Why Meditate?

I began meditating everyday about a year ago after somersaulting into a major life change. I quit a high-paying job that the family needed. I really loved what I did and many of the people on the staff but the toxic office atmosphere surrounding us turned more unhealthy than interesting, resulting in my doctor and the husband strongly supporting quitting my much loved, high-paying job. My supposed safety net consisted of nearing completion of a strong manuscript that my agent kept expressing eager interest in whenever I posted my progress on Instagram. I finished the manuscript last February and the agent no longer expressed eager interest. This is when meditation became a necessary part of achieving serene perspective.

Meditation is a lot for me to handle given that it requires me to sit still for awhile and quiet my zooming, ping-ponging brain. I knew the basics but searched for help through different on-line sites before finally sinking into Headspace. I love the founder’s matter-of-fact guidance through the mental and physical underpinnings of following your breath, tuning into your body and examining your reaction to your experiences and perceptions. Add the humor of Headspace’s many animated lessons and I now start the day with a composed smile and steady clarity.

Sometimes, though, meditation doesn’t help. Take last week, for instance, starting with further revelations and documents from Lev Parnas joined by the articles of impeachment being walked over to the senate. Supreme Chief Justice Roberts was sworn in and the Senators took an oath to be impartial then signed their names to a book for history to judge who’s lying. Just for fun, add a report of Trump’s bananas crazy stump speech in Milwaukee in which, along with the usual baiting, he boasted about saving light bulbs, dishwashers and toilets. The foreseeable future promises to be comprised of take no prisoners hearings and ten months of down and dirtty campaigning. All of this has the same effect on me as an Acme anvil on Wille E. Coyote.

If the anvil hits particularly hard, my next line of defense is to leave off work early and walk or drive aimlessly about. That’s what I did Thursday, a good forty minutes of meandering, coupled with grazing through some of my favorite pit stops (Lowe’s, Home Depot, Build It Green, The Gowanus Canal and a long patch of urban ruins between Red Hook and Sunset Park).

I headed home having definitely let go of half my stress and anxiety when–Bam–my Google Music playlist revolved to The Smiths and Morrissey crooning I wonder to myself/could life ever be sane again, a song written right after the nuclear accident at Chernobyl. It can’t be said that what’s going on now in our country and the world is an accident but it’s still somewhat akin to a nuclear explosion.

Really, when will life be sane again?

So I got home somewhat in the same state as when I left. I fed the cat. Made a cup of tea and read for awhile (ironically Joan Didion, a perfect partner to Morrissey). Went back to work until the night pressed against my window. Walked into the kitchen, poured a glass of wine and then wondered what to make for dinner. Kissed the husband when he arrived home and served a deeply fragrant chicken cacciatore. Poured another glass of wine as we talked about everything else but the day’s fresh train wrecks, most especially the happiness (finally) of our sons. Husband did the dishes, I took a bath and, after we went to bed and turned out the lights, I plugged in my earphones and sunk into a mediation specifically for falling asleep. It worked.

This is probably going to be the way I’ll muddle through the rest of the year. It’s not so bad a plan until life becomes sane again, right?

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