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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I Need To Take a Chill Pill, Man

Seeing that life is so chaotic on the outside, I’m not sure how I’m going to do it, but I’m determined to find some inner peace.

I’m sure that most of you have either read, or at least heard of, the book by Elizabeth Gilbert: Eat, Pray, Love (I’ve read it, and you can read my review here). In short, after the breakdown of her marriage, Elizabeth sets out to find some inner peace of her own – traveling for a year to 3 different countries for four months at a time: Italy (to eat), India (to pray) and Indonesia (to love – although, she doesn’t realise she’ll find love until after she gets there).

Most I know who’ve read the book found the chapters on India a bit of a challenge, with some saying it dragged on a bit for them. Many have said it was their least favourite of the three sections of the book, and I think I know (partly) why that may be the case. Let me explain…

In India, Elizabeth stays at an Ashram where she spends many an hour meditating. Daily. She spends a lot of time trying to get it right; trying to clear her head of thoughts from the outside world. I mean, it can’t be easy switching off and zoning out of everything around you, can it? Even in an Ashram.

We live in a fast-paced world, and like Elizabeth used to be before her stay in India, I – like many of you, I’m sure – find it hard to stop the incessant ramblings within my head. Don’t you often lie there at night, thinking about what you’ve done that day and what you need to do tomorrow? Do you spend those rare, quiet moments letting your mind drift to mindless topics or recalling conversations and situations with people that day? Are you bloggers/writers out there constantly looking at everything through the eyes of your next blog post/article/book – writing it as you shower/walk/watch your child’s school assembly?

If you answered ‘yes’, then I’m afraid you’re just like me.

I think that’s why many find Elizabeth’s journey through India quite difficult to get in to. Admit it – most of us don’t really want to commit the time needed to get to the point of inner peace (or, probably more accurately, don’t think we can afford the time to do so). In fact, we don’t even want to spend 35 or so chapters finding out how to do it either. We are too busy, aren’t we?. I mean, four months of daily meditation? I can’t tell you how much the thought of doing that stresses me out. I have too much to do. My world would practically fall apart after Week 1. Yep – I’m one of those people you’d probably find buying a book called something like, 10 Minutes To Finding Your Inner Peace instead.

And isn’t that sad?

I’ve never tried Yoga, or any sort of meditation, for two main reasons: 1. I’m not convinced I could sit still long enough to clear my head of to-do lists, and I’m quite sure I’d sit there, trying to picture my ‘special place’ and instead, start wondering who dies in the season finale of Brothers & Sisters; and 2. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to get my leg up and wrap it around the back of my neck. They do that in yoga class, don’t they? You know, I’m not quite as flexible as I used to be*.

But I’m also afraid of failing at it.

I’m not a particularly calm person (although it depends on the circumstance). My patience levels these days are next to nothing, and I can’t seem to get all Zen about everything around me. Believe me, I’ve tried. I try to ignore my kids screaming and not hound them about manners and about how they behave. I try to be all earth mother about it. To be honest, I don’t want to become known as the 'nagging mother', but I’m afraid I just might be becoming that very person. 

I can’t calmly sit, smiling, whilst watching someone take super long to back out of a car space I’m waiting for. I’m more of the finger-tapping-on-the-steering-wheel-with-impatience kinda girl, muttering “Oh, come ooooon,” under my breath.

And although I wouldn’t describe myself as a ‘worrier’ as such, I do spend a lot of time wondering about how I’ll achieve this, and how I’ll achieve that. How can I get on top of the housework? What bills haven’t I paid yet? When is my next pap smear due? Is it overdue? I have strange pains in my stomach – it couldn’t be cancer or something, could it? If so, is it because I’m not eating enough fruit? What will happen to my kids if I die, and how will Hubby cope if he has to look after me?

Whooooooaaaa. See? I have an overactive mind (and an overactive imagination to boot). I’m most definitely in need of some inner peace.

I just need to find some patience and commitment to doing so, because I’m sure it takes both of those things. Then I’m ready. Right?

If you have any tips for how to get started, I’d love to hear them. But, could you, uh, give them to me in 25 words or less? I’m kinda busy here. Thanks. ;)

* If the truth be told, I was never that flexible. 

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