Monday, 16 April 2018

My busy brain.

Yes, you all know about my brain. Like, the many ways in which it misbehaves and wrongly welcomes in potentially dangerous strangers...? Yeah, it's quite silly like that. But something else you may not have known is: it's busy


(Photo: Erin Veness)


I can't switch it off. I realised this, for the millionth time, very recently when Mama, sis and I went to a local Buddhist Centre for a meditation evening. As the guest speaker was talking to us, explaining the importance of mindfulness, I found myself drifting away from his voice and slipping into my usual mental routine of replaying episodes of 'Gilmore Girls' while simultaneously wondering if anyone would be at the pub later that night. And then, when his speech ended and we were all left to sit quietly, power down our brains and supposedly reach a state of complete calm, I was writing a full length blog post for a good few minutes before planning my train journey up to Birmingham the weekend of the 6th. Then I made a mental note to message my barber friend and make an appointment to get the fuzz tidied up. 

That's what I do. I fill up my head with things and sometimes I don't make room for anything else. It can take me a while to fall asleep, because I'm so occupied with worries and wonderings - and sometimes I'm replaying my whole day, every errand and conversation, over and over, obsessing over how I handled every little act and interaction. That's always fun... 


(Photo: Erin Veness)


Meditating was tough. The closest I came to complete and total mental relief in that one little meeting was when I'd been sitting in the silence for possibly around a quarter of an hour, and I was suddenly overcome with quiet and emptiness...then not long after, my foot jerked involuntarily and I realised I'd been dangerously near sleep. 

On the way home after the mindfulness session, we reflected on how we'd all found the meditating portion of it. I felt confident saying it had worked, but only very briefly. I'd need more sessions to get it to properly happen. 

When I think about it (and make room for it in amongst the blurry background noise) the only time I get properly mindful and, like, zen these days is when I'm in the MRI machine - although that's mostly because there's nothing else to do but stare at the uncomfortably close ceiling, and I always ask the nurses and specialists to give me a blanket and headphones before they start the half hour scan, so I can be comfortable af and almost leave my body as they look inside it. 

What's the matter with me? Why can't I switch off? 



(Photo: Erin Veness)


I'd really love it if you kind readers could comment or tweet me with any tips you may have on achieving total calm and/or being mindful. Do you do it every day, or just now and again? Do you think it's even possible, in this day and age?! Let me know your thoughts...

4 comments

  1. I'm constantly reading about the benefits of meditation for anxiety, but every time I've tried it, my brain has hurtled off in a million different directions in exactly the same way as yours does. I don't know, there's an argument that it's supposed to work in that way - but it just feels like a waste of time to me. I feel the same way about yoga, with added "I look and feel like a giant floppy elephant right now oh my GOD DO NOT TOUCH ME".

    Sorry, that's not very helpful, but I felt so much solidarity with this post I had to comment!

    Lis / last year's girl x

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    1. I'm glad it's not just me - Mama tells me I have to keep trying, keep practising meditation and eventually I'll get the hang of it, but tbh I'm looking for something that will work well straight off, too!

      Huge love to you xo

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  2. I don't know why, but reading always used to calm me. I don't mean carrying around a book and reading when you can, though that is great. I mean more of taking time for me to read curled up in a blanket in the comfiest spot imaginable and just reading until I don't realize that I read half of a great book. I haven't been able to do this in a long time with my own mind and anxieties racing constantly, but I am trying to get back into it by reading before bed. No phone- even though that is surprisingly difficult as a night time scroller. I read for a bit before bed and I always find that it makes me go to sleep in a much calmer state. I can only hope that it will make me fall back in love with reading and be how I used to be while reading eventually if my mind can stop over thinking too. Recently, I have been trying to find my more "zen" self as well. It is going...it is going. Good luck in your mindfulness journey! I am right there with you even though I worry it is a lost cause some days.

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    1. Thanks, gorgeous Kendra! I have to say I find reading properly calming, but like you I struggle to make time for it some days. I definitely think it helps to read just before bed, and I try to leave my phone alone before going to sleep.

      Big bookish love to you! xo

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