Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Mental Staircase

Snuggled up in her quilted floral-print comforter, little eight year old Rainey closes her eyes and starts to drift to sleep. Consciousness starts to retreat back into her mind, like water slowly spiraling down a drain. The minute space between her eyes and eyelids goes dark. And in the moment between sleep and dreaming, her minds-eye rapidly zooms outwards revealing a colorless canvas, infinite in scope.

Snap back to twenty years later, when falling asleep has become one of two things. Either an action of impatiently waiting for blackness to descend while wrestling with the insomina devil, or unexpectedly passing out on the couch in the middle of a rerun of 'The Office' (side note - I watch 'The Office' so often while sleeping on the couch that the softly jangling theme song has become almost like a personal lullaby...). That peaceful, comforting moment between sleep and dreaming has been somehow misplaced over the years, my adult mind incapable, unwilling or too taxed by adult-like stressors to take even a brief rest before escaping into unconsiousness.

I found that moment again in an unexpected place.


Yep, yoga. Okay so maybe yoga is not the most unexpected of places to find a peaceful, comforting moment, but the way it snuck up on me took me by suprise. I have been attending yoga sessions once to twice a week for the past two months, in the hopes that it would help me achieve a level of balance in my life that I felt I was missing.

Yoga is HARD man. The first hour of the sessions I attend involves a group leader instructing the group through a series of yoga poses meant to open up portions of the body and connect with the mind, surrounding world and life forces. My body struggles through most sessions, and I am so far unable to do some of the advanced poses. The day after my body usually aches in places I didn't know could ache. Like my big toe. Really, big toe? Why you gotta do me like that the day before I have to wear heels for a meeting?

Clearly, I know very little about yoga in theory or even yet in practice, but from what I understand it was developed in the long long ago for yogis to prime their bodies for long stretches of intensely deep meditation. And let me tell you, those dudes must've been in shape.

Meditation is the main reason I decided to get involved in yoga. I wanted a place where I could quiet my mind and slow my rapid and increasingly negative thoughts. The second portion of the yoga sessions I attend focuses on the practice of meditation. Our breathing slows and we are encouraged to lie on our mats and just lie in the moment in a still and quiet position.

At first I used that time to just simply enjoy the electric tingles that prickled outward from my muscles. Then I started to focus on the connection between my mind and my body, and how they almost seemed like two seperate entities, sometimes at war with one another. I would alternate between concentrating on my body and breathing patterns, and softly thinking positive thoughts in my head. I allowed that time to be whatever it was that I was experiencing at that time, and I always left the session feeling happy and energized.

But the other day during meditation, something happened. I focused on my breathing and my body, and as I did this, the world fell away. My minds eye relaxed and a fuzzy space opened up like a small pin prick in the far off distance. The space was what I could only term a 'staircase', as it simply existed in my consciousness, inviting me to view it from afar, or there for me to venture closer if I wished. For a few seconds my entire being existed of only my perspective and the staircase, wavering in open air, announcing its presence. Even though nothing actually happened, after the session I felt lighter and more confident. Yesterday was a seriously good day.

I know, I know, I sound like a new agey hippie. But in all seriousness, this mind-space felt eerily like the magical sleep/wake feeling that I used to experience as a young child. Only this time, I caught a glimpse of what it might be like to explore that space out of a dream. Maybe someday I will find my way up that staircase, but for now I feel gratified just to have opened up a part of my consciousness that I wasn't even aware existed.

I can't wait to go back and explore.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Friday Night Cow Tippin' and Bacon

For purposes of this post, I would like to revise "A picture is worth a thousand words." into the phrase "A picturephone is priceless."

Not exaaaaactly the same thing, but if you have an addiction to the picture-messaging function on your phone like I do, you'll get my meaning. A good chunk of my day is spent sending and responding to picture texts from my sister. Like we need to send each other a continual stream of verifiable proof of what occurs in our days. Generally we send pictures of various foodstuffs, or our contorted faces to represent emoticons that don't exist. My favorite picures are the WTF pictures. Example - today, I hopped out of the shower and grabbed my phone to check the weather. What accosted my eyes when I peeked at my phone?

(it's microwavable!...and, added bonus, also a food picture!)

Therefore it was not strange at all when I picture messaged her no less than ten times on Friday night.

What follows are only the pictures that I sent her, with no explanation. I would like to think that standing alone, without description, they tell a story all on their own.

Now I'm sure stories that are made up will be much better than what actually happened....but here be the facts.

While sending my sister a myriad of pictures of my dogs face meant to convey dissaproval of her late night ice cream habit, she spied my shoe in the background of the picture. I then felt the need to send her an actual picture of my shoes. Upon which she cried 'Where are you? A hayfield?'. (Shamefully friends, this picture is actually of our dead lawn.) I corrected her and said, nope this is our neglected backyard.

At this time, Chris and I decided to go on a late night date to Denny's and Walmart. Due to the picture of our lawn, and the late night nature of our date, my sister suggested we maybe go cow tipping afterwards.

At Denny's we discover 'BACONALIA'. Holy crap. America is going to have a massive coronary. Chris decides to get the Maple Bacon sundae. Holy crap. My boyfriend is going to have a massive coronary. He does indeed feign a small heart attack after finishing the sundae, but alas he would not pose for a picture.

On the way out, Chris and I play the obligatory claw game that is truly my favorite reason to go to Denny's. He wins A COW for me on his first try! I get very excited.

I go home and I do a little cowtipping in my hayfield of a backyard. I giggle...and of course send a picture to my sister.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Why Am I Such A Bad Blogger?

Why am I such a bad blogger?

My past few returns to blogging have been oh-so-brief and bookended by long stretches of time. I have a few ideas why...

It's not that I haven't been thinking of my beloved blog, because I certainly do! All the time! I maintain lengthy lists of blog ideas that I add to on a frequent basis stored in my phone, and I even have a handful of almost completed posts saved on If someone were simply observing only my behaviors, and not my actual blog, they would think that I was a productive, active blogger and not what I actually am ---

A bad blogger.

For someone who loves words, who in fact totes around a dog-eared copy of Rogets Thesaurus in her car the term 'bad blogger' rings a little too stale. My blog-posting habits might be more accurately described as 'anxious blogger', 'scared blogger', 'negligent blogger', or even 'trying-really-hard-to-be-ambivalent blogger'. Truly, I have sat in front of my blank computer screen more than once over the past two months, paralyzed with fear that the resulting blog post might not be good enough. Generally this feeling abounds after I've read good chunks of genius authors like Mary Karr or David Foster Wallace....but even in the back of my head I know that they too struggled with uncertainty, anxiety and rejection. I even know that failure comes with the territory of any project that I personally will ever attempt in my life.

So, in reality, there really is no other term than 'bad blogger' to describe my absence. Because, really, I am the only one who is accountable for what gets posted and what does not get posted. Even now, discouraging thoughts are racing through my brain... "Does this post accurately encapsulate what I am thinking? Are people going to read and understand how I feel? Is this just a waste of time? OMG if I can't muster the gumption to maintain a blog then how am I ever going to write short stories or even 'gulp' a novel?!?"

My brain is evil sometimes.

I am not going to declare that my blogging neuroses have been defeated or even that I am going to blog faithfully as I have promised in the past. Because that is a promise that is sure to be broken at some point in time, and the anxious voice in my brain will take that and run with it when the time comes. In anticipating that nebbish bitch of a voice, I will only say the following.

Blogging makes me a better person. Blogging activates my mind in a way that few activities have. My mood, imagination, enthusiasm, and insight are always improved for having sent a blog post out into the electronic ether. I am going to try and post more frequently despite the nagging voice in my head that tells me it's not good enough....that I'm not good enough. Because there's always a reason to not do something. I need to start concentrating on why I can, and why I should.

Because there's a million reasons to succeed.