttering my toast. My husband says I can suck the joy out of things sometimes, and sometimes I have to agree.

Mothers Day is kind of weird for us mothers with mothers, mothers-in-law, and grandmothers too. Who do we celebrate? Not many men can organize brunch for 20, remembering their moms, aunts, grandmothers and children, so it usually falls to us to take care of everyone but ourselves.

I envy my friends who organize family bike rides on Mothers Day, complete with elegant 3 course picnic dinners for all to enjoy. If I tried that I’m sure one of my sons would be wailing because his brother “accidentally” rode his bike into him and refused to say sorry, one kid would go on strike and refuse to pedal any further, my husband would gag at the sight of the egg salad even though its my favourite food and my picnic blanket would be overrun by hungry ants.

I’d love my Mothers day to be a sunny ski/golf/spa/beach day, my belly full of egg salad and bacon and mimosas, accompanied by my happy-to-be-with-me fresh smelling children and loving husband.

Every day is Mothers Day – we cook, clean, work, counsel, cajole, launder, kiss boo-boos, check homework, and shop for groceries. I propose we rebrand Mothers Day and call it Mother’s Day Off, because that’s really what we want (plus a little appreciation).

And remember it’s Mothers Day, not Mothers Brunch, so make sure you get your 24 hours worth! Feet up ladies!

Love Lucie

I love Tina Fey

I feel that if Tina Fey lived my neighbourhood we’d be great friends – swapping play dates, great shoes, sexy pose ideas(!) and witty sarcasm like nobody’s business.

As reported on People.com (it’s like CNN, only more interesting), the mother/wife/actress/producer/comedienne/writer/multi-tasker Fey admits, “(As a mother) you need a lot of help, and you need not to be afraid to ask for help.” She credits a great nanny and husband Jeff Richmond, musician and 30 Rock co-producer, who is also “a full participant” at home. I too have a great nanny and fully-involved husband (see Tina, so many similarities!)

“But even still,” she says, “every 12 weeks or so, you just kind of lose it. Then you gather it back up.

I love that line. This perky mom who also happens to be the King of the Castle in Hollywood, just normalized the ups and downs of being human for us regular folks. She’s saying that not everything in real life can have a happy Hollywood ending like the Season Finale on this year’s Bachelor. A life that good simply cannot be sustained, it would be exhausting to try. And even if we worked so that 100% pure happiness was possible all the time, it would automatically feel less good by virtue of it being the new normal. Life usually fluctuates somewhere in between “oh my god, I just made the New York Times Bestseller list!” and “You’re the worst mother that ever lived, I hate you!” Instead of chasing those highs with singular focus and/or rushing to your therapist (and forsaking all others) when you’re losing it, it sounds like my girlfriend Tina just takes the good stuff as it comes, acknowledging the inevitability of “losing it” and then “gathering it back up again” happy in knowing that she’ll be on lather, rinse, repeat cycle for some time to come.

I’m on Facebook Tina, poke me!

Love Lucie