I have been spending unsupervised time with my thoughts. It sounds noble but I assure you, it is completely involuntary. As far as sleep goes if you know me you know that around 9 p.m. I am already heading upstairs to begin my post-menopausal moon salutations.
I do an abysmally short--some may say neglectful--skin care routine of washing my face. I can’t moisturize at night because apparently my face dreams it is a teenager and invites acne to the party. Next, there is a truncated routine of stretches and a 1-minute plank. A nice way to close out an active day of running and butt sitting at the computer.
Against all recommendation for a good night’s sleep, I turn on the news for a quick summary of the day’s events that lately have bordered on dystopian horror. All is well as I doze off while planning the next day--until anywhere between 2:30 and 3:30. Too early to venture downstairs to my office, even if the work is piled high.
Birdie, our 8 month old Plott hound, is being trained to sleep through the night and is way to enthusiastic for my company. My husband would not be happy if she began whistling for us each morning around 3 a.m. So I decide to meditate. In the absence of my irregularly regular pool swim I have lapsed and rarely do anything calming. I begin in earnest.
Focusing on breath I have always broken the cycle into 25 breath cycles hoping that by the 24th I am drifting back to sleep. Dear reader this has never been the case but hope springs eternal. The surprising discovery is my epic failure. Not only do I rarely reach 25 slow deliberate breaths but I often forget what I was even doing. I know your thoughts are naturally going to drift. Mindfulness is the whole point but my friend assures me the natural ebb and flow of your thoughts brings awareness and calmness. Think of it like waiting for a bus. You sit and watch the traffic stream past. Unfortunately in my mediation practice not only am I hopping on random buses, I rarely have a return ticket.
This is interesting to me. If you know there is a pattern or a glitch in the universe you are able to take measures for improvement. My friend Kathyann recommended a book that I have on my nightstand. If you click the image to purchase I get a few nickels but that isn’t the point. My inability to focus on inhaling and exhaling could be the ticket to a calmer mind, a better recovery, and more presence.
I wanted to share this story because many of us are dealing with stressful life events. We are fortunate to be helping plan our son’s wedding, I have a book deal, my youngest is beginning his second college semester safely down the hall, knock on wood we are healthy, employed, happy, and hopeful.
But that is the thing about stress. If you don’t own your own breath, you will not be able to own your own peace.
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