Mindfulness is stressing me out. I think I am actually getting worse at it each day.
I’m on a 10-day journey to the land of mindfulness. Read about how I got started here. This particular (attempted) journey is made possible by Headspace, an app you can get on your phone or other smart device to help you learn to be a calmer, more peaceful, more mindful, generally better version of you. They invite you to try their services for 10 days of 10-minute sessions called “Take 10” in the hope that you will become addicted to the soothing encouragement and reassuring tones of Andy, the founder’s voice, and then subscribe indefinitely for a monthly fee. The fee isn’t totally nutballs or anything, but how many monthly fees can a budget really handle? (Netflix, Health plans for 2 feline ingrates, Audible, the Y, multiple monthly donations, regular bills, preschool tuition, healthcare for the people in the household, etc.)
But more importantly, how’s that journey going, anyway?
So glad you asked.
Day 1: Cool. I can do this. I will become an amazing super woman, like I always wanted. Never again will I let things that are beyond my control keep me wide awake and sorting toys to pass the time in the middle of the night. I’ll even invite a couple of people to join me just for fun. Or spite. That’s probably not allowed.
Day 2: Makin’ time for me. I’m gettin’ mindful. Nothing of note to report.
Day 3: I’m on a roll! I’ll invite more people. Best thing ever!
Day 4: I powered through the last 5 minutes as Ulysse woke up from his nap, but let’s face it: adding worry about what a small child is doing in his room alone to the already challenging task of focusing on breath or the body or the blue sky or whatever is just too much. I don’t think Andy wants me to ignore my child. Is there an app for family meditation, or will I have to plunk him down in front of an episode of Sesame Street? We try to save TV for emergencies. Does this qualify? I just want to get some perspective, some “headspace” without getting arrested for child neglect, ya know?
Day 5: I must have blocked this day out. Probably done before bed. Not optimal. The novelty must be wearing off.
Day 6: Pretty much power napped through this one. No memories. It has come to my attention that I should be sitting upright and not leaning back in a chair, much less lying flat on my back in bed, like I did last night, or reclining in a comfy leather chair, like I did today. Perhaps these recumbent positions have a little something to do with my invariably falling asleep during meditation. I think I’m on a downward spiral.
Day 7: Dammit. It’s 10pm. I meant to get this done during nap time. I totally missed the bus for my journey today. Not only will I now try to type, with a straight face, that I just could not find 10 minutes in my day for meditation, I must also confess that I have not been following directions. Andy says to breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. I have an aversion to breathing out through my mouth. Sorry, Andy. Is this me hitting rock bottom? Went to bed feeling guilty and lazy.
Day 7: Jumping back on the bus! Andy doesn’t seem to be mad or even disappointed in me. He isn’t one to hold a grudge, unlike me. He even sent me a lovely email with a generous promotional offer if I sign up for a year-long subscription. Damn you, Andy! With your breezy, sweet talking, enlightened, British meditation speak, your cuddly little animation characters, and your crack team of internet marketers! Are you putting subliminal messages in the Take 10 sessions or are you just that good?!? Make that two emails today. Just got another one.
That’s as far as I have gotten.
Thus far in my mindfulness apprenticeship, I am most keenly aware that I am a middling meditator at best.
Favorite excuses for my meditation mediocrity:
- I’m sooooo tired! Maybe I would stay awake better sitting up, and maybe I would sleep better afterward, but it feels like a Herculean effort at 10:30pm. Andy says I would do better first thing in the morning, but he doesn’t say anything about what to do if your toddler wakes up and starts chanting “Maman coming! Maman coming!” and you can’t be sure he won’t pee in the bed if you don’t go right away or if he just really misses you. How can one be mindful of anything else in circumstances such as these?
- I don’t have time. See the first Day 7.
- Oops! I totally forgot!
- Everyday is kind of a lot…
- Didn’t I already do that today. Oh, yeah, that was yesterday.
- I don’t wanna breath out through my mouth!
Will I make it through 10 days? I’ve already missed out on a snazzy 10-day streak meditation badge in the app. Will I become addicted to Andy? Or will I be sucked in by the combination of his tantalizing offer and the desire to be addicted to mindfulness? Will I then pay for this gym membership of the mind for years on end, never actually using it, but too ashamed to admit it and quit? Only one way to find out!
Stay tuned. Should I subscribe? Or should I find another path to personal enlightenment? I’m open to suggestions, and apparently, subliminal messages.