I’ve been meditating for a week now, using Medito’s 30-day challenge. It’s been pretty great. For me, meditating can be difficult not because I’m easily distracted (I am, but not when I’m meditating), but because meditating tends to dredge up whatever energy I’m holding onto or trying to push away. So when I’m done I often feel melancholy or sad, which makes me feel like I’ve failed the meditation, which is trying to get me to acknowledge and let go of thoughts and emotions.
But lately I’ve come to realize that this is all part of the plan. Some things are easier to let go of while meditating, while others require some purging, so to speak. And lately I’ve been finding myself both feeling depressed and acknowledging my depression, almost as it from a third person perspective, which feels different than normal. Normally I feel bad about myself when I get depressed; now I am able to compartmentalize it, in a way. Not the right word — I give compassion to myself for how I am feeling.
After I meditate I write a little bit in a journal which is meant just for after meditation. It’s another one of those notebooks I’ve had forever (2016 in this case) but barely write in. Another acknowledgement: I have to stop buying notebooks. But I write how I feel or just whatever thoughts come to me, and then I write down three things that I’m grateful for. That part is the hardest, because for some reason I decided in my head that the three things have to be different each morning. A couple of days ago I realized I was doing that and very kindly told myself that they don’t have to be different things and, in fact, they could all be the same three things if that’s all I could think of. The idea is not to think about it or give that many rules to it; I only picked three things because it seemed more beneficial than one, but writing ten things every day sounded like a chore.
Anyway, the holidays always tend to make me depressed for reasons that go to the therapist, not to my blog. Suffice it to say, it’s nice to be able to acknowledge that without wallowing in it. I can’t say that every day will be like this, but it’s good to know that they do exist, and that the feeling of them will pass. My higher brain telling my lizard brain that things will be alright. It’s good.
Look at the absolute monstrosity I made this morning for breakfast:
What you’re seeing here is:
cheese (taco seasoning flavor, it’s the only shredded cheese I had)
deli sliced honey ham
toast with blackberry jam
I have notes. You have notes, I’m sure. Turns out, two small potatoes make more than enough hashbrowns. I won’t make that mistake twice.
I woke up at 6am today1Jowers was a big fan of this. An hour earlier for food? Count me in! She seemed to say. as part of my new scheme to see if I can survive off of seven hours of sleep at night, and actually did things instead of lay around in bed until 8:30.2Side note: I’m trying to refrain from apologizing for the good things in my life. Like this, for example. Sleeping in. Being able to work from home regularly. It’s a privilege and I’m glad to have it, but I won’t apologize for it. I know other people have it worse; other people have it better, too. Life is life, enjoy what you have and don’t envy what you don’t. Cleaned and organized my bedroom up a bit, started laundry, meditated and wrote some positive intentions, and then, an impromptu decision to make hashbrowns. I haven’t made hashbrowns in ages and I am always bad at them. This time was olive oil, maybe too much for the first batch and too little for the second. Yes, I washed the starch off of the potatoes. Yes, I drained the starch water out. Yes, I dried the potatoes afterward as best I could (with a paper towel pressing the raw potatoes in a strainer). In the end I still had a bit too much moisture but they were still fairly crispy and tasted better than they looked, except for the second batch (the one on top), which I put too much salt on. The entire thing was overly salty. Salt should not be white so you can see it better on things, you know? Like pepper, pepper is doing good work. Pepper’s like, “Here I am, mister!
Over the years I’ve gotten slightly better at cooking. Not a gourmet chef by any means, but good enough to make myself breakfast. I make myself a lot of breakfasts (as opposed to just pouring a bowl of cereal, which I also do often). The best breakfasts are potato-related, usually fried up chunks of potatoes with garlic salt. Simple and effective. I cook in olive oil now instead of butter, just for health reasons, and olive oil is not but not the same. Butter is where it’s at. Bacon grease? Even better. But a doctor told me once to stop cooking in bacon grease because my cholesterol was a little high. She told me this as I was cooking bacon. So I switched to olive oil, except for eggs; I’ll be damned if I ever cook an egg in oil. Take that, Gordon Ramsay.
The truth is, I cook because I’m broke most of the time. Like now, I had to pay a few bills that pop up every year (like the hosting for this very site!) and after that I had just enough for some groceries. I’m at that fun point where I’m not broke enough to need food stamps or anything, but I don’t make enough to live 100% comfortably. American capitalism in a nutshell. It’s ultimately good though. Learning how to cook is good. I haven’t done any baking though because baking scares me. Baking requires preciseness. At least with cooking I can burn the hashbrowns but they still taste good and like hashbrowns. You put one extra teaspoon of baking soda in your bread and suddenly it’s … well, I don’t know what. Extra poofy? I really don’t know baking very well.
Re: meditation, I highly recommend doing it. I use the Medito app which is free, but not paywall free. Totally free and supported by donations. This, to me, is the way to go. There’s something about a meditation app that has a free bit that you can use but pushes you to buy the full app that irks me. It feels very … not meditative. Thankfully Medito does not do that, and comes with lots of meditation practices. Thank you very much, The Netherlands, for bringing meditation to us in a way that feels good and not like icky capitalism.
Meditation is great. I started meditating in grad school; I needed two extra credits to be full time, so I took a weightlifting class and, immediately after it, a meditation class. We sat in a gym room used for jiu jitsu and the instructor turned off the lights and we just sat in there for a whole hour. Some people slept; the instructor was fine with that. “That’s just your body telling you you need to sleep,” he would say. I learned later that we were basically doing vipassana meditation, which is apparently one of the hardest kinds of meditation as it doesn’t focus on anything besides your breathing. It’s not like a meditation where you focus on peace or destressing yourself or things like that. Instead, you just sit and experience your breath and let the thoughts and feelings you have come and go and, most importantly, you don’t attach judgment to them. It’s harder than you think. I oftentimes find myself feeling fine and then realize I’m in some thought spiral about something. But the point is to, if you get to that point, just realize you’re there and re-focus on your breath. It’s all about the breath.
I used to meditate at night before bed, but that just made me sleepy, so now I’m trying it in the morning after I’ve woken up and had a glass of water. That’s another thing I’m doing: glass of water right after I’ve woken up. I hear about this one a lot. Helps wake you up and whatnot. I’m down for that. You can never drink enough water.3This is untrue in the technical sense, but you should still strive to drink more water. It is very difficult to drink enough water to develop water poisoning. This footnote is just for the pedants out there who like to be right about stuff.
I often think about people who don’t meditate, or go to therapy, and when you ask them why not they give you a reason that is the very reason why you should meditate, or go to therapy. “Oh, I can’t meditate, my brain is too all over the place, I’d never be able to concentrate,” they say, as if the moment you start learning to play guitar you should be expected to play a flamenco.
The point of anything is to be bad at it at first. Jake was right:
So do yourself a favor. Meditate, five minutes a day, for 30 days. Do it at work on your break. Put your phone down and close your eyes and just listen to your breathing for a while. Listen to the constant breeze of life that enters and exits your body. Be thankful that you exist. Because you deserve to exist, to be here, to be present, and to be counted.
You’ve probably noticed that I’ve been writing something in this blog every day. This is to keep up the habit. Don’t expect constant daily blog entries. Again, I’m using this to stave off my Twitter addiction. It’s going well, although I’ve found that without something like Twitter to mindlessly scroll through, I’m not sure where to go to see things. My brain wants to check Twitter/social media because it’s constantly infused with content, and I’m trying to remind myself that I don’t need to do that every five minutes, especially when I’m watching a movie.
Speaking of which, it’s time to go for a walk.
Jowers was a big fan of this. An hour earlier for food? Count me in! She seemed to say.
Side note: I’m trying to refrain from apologizing for the good things in my life. Like this, for example. Sleeping in. Being able to work from home regularly. It’s a privilege and I’m glad to have it, but I won’t apologize for it. I know other people have it worse; other people have it better, too. Life is life, enjoy what you have and don’t envy what you don’t.
This is untrue in the technical sense, but you should still strive to drink more water. It is very difficult to drink enough water to develop water poisoning. This footnote is just for the pedants out there who like to be right about stuff.