Meditation Schmeditation

I am not a trend setter.

Not even close.

I admittedly have a thick, solid chip on my shoulder that grows at lightning speed when I hear the word “trendy”.

I jump ship. Fly out the window. Run for the hills when a trend is in the air.

I’m an optimistic skeptic with a questioning mind. I thoroughly enjoy movements that are making the world a better place but when the masses jump on board…eyebrows are raised.

Until now.

Yes, I realize that meditating has been around for a bazillion years, but for some reason it is HOT right now. It is resurfacing like the classic nerdy girl in cliché rom-coms who has always been in your life, but when she takes off her glasses and whips her hair out of a pony tail  she is suddenly having jocks and emos alike, pitching tents in their pants like champs!

So, of course, I resisted it. Any time that tiny voice would pop up in my head and innocently say, I mean we could just try it, I mocked, patronized and bullied the hell out of that  voice until it withered away defeated and needing a hug. I turned into a defiant teenager, digging my feet deeper in the mud, even though I knew way down inside that this time the masses weren’t asses.

Hard horse pill swallowed.

As much as I am a firm believer in the results that meditation does provide, (yes, I know there are not just many, but overwhelming evidence that it positively changes your brain in little as eight weeks) anytime that there is a constant media bombardment with the trends of the times, my antenna are raised sky high and a don’t drink the Kool-aid defense flies into overdrive. The meanings of the words “mindfulness”, “deep breathing”, “present”, even “mat” for God’s sake, all began to turn into one huge blob  diluted with saccharine sweet syrup whenever they were read or uttered.  I couldn’t take it anymore. If I saw one more Instagram picture with #blessed I was going to lose it. If I exasperatedly dropped my head back one more time , I was going to have self-inflicted whip lash.  I was morphing  from a skeptic to a crotchety cynic, and I didn’t like it, didn’t like it at all. Something had to give.

Little did I know that the something was me.

See, here’s the thing. I flew through life like a high-strung wind-up toy  all the way through my late 20’s. I was so terrified of slowing down that I actually bailed on an acting class where I had to play a woman suffering from sleep paralysis. Yeah, I know. I’m not proud of it. But there it is.

Everything came to a screeching halt when I ventured out west to dabble in a cross country move. The brink of a nervous breakdown paired with an impromptu trip to the Hoover Dam, (thank you Rox and Pat for your timely Vegas vacation.). pinged clarity in my brain to move back home. Not  New York City “back home” but Mom and Dad Up(up)state NY home.

Driving through the Nevada desert, the phone call went something like this…

Me: Mom, it’s me.

Mom: Hi, sweetie.

Me: I’m moving back home.

Mom: What? Um, you’ve barely been in L.A. for two months

Me: I know. I feel like I’m losing it.

Mom: Okay. So, you’re going back to New York?

Me: No, Mom. I’m coming home.

Mom: (hard whisper) Tony, get on the phone! (back to me) Okay, sweetie. Just wait a sec…

Me: I didn’t call to discuss it. I called to tell you.

This whole conversation came out of one mini “ping” of clarity. I was so out of my sense of sanity that I based my whole move back east on one “sign”. While driving back to L.A. from Vegas I turned on the radio and the song playing was Chris Daughtry’s “I’m Going Home”. I was basing a major life decision on an American Idol contestant. He didn’t even win. I didn’t even care. Get me the fuck out of dodge and into comfort, safety. Anywhere but here. Little did I know that this was a pop hit at the time and had no real magical timeliness of being on the radio.

As I cruised along with my trusted co-pilot, Chris, I had a Jerry Maguire moment. Daughtry was the Petty to my Cruise. I blared the music, belted it out and felt free as a Goddamn bird.

Fast forward 10 years later with one move back east, one marriage and two kids, and I’ve come to the realization that I actually want to slow down. I want to shut my brain off from thinking about anything. My brain moves fast. Really fast. These aren’t bragging rights, it’s actually pure terror at times. Somehow the monkey in my brain got its hands on a bottle of bourbon and a bag of speed and We need more avocadosDoctor’s appointment on TuesdayMom’s birthday is in two weeksClient meeting on Thursday morningThe laundry is still in the washing machine and is starting to smell like wet dog all blur into one HUGE continuous thought. No matter if you’re working or a parent or both, you know that responsibilities can form such a thick fog in your brain that you can easily forget what day it is. Being grateful and not overwhelmed is much easier said than done when you’re moving faster than a speed racer.

The cherry on top of this massive sundae flurry is that I’ve grown to be a worrier. Worried about the state of the world. Worried that I just had a dream about my sister, so does that mean that something is going to happen to her? Worried that people will think I’m a self-indulgent brat if I follow my creative pursuits. Worried about as a mother, wife, daughter, sister, daughter-in-law, friend, am I doing enough??

My book shelves, bed side table, coffee tables are covered in personal development books. I crave self-actualization. The thought of it gets me hopped up and ready to roll. Thing is, all of the worry inside of me isn’t being calmed and cleared from these books. I’m consuming more than I am creating. And that ain’t good. I am creating meaningful work but  I’m also creating problems, worries, a tight jaw and cramped shoulders. A routine couple glasses of wine and an end of the night smoke aren’t going to cut it anymore. I’m jumping off of the hamster wheel of anxiety and confusion. I’m ready for the leap.I’m waving the white flag high and wide.

My change of heart came from reading about the Maharishi Effect. It’s a scientific study that pretty much proved that if as little as 1% of populations practiced Transcendental Meditation, the rest of the population is positively and peacefully impacted. Specifically, one popular study showed an actual significant reverse in crime rates in one population that was studied.  Imagine that? Meditating actually effects the greater good! Wha?? Incredible! Which brings me back to booing on trends. If this “trend” stays and people are meditating in masses for the rest of humanity’s existence – whoa. Envision the change that we can all make together, even when we feel separate and alone. I was so self-absorbed in my thinking that I was resisting everything about it.

Now? Hell yeah! Sign me up! I’m on day 25 and can say with certainty that I’m completely jumping on board this trend train! If I can’t end genocide in Darfur, put healthy food in every school, clean water in every town, or bring a screeching halt to domestic violence, then at least parking my butt for a few minutes a day will be my contribution.

Love you, Monkey Brain, but your stop is next!



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