Meditation is good for mama brain

I’ve started meditating again. Finally, after six years of hemming and hawing, I’m just doing it.

A couple of weeks ago I started going to a Buddhist program that has child care, so Annika gets to play on the playground and do toddler yoga while I meditate and get my spiritual cup filled. This is something I was desperately needing even before Annika was born. And now? Well, I don’t need to explain it to the moms. And I don’t think I could explain it to the non-moms, but here’s a go at it. Imagine that your boss lives with you and you had to wipe his ass every time he pottied, and then after he’d been almost potty-trained, he all of a sudden he wanted to wear diapers again.

When you live with a toddler, you never get to turn off. Even when she’s not here, or sleeping, I have a hard time doing it.

So it’s just nice to have some time to sit in the stillness and make an attempt to quiet down my mind that races constantly. It’s hard to calm down the constant tugging of the brain.

Today I meditated at home for 10 minutes. As I sat there in the stillness of my home, calming my brain and turning thoughts away as they popped into my head, I came to a realization. Our brains need to be exercised just like any other muscle. The only thing is, with mind exercise, it’s the opposite of exercising your body.

Mind exercise requires that you be still and train your thoughts to land and then float away, so your brain can have time to repair.

I’m feeling super hippy-ish right now, all zen and shit, so bear with me. I’m still the obnoxious ass that you all know and like at least a little bit.

But seriously, meditation does wonders for me. It helps me be patient. It helps me remember that it is possible to get everything done and that Annika’s sole purpose in life is not to make me go completely insane, after I spent three hours trying to convince her to go to the park, then when I decided to make dinner she decided she was ready to go outside.

That’s all I’m saying. Meditation. Good. Peace. Stillness.

For the Austinites interested, I’m going here.

A quick lesson in meditation:

Find a comfortable spot, you can sit in any position. You can even lie down, just make sure your body is opened up, not in a curled position.

If you are sitting on the floor, you can cross your legs or if you have knee problems, get a pillow and straddle it so that your body is comfortable and your knees are not stressed.

Place your hands on your knees or fold them in your lap, whatever is comfortable for you.

The whole point of meditation is to be comfortable so that your mind can relax without thinking of any physical stress.

Close your eyes. You can set a timer before you start so that you aren’t distracted by wondering how long you’ve been sitting. I’d recommend using something that has a soft tone. It doesn’t matter how long you meditate. You can try five or ten minutes the first few times and work your way up.

There are a number of ways to relax your mind, but the way I was taught was to count. Count to ten. On each count, breathe in and out. Then count to the next number, then breathe, in and out. Example: one (breathe in and out), two (breathe in and out) and so forth.

When you get to ten, count backwards down to one. Then start over again.

Focus on your breath and the counting.

As thoughts come into your head, don’t try to shut them down. Allow the thought to enter, observe it, then watch it float away. I like to imagine that I am softly flicking it away. I watch it float away, like a feather floating in the wind.

That’s it. That’s all there is to it.

As you are meditating, don’t try to force anything. And if you find yourself becoming uncomfortable, allow yourself to stretch and move as needed. But come back to the center when you are comfortable again.

I learned to meditate at a Buddhist temple in Detroit. I took a class, so I had the opportunity to ask lots of questions and get feedback.

Meditation has been found to improve all sorts of mental and physical conditions. It improves mood, elevates happiness, decreases depression. It reduces blood pressure and anxiety. Claims have been made that it helps with things like heart problems, PMS, diabetes, and a number of other health problems.

I don’t know about all that, but I sure do like it.

Dr-logging: The second installation

The first time I ever got drunk I was 15. I snuck out of my house with a friend to meet a boy she liked and he brought along his uncle.

I’m not sure how old he was, but he was definitely an adult. It seemed like he was in his 30s. He treated me nicely though and I had fun. Now that I’m older, I realize that I was lucky to have a met a respectful man who didn’t take advantage of my stupid 15-year-old naivete mixed with vodka and orange juice.

The second time I got drunk was about two years later. My brother bought me and my best friend some wine coolers and laughed at us as we fools of ourselves. That’s not a judgment on him. Hell, I would have done the same. He was only 20 or 21 at the time. The point is, I was lucky to be in situations where drinking didn’t lead me to getting raped or killed in a drunk driving accident.

Oh wait. I’m sorta drunk.

Yeah, this is my second installation of drunk blogging. I’m thinking of making this a weekly installation. Let me know what you think.

See, the thing is, I’ve realized that my blog has sort of morphed into an extension of me. There’s the harsh, drinking, ex-drugging, sexually promiscuous side, which is me during my early 20s and early 30s.

Then there’s this mommy side of me that’s been more spiritually aware, softer, more genuine side who loves babies and is constantly intrigued by my child, who is in all honesty, cute-as-a-button, but also, just a normal kid. She is amazing to me simply because she’s my daughter.

So, this leads me to say what I have to say about my blog.

Fuck you my man.

Okay, not really. I just threw that in because I’m drunk.

And something else, all the shit that has been going on in my life, not cool.

No, it is not cool for you to take advantage of me.

No, it is not cool for you to act like you know something that you don’t know.

No, it is not cool to harass me, even if you are the person who gave birth to me. It is definitely not cool to take credit for my life or my awareness. I did a lot of fucking hard work to get where I am today. So fuck you.

You know who you are.

Let me tell you a little something about me.

I’m a drunk. I don’t get drunk all the time anymore like I used to. But if I go by the common definition of a drunk, I’m still a drunk.

I’m also a good mom. I’m a damn good mom. I’m not perfect. I make mistakes. But I’m a good mom. I research shit. I work on my patience. I try damn hard to treat my child like she is a human being. I work damn hard to understand her developmental stages and respond accordingly.

Most people would say that being a drunk and being a good mom doesn’t go hand in hand.

But let me tell you something about the mom world.

It is filled with disease and hatred and misunderstanding.

I was talking to an AP mama friend this morning. She said something so profound that I feel the need to share it with you, my readers. She said (and I’m paraphrasing here), “People don’t seem to make logical jumps when it comes to parenting.”

She expounded on that thought and we both laughed about how mainstream parenting says that you should let babies cry it out, then start spanking and giving harsh punishments to children. And then, right, and THEN, they wonder why their children are fucked up.

It’s actually a lot like the world of being drunk.

There’s denial and misunderstanding and a bunch of bullshit.

Being a mom doesn’t give you automatic rights to being a nice person. It just gives you a world where women flock around you and pat you on the back, telling you that you’re doing a good job. But the truth is, you’re still the same fucked up person you were before you gave birth. You’re still a drunk, a slut, a goody-two-shoes, a judgmental bitch, an animal lover, a hopeless romantic, a reader, a TV watcher, a gardener, a cook, a lazy-ass, a smart-ass, a dumb-ass, a poor housekeeper, a slob, a fat-ass, a skinny bitch… a human being.

Becoming a mother doesn’t give you any special rights. If anything, I gives you less rights because it is a fucking gift to be able to give birth to a child and watch a person grow. You don’t own me. I don’t own Annika. She is her own person. I am my own fucking person.

I apologize for the fact that this wasn’t as funny as the last Drlogging. I meant it to be, but I have been really fucking angry this week.

Here’s a picture of Annika and me with Leslie, an Austin institution. It’s blurry as shit because my phone sucks. But there you go.