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Ohmmmmmmmmmm my God.

Last Sunday night the fella got me to do something he’s wanted me to do for the past 10 years.  He asks for it for Valentine’s Day, his birthday and Christmas.  Every. Single. Year.

No.  Not that.

He wants us to learn to meditate.

I wasn’t opposed to it, I just didn’t know how good I was going to be at it.  I mean meditation is sitting.  Quietly.  With your eyes closed.  Which makes using power tools more dangerous than usual.  So even though I really wanted to be the kind of person who could meditate, I just wasn’t sure that was me.  I’m a doer, not a snoozer.

That’s what’s known as irony.  The fact that the person who most needs meditation is the least likely to be able to do it.

Last January I made the first New Years Resolution of my life. I resolved to relax.  I did exactly that the very first week.  I relaxed by knitting and reading and screen printing and cooking and … doing.  Stuff.  I do stuff.  It’s what I do.  It’s what I’m compelled to do.

I think it’s because of the tiny little workmen and chefs and inventors running  up and down my every vein and muscle.  Don’t believe me?  It’s true. I had an X-Ray.

 

So last Sunday the fella and I tromped off on a cold, rainy Sunday night to a local Moksha Yoga studio to get our thinking caps off.

As it turns out.

I’m a natural.

So’s the fella.

When I told people what we did the reaction was split 50/50.

“Um. Really?  You?”

The ones who didn’t say that, said,

“I want to learn to meditate.”.

The were a few straggling comments that revolved around magic mushrooms and unfortunate wardrobe choices.

The class lasted 60 minutes and it was geared towards people who had never meditated before.  I learned more than a few things in that hour.  For one, I learned that meditation isn’t anything magical or difficult. You do not have to wear harem pants while doing it and … you do not have to say ohmmmmm.

Our instructor, Nicola Jones, explained it very succinctly.  Meditation is basically the space in between thoughts.  Most of us think way too much.  At LEAST 60 thoughts a minute according to Nicola.    Most of them are repetitive and non productive. They’re also exhausting.

Meditation is having no thoughts.  That might seem really hard but there are times when you have no thoughts.  Meditation is the practice of extending that time.  The more you practice the longer and longer you’ll be able to go without thoughts.

The same way a room, or garden needs negative space, so does your mind.  That’s my own analogy.  I’m pretty impressed with it and if you’d like to use it you may, but I expect full credit for my brilliance.  Clearly, meditation has also filled me with humility.

What we did was “Guided Meditation”, where someone talks you through it.  And did she ever. She talked me right into a heap on the floor.  I almost felt like crying at the end of the hour, it was so great to not have a single thought in my head.

And as a result, I will be forced to stop this blog because I got so good at it I have no more thoughts at all.  Just kidding.

Still not convinced?  Here’s an example of a “guided meditation”  And, let me describe meditating like this … it’s like napping but being completely aware of how relaxing your nap is.

So I’ve done it.  I’ve meditated.

Onto the next thing the fella wants me to do with him.

Yes.  That.

Bikram Yoga.


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49 Comments | Filed Under: Everything Else |

49 Responses to Ohmmmmmmmmmm my God.

  1. pixie says:

    Yay karen! Bikram Yoga is sooooo awesome! It’s almost the anti yoga! The first time I tried it I was sore literally from the ear down to my ankle. I was hooked! It’s intense:)

  2. DearTufy says:

    Well, that’s one form of meditation

  3. Sam says:

    Ha! I thought the fella just wanted you to hum! Lol. Yeah, I can do me some yoga, but not so good at corpse pose–those little dudes running up and down the arms make me kinda twitchy! Lol. I might get the hang of it one day–But hey, isn’t using power tools meditative–clears the voices in my head? Tee hee.

    • Lori says:

      @Sam
      Does it clear the voices in your head?? or is it that you just can’t hear them due to all the noise that the power tools are making??! Hehehe

  4. Elle says:

    My mother in law was a Yoga teacher and tried to teach me how to meditate but it just made me paranoid and filled me with anxiety.
    I think therefore I am. Utterly (as Clarice Bean says).

  5. Tracie says:

    I’d say you had a very enlightened man there Karen…lucky you! Not to mention his, well never mind…ahm…I am still kind of waiting for your post on the lighted snow globe thingy from last year, just saying. Some of us would love to get ahead of things this Christmas. It would help with our pledge, just saying. Again. :) I do love you.

    • Karen says:

      Tracie – O.K. You’re the 4th person in the past 2 days to mention/email me about those globe thingys. I’m waiting until December to do it, but I promise I’ll do them as close to the beginning of the month as possible. ~ karen!

  6. Vanessa says:

    Oh my goodness I am so happy for you! I’ve been meditating for a few months now, and I love it! I’m glad that you’ve tried it and that you enjoy it as well. It’s a great thing for your overall health. :) Namaste, Karen!

  7. marilyn says:

    i love hot yoga! its just too bad that its so expensive because it is so amazing!

  8. Nicola Jones says:

    Ha-ha… thank you for dispelling the myths surrounding Meditation and for sharing your experience. It is my humble goal to introduce everyone to Modern Day Meditation and make the mind Gap wide enough for all.

    Here is a little Take-Away for you and your A.O.D.S readers:

    There is nothing wrong with Do-ing …try practicing “Awakened Doing”:

    The next time you are fixing your dryer or knitting a nose-warmer do not allow yourself to think ahead. Be fully in the action and space. Appreciate your ability to do/make/fix/create and the joy there is in being purposeful. When you are fully engaged in activities they open up a timeless experience and foster pure presence. This is Living Meditation. ENJOY! DO-on!

    • kate says:

      oh! what nicols says – maybe this is the only way i can meditate – because i CAN do that – one…tiny…thing…at…a…time — i learned it from my nervous breakdown and it was wonderful — everyone always says learn to meditate to help, but i could absolutely scream amd run away and never stop running from the intense anxiety that possesses me whenever i’ve gone to meditation classes. meditation is NOT easy and i’m very glad Karen has got the hang of it – but I am also glad to hear doing something in a focused way can be meditating, too. maybe there is hope for me yet.

    • This is how I learned to make washing the dishes a pleasurable activity rather than a drudgery. Stay in the moment rather than hurrying through it to get to the next thing. Makes a huge difference!

    • karenagain says:

      YES!!! I have been doing or trying to do this for a few years now. I tried explaining it to my Grandma. My example was telling her to enjoy the shower and think about the nice warm water instead of all the errands and chores she has to do after. I didn’t realize this was a “real thing”. Good to know that maybe I’m on the right track.

  9. Melissa says:

    Score another one for Karen. I’ve been saying I need to learn to meditate for years, and I always feel like even though I need it, I’m not good at it, it’s too much “me time”, etc… Your and the instructor’s analogies (as well as you ringing endorsement) made me realize I need to get back on the meditation wagon.

    Oh, and your drawing is hysterical :O

    • Karen says:

      Melissa – Drawing? That’s a bona fide x ray. I stole it from the emergency room place where they took it. Honestly. Yup. ~ karen

  10. Kim says:

    I find Bourbon nicely fills the negative spaces…

    VERY interesting thought provoking “nonthought”. Will you do it again?

  11. Dawn Royster says:

    Good for you! In my opinion Guided Meditation, oh boy this is gonna sound bad……is not “true” meditation. Gulp. You still there? I say this because you are still doing something. And you love doing somethings! You are listening and following. It’s a little like training wheels on a bike – no shame but riding without them is profoundly different. I think there is room for all types of meditation but I encourage you to try a more mindful technique…just for shits and giggles. In this type there is no talking, no visualizing being on a beach, on imagery. It is the absence of everything. Or rather, all that stuff is there but you don’t attach to it and you let it go. I think you have already done this when you get engrossed in a project. You are focused on the task and totally in the zone. You don’t think of yesterday or the next minute. It’s sort of like when you drive from point A to point B and have no recollection of the trip. You clearly did everything right (or you’d be dead), you paid attention, your feet moved and eyes moved and arms turned the steering wheel, but there was no thought…just being. Carry on!

  12. Nancy says:

    Way to go Karen! I too have just begun my journey into meditation and so far I love the results. There is a free 21 day meditation challenge led by none other than Deepok Chopra – it’s only on day 3 so not too late to sign up to practice this from the warmth of your home. Here’s the link
    http://www.chopracentermeditation.com
    enjoy!
    namaste
    Nancy

  13. deb says:

    Unfortunate wardrobe choices are my specialty, with the exception of the harem pants…although I bet I could dig up an old pair of MC Hammer pants that would work in a pinch. I make a mean mushroom omelet…and my mind is completely void of thoughts most of the time anyway. With these facts in mind, do you feel I might be a “NATURAL” as well? I await your humble analogy…(please pick yourself up off the floor!)

  14. Langela says:

    But thinking IS relaxing! I love thinking without interruptions. It doesn’t happen often enough with three kids. I can’t imagine NOT thinking…for an HOUR! I couldn’t do.

  15. cred says:

    I’m not good at meditating, either. I’ve tried it on my own but my friend who has been meditating for 20 yrs suggests that group meditation is much easier for a beginner.

    I need to find a group to give it a try.

    Impressed that your fella is interested in meditation. I took prenatal yoga and one session we were supposed to bring in our husband/boyfriend/partner. My fella came because I was pregnant and he is wise enough to know that you don’t refuse such a request from the woman bearing your child.
    Poor guy went but it couldn’t have been more awkward for the big burly lumberjack.

  16. Missy says:

    Thats awesome Karen.
    I, too, am one of the people who could use meditation, but feel that I wouldn’t be anygood at it. I’ve tried it on my own and found myself being fully aware of ALLLL the Sixety thoughts per second. Really, I found myself thinking about stuff that I didn’t even need to be thinking about. Maybe I need the Guided Meditation Class. Good luck with Bikram Yoga. ( I have no idea what it is) Now, its something else for me to think about while I lay in bed. J/K

  17. Carolyn says:

    Great for you & the Fella!
    Meditation is so great! I’m glad you are blogging about your experience because so many people look at me like I have horns coming out of my head when I mention that I meditate.
    It is simple, and it is so relaxing.
    Enjoy!

  18. Laura says:

    Your sample is like a bite size snickers. Too small, makes me want more; but then there the day would ‘float’ away, & tomorrow I’d be in hyper motion.

  19. Laura says:

    I too went to the Chopra website. I am enjoying it-did 2 at once to catch up a bit. I always need more time spent in focused prayer and thanksgiving. A beaUtiful day is waiting!

  20. Pat says:

    Congratulations! This is a “serious” comment. I have a feeling your blogs are going to be even more extraordinary when you are regularly meditating. Actually, meditation turns you into a more effective doer. I have done a number of 12 day meditation sessions where we are all actually silent for that time. You learn very valuable lessons of life. Best thing I ever learned and wished I had learned to do this many years ago. You and the fella are starting younger than I did, so good on you. Keep it up and you will reap the lasting benefits. And yes, yoga, yoga, yoga…. any kind of yoga. Your body will love you for it as well as your mind.

  21. Spokangela says:

    I love Bikram Yoga!!!!! I’ve been doing it for years. The only advice I have is go until you don’t notice the heat. I went for two weeks, feeling like I was going to die every time, then magically, I didn’t notice the heat one day. I felt strong, cleasned, relaxed and about 15 years younger. Plus it makes something else you can do with your fella even better…

    Yes, that. ;)

  22. Donna T says:

    I have practiced self-hypnosis for about 45 years… much the same… clears my mind of all thoughts. I started doing it to combat insomnia and it worked. VERY relaxing! Now, on to check out your meditation link! Thanks from Oregon!

  23. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I seriously tried the guided meditation thing years ago..I couldn’t relax and get to that beach..I am the kind of person that has to have something to occupy my mind or I get kind of antsy..I really wish I could have done it..I’m glad it worked out good for you and the Fella..

  24. Shauna says:

    That’s awesome Karen! Good for you! I did a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat once where you basically live like a monk – no talking, meditating from 4 a.m. till 9 p.m. with only eating (great vegetarian meals) and other short breaks in between. The first day – great, then as you go through the days, you find yourself arguing with yourself about how stupid it is, then how it’s not – back and forth…In the end, it was a great learning experience.

    In the book, Eat, Pray, Love, she describes the arguing in your head so succinctly. I could totally relate to what she was feeling because I too had felt it during those 10 days.

    Now breathe, feel the breath, let your thoughts go…AND GET BACK TO WORK! :)

  25. Jenn B says:

    Very funny that 2 of my favorite blogs have connected. Looking forward to Nicola’s meditation all day workshop this Sunday – fellow rookie, and a bit anxious, but if TAOD can do it I’ll give it a shot! Thks!

  26. Marie says:

    I think Dawn might be right. I’ve never tried guided meditation but have practiced TM with great results. I applaud you for trying something new, but please don’t do anything to interfere with this blog!
    On a side note, have you seen today’s Decor Steal? It’s perfect for the Mason jar lover, and did I hear lighted snow globe? Check it out:

    http://www.decorsteals.com/

  27. allyson says:

    I am SO like you, my brain never turns off. Even when I’m sleeping, I’m aware of my thoughts and am stewing about something. Maybe I should give this meditation a try.
    Gotta say, this is the last thing I figured the Fella would be into. go figure.

  28. Sue says:

    I have never had the urge to meditate because meditate means: to think, to contemplate
    and God know I do enough of that. Now I learn that
    to meditate means the opposite of meditate. I like the idea of turning off my thoughts like a radio
    from time to time. I will try this.
    My father used to tell me to do what I am doing.
    Now I get it. Thanks Karen. I adore you.
    Sue

  29. Sue W says:

    She said to gently close your eyes, I always do, who slams them shut? Weird.

  30. ev says:

    Thanks Karen–I needed that!

  31. Bikram yoga is the only workout I do that makes me feel like I’ve had a massage afterward! Try it!

  32. JBess says:

    I can’t wait to see your first post about bikram! I discovered it about 1.5 years ago, and it’s helped me a great deal. I am an anxious, anxious person without it. Two classes a week (three if I can swing it) and I am much more calm and positive. And I LOVE hearing other people’s thoughts and experiences with it, I’m not sure why but I find it endlessly fascinating.

  33. lemur_lass says:

    I have such a hard time meditating, it is good to know that there are guided mediations. I think I need that.

    I love doing yoga in a hot room, however, with Bikram those repeating 28 poses are not restorative or even good for all people. If you or the guy have any injuries, particularly of the neck or back, you should be careful. A good yoga instructor should discuss your injuries ahead of time and determine what poses you should or should not do and suggest alternatives. Personally, I have found very few instructors that are knowledgable enough to do this. Just a heads up so you and the guy don’t hurt yourselves.

  34. Warren says:

    Karen, i too discovered Hot Yoga last year around this time. Have made it a part of my life, almost a daily practice. Bikram and Moksha are two different approaches. I think it is very much a different strokes for different folks kinda thing.

    Both practices end their sessions with Corpse Pose, which involves the little workers throughout your body going on break at the same time….. When i first started the minutrs were interminable …. Now half the time i find i am the last person leaving the room, and was rudely woken up by someone snoring!!

    I love your blog, short snappy, so teadable… And interesting….

    ….. Oh, and please NEVER get rid of the Karen holding Fish-zilla shot …. H O T !! ;- )

    Warren

    • Warren says:

      ….. Also meant to say Lemer-Lass is totally bang on, watch out for the drill sargeant instructors, listen to your body? not your ego, trying to outdo your neighbors pose….

      • Karen says:

        And THAT is why I don’t want to ever do Bikram Yoga. I put myself into shock my first visit to Crossfit. I’m not very good at moderation. Might be a bit competitive too. Maybe. ~ karen!

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