I almost called this blog post Meditations on Life, but I realized that’s not what this is about. This post is about working on myself. I mentioned it briefly in my last blog, and now I want to talk about what that means. First, I’m going to need to talk a little about myself. Sorry.
I’ve always been an incredibly anxious person. Usually I’ll worry myself into action, and it was actually working for me for a really long time. I worried about my grades so I studied like crazy for school. I worried about being first chair in band so I practiced for hours a day. I worried about getting fired from my job so I worked my ass off. Usually it goes pretty well for me, but over the past 10 years it’s gotten worse and worse. Now, I worry about things in the past. I worry about things I think are going to happen in the future. I worry about fucking everything all the time. I’ve taken medicine for this in the past but that’s not really the problem. The problem is me.
Which brings me to my next point. When I was in high school, I became incredibly interested in world religions. Not because of a class I took or anything, but because I was raised in the deep south and all of a sudden there was an entire universe of belief systems I hadn’t explored, so I began to look into them. At this point, I discovered Buddhism. I like Buddhism. Mainly because monks are fucking adorably sweet and would never hurt anyone. I feel like there is a lack of the hypocrisy you find in other religions, especially Christianity. While Christians kill in the name of their anti-homicidal savior, Buddhist monks truly embody their teacher, filling their days with meditation and mindfulness. There is something so sincere about the leaders of Buddhist thought that really appealed to me, so I embraced it.
That brings me back to the anxiety. As I mentioned, it’s been getting progressively worse over the years. Last year was really really really bad. I found my anxiety causing a lot of problems with me and my relationships, so this year I’ve decided to look to mindfulness and meditation to help me live in the moment and stop worrying about things that I can’t change or that haven’t happened yet.
So far, I’ve been meditating every day. I try to mindful always of the present moment. It’s never easy and, as you may suspect, I find myself slipping back into old, worrisome habits. But right now, I’m listening to the sound of my fingers on my keyboard. I’m stretching my foot over the bed and feeling my muscles tense and relax. I’m observing a calm in myself that can only come with doing something you love, which for me is writing a blog that no one reads. I’m going to make this a good year for me.
This brings us to our book review. As you know, I worked at Borders when I was in college. Yada yada best job ever yada yada working with books all day. It was a lot of fun, and a lot of our customers came in looking for the travel section (a side story: our store was in a very affluent area of Dallas, and our customers were well traveled. I remember one lady came in to find a French conversation book. After I showed her our most popular guide, she told me she was so excited to go to France she had goose bumps. This 50 year old woman then grabbed my hand and ran it along her inner thigh so I could feel her goose bumps. I’m not talking one quick feel, I mean like up and down her unshaven inner thigh several times. It was bizarre) and the self help section. Let’s just say I picked up this book several times a day.
Since it was in the self help section I always figured it was a bunch of new age shit. And I was right. This book is a bunch of new age shit, but in the midst of the shit there are some pretty insightful things that spoke to me as someone looking to reenter mindfulness and break the cycle of anxiety. The most important being that letting your mind control your life is insanity. The fact that I say to myself very frequently that I can’t stop my thoughts or I can’t control my anxiety is insanity, and it’s an insanity that can be broken by telling the mind to shut the fuck up.
This was my first read of the new year. I really only paid attention to half of it, then he starting going on about how relationships aren’t real or something and as someone in a committed relationship I wasn’t having any of his shit. If you’re looking for some new age garbage, this is a pretty good book. If you want to learn the real treasures of mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hahn is, without a doubt, my nigga.
Now, here’s Tetra with a sock on his head…