anniversaries

Mindfulness #4: Six Weeks In

Grandpa 1I’m six weeks into a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course. It involves two and a half hours of training every Saturday morning, an hour of meditation every day, and a day-long silent retreat. I’m doing this to feel better, to avoid another relapse into deep depression.

The phenomenally good news is that I think it works. The bad news is that it requires constant upkeep.

I’ve become slower. I no longer rush through my days. Even on my way to work, I take time to enjoy the feeling of my feet on the pavement. (Also apparently there’s something to enjoy about feet and pavement.)

Grandpa 3I’ve become calmer. I watch bad (and good) thoughts go by, recognizing their impermanence, their fluidity. I don’t follow them as often, reacting to them as if they were true.

I worry less. I panic less. I’m closer to the source of my happiness being inside me.

Instead of dwelling on the things I’ve lost, it’s easier for me to rejoice in what is left. My grandmother died five years ago yesterday. I loved her fiercely and miss her every day. Therapy and meditation have helped me to mourn her loss a little less. Instead I rejoice in the fact that my grandfather is still with us – singing “I love you, yeah, yeah, yeah…” to my little dog Bebop.

I love you, yeah, yeah, yeah!

Grandpa 2

First photo by jencu on Flickr.

Second photo by Richard BH on Flickr.

Third photo by Alyssa L. Miller on Flickr.

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Mind Monsters on Spring Break

Scary BirthdayThe best thing about anniversaries is that they pass.

It is totally common to have parts of the year that fuck you up. Birthdays, New Years, the anniversary of a death. It happens to depressed people. It happens to totally healthy people who’ve suffered a traumatic loss. It happens to a lot of us who would normally have a very clear mind about whether the anniversary of a person’s death makes them more dead.

It doesn’t.

The date is a trigger. Like funerals, like violence, like anything that takes you out of where you are and thuds you down in the middle of some shitty past event. Then the anniversary itself is kind of traumatic, and, for me anyway, the date amasses bad experiences and connotations until the month or two leading up to it are filled with an overwhelming sense of dread.

That kind of anniversary becomes a fucking beach party for all sorts of unresolved little mind monsters. It’s spring break and they’re out in force, shocking their parents and appalling their more responsible peers.

The mind monsters are myriad and you can’t tackle them all at once. It can be impossible to even approach them when they’re all riled up like that. Sometimes the anniversary is the worst time to address the underlying issue. (I’m not thinking clearly right now. I don’t have to solve this today.)

This year I’m working on letting the anniversary pass. Then, when the monsters are back home, in bed, surrounded by calmer thoughts, we’ll sit down, as gently as possible, and we’ll have a chat.

In the meantime, the anniversary will pass.

 

Photo from TheMetaPicture