I Beat Myself Up for Beating Myself UP

All I can think about lately is how bad I am at this meditation thing. While I’m meditating I’m thinking about how I’m glad I’m doing it, how I get to send my little group a “done!” text, and that hopefully with time I’ll be the meditation guru that I’ve hoped I would become. I try to remember to pay attention to what I’m doing, like Andy says, be present when you stand. When you sit. Remembering to do this twice or even once per day is a huge success! I fail all day at that. I remember only when I sit down the next day to meditate and scream “DAMN IT! I was supposed to do that!” And then I think about how bad I continue to be at this whole ‘mindfulness thing’.

Managing Anxiety is the package I’ve chosen. Andy tells us that we have to learn to re-frame our relationship with anxiety. Instead of letting it define us, learn to work with it. (Damn, Andy sounds a lot like my old therapist…) But instead of saying “I am an anxious person”, say “I am someone that deals with anxiety”. Don’t let it own you, you are not anxiety.

During my meditations I beat myself up, a lot. Then I beat myself up for beating myself up–it’s a terrible vicious circle and it doesn’t really seem to work. But I continue to do it, I continue to try and learn and take these lessons to heart, and I guess by writing about it I want you guys to know that a little bit can and does help.

I’ve started to notice a few things:
-after a long day at work I had plans. Plans that involved a sick kid, decorating a Christmas tree, and whatever else goes along with that. But I NEEDED a minute before going from smiling barista, to smiling girlfriend… So I laid on my couch, boots, jacket, scarf, and hat all still on and I laid there and took like 20 deep breaths. Those few moments were for ME. Well, and for them because without those moments I think I would have snapped, gotten mad, or annoyed.
-often times at my retail job we have less than pleasant customers; I have yet to beat anyone up, yell at them back, or walk out on my shift–I’ll attribute some of that to meditation, some to my amazing ability to hold myself back from stupidity.
-I ran long and hard yesterday… my 4 mile trail run turned into almost 9 miles of bushwhacking and being lost in the woods. I was going to go run, lift, or both this morning–however, my body HURTS. So instead I did some slow moving, deep stretching yoga. That in itself was a meditation.

Anyway, long story short–meditation is never perfect. It’s not stopped me from wanting to drop kick the puppy that lives in the apartment below me…(I haven’t and I WON’T–but the barking, so much barking…) But it is helping in some small, slow ways. And for that alone I’m going to keep it up.

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Here’s a photo before I realized what kind of adventure I was going to end up on… It’s called Top of the World and that is our beautiful Lake Superior there!

Define ‘Wilderness’

When I left the Bangkok hostel, turned left down an alley and right onto the main road. I ducked under the BTS, Chong Nassi station, hopping up curbs and around food carts. I dodged Thais on their way to work; I was on my toes nimbly able to move quickly in any direction. Horns honked and motorbikes passed me as I hugged the side of the street in order to avoid pedestrians and stray dogs. Concrete jungle was never such a clear term as it was on my run to Lumpini Park through the city of Bangkok.

            Arriving at one of the many entrances to the park I was quickly swooped to the right in order to flow with traffic. Pedestrian and bicyletrian traffic has a schedule of directionality around the lake within the gates—that day it was right. Running faster than some, I passed cautiously, I was unsure of the community ‘norm’ here. On the trail I’m alone and just follow the path, in this ‘jungle’ I was out of my comfort zone and was forced to look around and try to integrate myself into the foreign culture.

            Birds manifested in groups of women flapping colorful fans. I imagined the men with swords practicing some sort of slow, methodical chorography as dragons. The deer I often see leaping through the trails of Oregon were long, lean women doing sun salutations to the 7am sun. Bears were transformed into heavy men sweating in the already hot day running the same course as me. Instead of the wind rustling the branches of trees I heard music blasted from speakers high up on lampposts.

 

I was in the wilderness—just not the kind I’m used to.